Gosh it has taken me a long time to let this deeply sink in. ‘I will never know who I am unless I shed who I pretend to be.’
While I was instantly drawn to this quote as someone who is hungry to be an Authentic Woman, I found myself reading it over and over, slowly uncovering what it really means for me. It points me to learning about, to becoming more compassionately aware, of who I am NOT. Which are often the things I have spent so much of my time and energy focusing on and frankly still can.
I am not the car I drive. I am not the job or title I have. I am not the house I live in. I am not how much money I do or don’t earn. I am not the clothes I wear. I am not my mistake. I am not my failures or my successes. And perhaps most importantly for me, I am not my history.
I am currently doing some work in therapy around some trauma I experienced as a child and it shocks me as I come more deeply into relationship with this trauma and the memories that are stored in my body. It shocks me to my core. And one of the reasons I have avoided facing what I need to face (and in doing so have often repeatedly abandoned myself) is because I have thought my history defined who I am, so I wanted to push it away rather than own it.
But, while all these things may in some way have impacted how I show up in the world, represent who I think I want to be, or even who I think I am or what my culture and upbringing tell me I ‘should be’, I am actually not any of these things.
And as I have very slowly faced what I have needed to face, the deep feelings within me, and practiced shedding my focus on all of the external things that I desperately hoped would make me feel good about myself, I have gotten to know who I really am. And that includes being a woman who can feel scared, actually terrified. Who craves to feel safe in this world that has felt so unsafe for me all my life. Who can be controlling, critical and perfectionistic in looking for this safety. A woman who wants to love and feel loved. Even though she is deeply hurt. A woman who is incredibly brave and strong and is learning how to also be soft and feminine within that. A woman who loves to laugh. A woman that loves her son with a depth of feeling that she never knew could exist. A woman who has a big and kind heart. A woman who craves meaning. A pretty complex and at times complicated woman. And a very vulnerable woman.
And as I shed who I pretend to be I practice being a more Authentic Woman, as scary as that can feel at times.
And what a gift that is.
With great warmth