I have to be honest… I’m a bit fired up as I start this post. *Insert cracking of knuckles here* I’ve been a little under the weather in bed for the last couple of days, in and out of thought, reflecting on past posts, comments and reactions to previous posts, and just how I feel about it all. You might have seen a few of my Instagram stories on @eatpraywife this week, and if you haven’t seen them yet, I’ve left them available in the highlight section under Authenticity. (Also, for the ones not on Instagram, they’re at the bottom of this page.)
As you all know, I had the incredible opportunity to take the trip of a lifetime with one of my best friends a few weeks ago. We went to Paris and embraced all that there was to experience, and we had some of the best conversations I’ve had in a while. During a few late night chat sessions, we started talking about authenticity. We were both part of a book series The Authentic Woman Series Volume 2: Bravery Rising, which you can get here. (You can also get a 20% discount using code EATPRAY20). Anyways, we were reflecting on our pieces in the book, and then we started chatting about what authenticity looks like in our daily lives.
This led us to talk about what authenticity looks like in our public lives, on social media, on the blog, Facebook, Instagram, snapchat, etc. Basically, we realized that in our efforts to be more authentic, we were failing, miserably.
I realized I was failing when she asked me when was the last time I had posted an unfiltered, unaltered, untouched, raw image on Instagram. Honestly, I drew a blank. The truth is, I have no idea. Before you start slapping judgments on me, actually… you know what… go ahead. Judge me. I really don’t care.
It’s caring so much about what people think that got me started on the whole face-tune thing anyways. So judge me, it’s cool. Judge me as I write one of the most authentic posts I’ve put out in a while.
I’m not writing this today to slam people for putting us in a box and pressuring us to be perfect. I’m continuing the declaration that I put out on social media a few days ago in an effort to really step into a life of authenticity. Somewhere along the way, my Instagram became my highlight reel. I only post the pictures that I’ve spent 30+ minutes “fixing” to ensure they will get the most likes because they are the most flattering and the most beautiful perception of a reality that I’m not even experiencing.
The truth. Life is hard.
Another truth. When I have posted about how hard life is, I get the backlash that sounds like this:
- You live such a charmed life.
- You have so much to be grateful for.
- You shouldn’t be writing about your monsters.
- Enjoy another trip *eye roll*
- Insecurities? Riiighht…..
The next truth. These comments keep my content surface level because the very moment I dare claim to have a bad hair day, someone comes along all like “Well, at least you’re married, with a super cool condo, living in a huge city full of opportunity, and you have a full-time job, and you got an education, and” like seriously the list go on and on and on…. I literally was told the other day that all of my stuff is designer… and yeah, every piece of clothing I own was designed by someone… In fact, meet my friend George, exclusively sold at Walmart, he’s wonderful for supplying the majority of my undershirts, pajamas and sports bras.
SO, forgive my rant on people needing to chill. Or don’t, as you probably have realized, I’m done caring. I’m done caring if people like my picture. I’m done caring if the zit on the side of my face, that honest to God bothers me more than you, is unappealing on Instagram. I’m done caring if my photo of a lavish vacation destination makes you want to write mean comments (excuse me, passive-aggressive comments) on my posts. I just can’t be sorry about stuff like that anymore.
Yes, I’m blessed. I get it. I knew it before you felt the need to tell me that. I’ve known it since my parents taught me that when we lived out in the country in a little farmhouse beside a cow pasture, where I learned not to run in the field at night barefoot. No, none of that is on my Instagram, because I now live in a city where there are no cow pastures nearby…
You know what else isn’t on my Instagram? The days where I have migraines so bad that I can barely walk downstairs to use the bathroom. The days where I miss my grandmother so much it hurts to even think. The days where I’ve woken up from night terror that has me experiencing flashbacks from a horrible experience that I’m just not gonna share on here. These are the things I don’t share on my social media for 2 reasons.
- Past experience. The few times I have shown up with a legit concern or need, I get some crabby person coming at me like I’m not allowed to have a bad day because I’m too blessed. Well, the truth is, we are all blessed, and we all have bad days. (And I do have to honestly say that not all reactions are crabby. I get a lot of love and lot of care from those in my circle. I don’t call people “followers” because I just think that’s weird. But to the people who show genuine care on my *tough day* posts, thank you. You keep me real and humble.)
- Some stuff is just private. The last thing I want to do when I have a migraine is taking a *my head is literally splitting wide open – selfie*. It’s just not relevant, so I don’t put it out there. Also, my flashbacks aren’t really anyone’s business, except my therapist… and yes it’s totally normal to have a therapist. IMO, everyone should have one, and then we would be a much higher functioning society.
