Always Be Yourself
(unless you can be Beyoncé, then always be Beyoncé)
Authenticity is something we all strive for personally, professionally and socially but sometimes doesn’t feel as simple as the MySpace quotes make it. Whether you’re striving to find your individual voice in photography or discovering who you are bit by bit — here’s some advice from a wise friend who really is the “Queen of Authenticity”.
A friend told me a few years ago that I was the “Queen of Authenticity.” I was obviously flattered because
a) I’ve always wanted to be a queen; and
b) authenticity is something I had strived for my whole life.
But in that moment of flattery, I also felt a completely different emotion—shame.
Why? Well, I imagined that a truly authentic person would be wholeheartedly confident in who they are. And me? I often felt like a phony…I masked fear that I was unlovable; I faked confidence in unfamiliar social settings; I even found myself hiding my love for certain things that I deemed dumb or unpopular (read: jigsaw puzzles). Needless to say, “Queen of Authenticity,” I was not.
Fast forward a few months from that conversation, and I found myself moving to Texas on a whim (because your 20s are a strange, strange time of life). And let me tell you: the people of Dallas, Texas were like little aliens to me. From the sky-high hair to the impeccable manners (I swear people apologize more in Dallas than any city in the world), I quickly realized I did not fit in. But, cheesy as it might sound, I made a decision to unapologetically be myself in my new city.
Now don’t get me wrong, I adapted to Texas in many ways. (Yes, I now tease my hair from time to time. What’s it to ya?). But the thing is, adaptability is not bad. In fact, I’d argue that it’s actually quite normal to lean in to your surroundings. Still, there’s a fine line between adapting and selling-out.
So, what’s a girl to do when you’re faced with a new, different setting and you want to stay true to yourself?
- Find ways in which you connect with your new friends/surrounding/etc., and don’t worry about the ways you are different.
Variety is the spice of life, as they say, so be yourself and let others embrace your differences.
- Repeat with me: “honesty is the best policy.”
It’s a proven fact that being honest with yourself and others is always the way to go. You may be able to keep up a different persona for a while, but frankly, that sounds unsustainable and exhausting.
- You’re doing people a disservice by not being yourself.
This one’s short and simple: you were made with a purpose and for a purpose. People need you to be you.
Thankful for this big ole heart. There aren’t many people in this world I love more than Kat Williamson. The story started when we met in Target and has continued all the way to her being a bridesmaid in my wedding.
Kat is raw, vulnerable, authentic and wise. When I sought out the perfect person to speak on authenticity — She was the top of my list.