Authenticity

“March to your own drum” is a phrase my mother often said to me. I’ve always been a little strange, hanging just outside the realm of normative behaviors, but I have always been me. I’ve always strived to be my own person, set my own path, and built honest relationships with folks.

So, to thine own self be true. 

 What does it mean to be authentic?

Being authentic is about being real. Expressing your real nature, actual beliefs, real identity, original thoughts. Authenticity is about being true to yourself. Now I hope that being your authentic self is a good thing for society – trustworthy, having morals, integrity, kindness, etc. As long as you aren’t a socio or psychopath, being your true to yourself shouldn’t be such a bad thing. I personally think authentic people live in the moment and are present for interactions.  

 Do you consider yourself authentic? 

About 90% of the time, I am an authentic and genuine social being, the other 10% I am trying to reign in my thoughts, attitude, and behavior to be socially appropriate (work events, lectures, etc.) I can admit that during trying times, being comfortable with your own imperfections and vulnerability is not easy – that is why they sell alcohol. {I jest, drink responsibly} – but self-reflection and meditation make it easier to accept yourself as is. Being authentic takes works, while you are you naturally, being content being yourself may not come naturally. It is a continuous cycle of checking our biases, self-reflection, and self-improvement. You have to practice what you preach. While I boast about being authentic, I am always reflecting on my words and actions (do they match), this sometimes takes me out living in the moment. I try to take note when I’m not genuine and challenge myself to redirect my behavior or speech that aligns with my true intentions ^ insert a Sassy Girl, better check yo’ self ^

I often ask my self what in that situation made me respond in a disingenuine way. It could be as simple as I’m hungry/ low blood sugar that made me act against my authentic self, or on a serious note, I could have been doubting my self-worth or purpose. And on a personal growth note – I know my authentic self could be less sarcastic and less direct. 

 Do you believe that some people do not have the capability to be authentic? 

I personally don’t feel everyone has the capability to be authentic. Some people lack the social ability to be themselves. And then there people who are just not what they actually claim to be. People put on a facade not reflective of their authentic self but a facade that aids their end goals. Additionally, there are people out there that have no concept of self. People who lack the ability to be authentic are always stuck in a dramaturgical stage (presentation of self), echoing what they think other’s want to hear, see, or do. Their actions and words may not line up regularly because they are not getting the social cues to align them. If you encounter those people, encourage them to reflect on their own wants, needs, morals, ethics, and actions.
People that compromise their identity to fit others interest are not who you want to be and are not someone you should want to be around.
Now I don’t think that being inauthentic is innately negative or evil, but it just isn’t what I want to be and not who I want to be around.

I think that you should try to surround yourself with people who share the message of their true self. Those who walk the walk, and talk the talk. I say try because we all slip and slide, show grace when you can and when appropriate – but remember that true character always comes to the surface.

Thanks for reading my random thoughts on authenticity. The subject matter has been on my mind recently. 

There are a lot of exciting articles on authenticity in business and social science journals. Check some out, google scholar that shit.

Finding friendship through personal growth

Anyone who knows me semi-well knows that I have had one hell of a year, or two, or life. The past few years have been a struggle for me. I struggle to be social, I struggle to be happy, I struggle just to be, and this had made me not the most pleasant person to be around. All apologies. I am working on this.

Over the last decade – I’ve accumulated fabulous friends, but honestly, I think of almost every one of them as an acquaintance, and I treat them as such. I am sincerely thankful for them, but I have a problem with building meaningful relationships with people.  I’m not sure why that is my default move, professionally I would suggest my upbringing is the cause, but I can’t blame everything on my parents- or can I? – No I guess I cannot. Reflecting on philosophy, let me share that there are three types of friendships – utility (useful), pleasure (enjoy same activities), and good (mutual admiration). I believe people search me out for a utility friendship because I am always looking to make myself useful. I have attempted to work towards having a good friendship but end up with either a utility or pleasure friendship. This is not a bad thing, but it is just not as fulfilling as a good friendship. In social psychology, I learned that the role of friendship is pivotal to the development of class, status, and power. Which is why I issued myself a challenge. Being from the lower class, I could use a little help increasing my status and power.

I have challenged myself this year to be a more engaged friend and develop those good friendships. I can’t say that I’ve been successful yet, but I believe and hope that I am on the right path.