All of this being said… I want to be more authentic, and I don’t want to feel like I’m asking permission to do so. And the little voice of women is echoing in my ear *Then, just do it. (eye roll)* And so I echo back to you *Fine, watch me!*
Like I said in my stories the other day, my quest for authenticity is the result of a desire to feel comfortable in my own skin. I want to project me. Not the best me, not the worst me, just the real me. Even though that’s what I thought I was doing for a long time, my chats in Paris with one of my best friends revealed to me that it’s not. Learning that she has to defend me to people I grew up with in an effort to fight the lie that life is perfect was a real wake up call. I never meant to make my Instagram or my life appear to be seemingly perfect or easy. I won’t lie, I’ve got a lot of stuff, I’ve been a lot of cool places, and I have some really interesting people in my life. However, I’m just as human as the next person which means I deal with stress and anxiety, I fall up the stairs more times that I’d like to admit. Money is tight more than it’s not, and I never for a second want people to think that I think I’m important because I’m not. I’m just me.
As I’m learning to do the actual authenticity thing, I’m learning that I only post what I love, and as of late, I’ve only loved overly filtered versions of me. So, I’m working on that, and I have a plan and a team that’s helping me with that.
Another spark to this journey is the experience I recently had at a local event at GLOW Beauty Bar. They hosted around 20 Beauty Influencers to check out their new space, products, and services. It was an awesome way to connect and network with other women in the community. When I arrived, I felt a little out of place because these girls were so beautiful, very accomplished, and they were all super in the know on all things beauty. After a while, we started chatting, and I got to know a lot of the girls and realized that we were all pretty much there for the same reason… We had a shared hobby: beauty, fashion, a love for good skincare and wellness. Then, I recognized that we had a shared heart. That realization came after we had all removed our make up, had fantastic facials, and sat there completely unfiltered, eating pizza just the same as we were when our faces were made up. We really connected on some hot topics and even not so hot topics in the beauty industry like faith and spirituality. Who knew?
So, if you’re still reading and I haven’t scared you away with the initial tone of this post, thank you for hanging in there. I know this is longer than usual. But it’s important. The message I want to convey through all that I’ve written today is this: Authenticity doesn’t mean stripping everything away and looking ratchet. Not my version, at least.
Authenticity means putting yourself forward into the world, risking rejection and failure, but never compromising the integrity of who you are at your core.
At my core is my faith, and I’m taught that I was created in the image of God. Knowing that, I’m inclined to believe my flaws aren’t in fact flaws, they are just little things that make me unique (like my left eyebrow always being on fleek, and my right one has a mind of its own… their sisters, not twins… remember?)
In all seriousness, if this post has resonated with you at all and you are interested in living a more authentic life, I want to share a few things that I’m doing that may help:
- I’m devoting regular time to loving my skin, my body, my self. If I only post what I love, then I might as well love on myself so that I can post a more natural and realistic me. Thanks to GLOW Beauty Bar, I have a place where I can do that.
- I’m pouring into my soul from the wisdom of other women. These books are what I’m reading through right now: Beauty Unleashed, Bravery Rising, Rise Up Princess. Also, I’m finding ways to pour out some of the goodness I’m taking in, and one way that I’m doing that is through a LIVE Webinar on May 23 – Link Here to Sign Up.
- I’m maintaining a makeup routine that enhances what I actually look like, instead of painting a face on of what someone else looks like. Brittany from The Finish Touch helps me to do that with her makeup line TFT Cosmetics. No, this isn’t just a pitch for her company… The products are amazing. It’s the only thing I use because I love that I still look like me when I’m finished creating my look for the day. If this is something you’re into, use code EATPRAYWIFE20 for 20% off your purchase.
- I’m deleting the app I have for that. If I don’t delete it, then it’s just going to keep getting used because I’d hate to waste a perfectly good …. just kidding. I’m deleting them because they make me feel bad. Bottom line. For a while, it was fun seeing how *good* I could make myself look at the touch of a button, but when I did the before and after, it just made me sad. So, bump, deleted.
- I’m going to continue posting through the passive-aggressive comments and the constant reminders from people who don’t know me that I am in fact very fortunate and blessed. Instead of fearing the comments and choosing to not post, I’m just going to put it out there. What someone says about me is not a reflection of me, it’s a reflection of them, and what they say to you about me is a reflection of you. Remember that.
I want to invite you on a journey of self-love, self-care, authentic living, and breaking free from the bondage of mean comments, too many likes, and the unending pressure to be instafamous. Honestly, when you look back 30 years from now and talk to your grandkids, Instagram probably won’t even exist anymore. So stop wasting so much time on 1 single picture that you’re probably going to archive anyways, and live a little more. Stop bending over backward trying to please *your followers* and just live your life. They will likely be just as content with the real you than the pretend perfect you that you are putting out there on the daily.
– the Wife
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