As part of this challenge, I decided to I join a social club, Junior Woman’s Club of Fort Worth (JWC). JWC is a great group of women in the Fort Worth area that combines a social and service into one group. JWC is made up of countless remarkable people, embodying all types of personalities, experiences, and professions. I really fancy volunteering at our club-wide events, getting to meet women outside of the two groups I joined. I really do love it when I make a new contact. Making a connection with someone is not hard for me, maintaining and building a more solid relationship that is what I need to work on.

So back to this challenge, I assigned myself – making friends, keeping friends, being a better friend – altogether that shit is hard. Joining JWC has put me in the situation to make friends, but is it has not made me a better friend. I have still just been expanding my pool of marvelous acquaintances.  

If you did not know, friendship is tied to your self-perception. With a poor self-perception, how can one expect others to want to build a  rapport? To succeed in my challenge, I need to be working on being a better friend, and do that, I need to work on myself. I’ve put off working on myself for almost thirty years, I guess now is an excellent time to start. To commence personal growth, I have been trying to take care of myself better- physically and mentally.  I have been taking time actually to focus on me instead of others. Don’t get me wrong, I have had my narcissistic moments in the past, but overall, I have had a tendency to become preoccupied with meeting others needs before my own.

My version of self-help – Move more, Think less, eat better.

I started doing yoga, and I am so pleased with my yoga instructor and yogi mates. I have in general just made sure I am on the move more – hiking, walking, soft jogging (because I cannot run), etc. In addition to yoga and other forms of fitness, I started meditation, two to three times a week. I am not exceptionally good at being alone with my thoughts yet, my small attention span causes me to drift away and lose my clear headspace.I have also been creating and reading more.

Furthermore, I have been a little more cautious about what I eat and put into my body. I try to limit my gluten and sugar intake (this is another challenge within itself), I have given up eating meat, and I have been sticking with a routine of probiotics and vitamins. These simple changes and additions to my life have helped me gain some clarity, assisted me in decompressing, and readjusting my attitude | perceptions.

I know that I am still a work in progress, but I think these resolutions will help me to be a less anxious, neurotic, fatigued, and pessimistic friend.

Things that I intend on continuing in the future to be a better friend:

  • Listen more
  • Communicate more
  • Trust more
  • Give more
  • Find others to share my passions with
  • Challenge others to do the same


On Grief:

Grief comes in waves. I’ve been told this multiple times over the last year. Grief is just a response to the loss of something grand. Many people focus on the emotional aspect, there is also a physical aspect to feeling grief. Since I try to ignore my emotions a majority of the time, that typically means I end up dealing with my emotions through via a physical ailment. Anyone who knows me knows that I constantly complain about headaches and stomach aches, and probably about 70% it is really just anxiety, and most recently grief manifesting in a physical form.
I’ve lost very important people in my life over the last three years. It started with my beloved grandfather, then my favorite professor/mentor, and most recently my mother. Additionally, other characters in my life such as an uncle, an aunt, a co-worker have also gone to hang out in another realm. Obviously, I was most affected by my mother’s death, but I now know I struggle with each persons passing just the same.
As much as I like to pretend and tell myself I was prepared for death, specifically the death of my mother- you can never truly prepare it. I had been a caregiver for my mother for as long as I can remember. It started out with simple assistance here and there and progressed to trading off care with the hospice nurse or my stepfather. I watched my mothers’ physical and mental health decline, and that is something I would not wish that on my worst enemy (as if I had any). Watching a very independent and strong-willed woman wilt away and yield to Parkinson’s, dementia and heart disease is not an enjoyable experience. (Additionally, neither is dealing with said woman’s unsupportive bipolar husband – twas a challenge on its own). I believe I started the grief process when I observed my mother finally gave up and give in to her poor health. She had a multitude of illness, but typically my mother lived on the island of denial and tried to be optimistic, until one day when she stopped looking on the bright side and saw her health for what it truly was, shit. When my mother began facing the loss of her father and then the loss of motor skills and memory – grief steered my mother down the road to giving up. While I grieve and mourn the loss of her (and others), I try to not to follow her path, and I try not to dwell on the things I can not change (past or present). Every day I learn something new in my relationship with grief.
As I said earlier, I always told myself that I was equipped for loss. I had handled the news of loved one’s deaths appropriately in the past (according to what I had seen on television and learned about in a sociology of death and dying course). But when that day finally came in regard to my mother passing, I felt simultaneously prepared and unprepared when I got that call. I don’t think I was as calm and stoic as I had always thought I would be. I was squeaky and had eyes full of tears, and these things still happen when I think too long about her. That is grief. It is a natural response to a major change in life.  Unfortunately, there is not a quick fix for grief. Try as I might, I have not found one. It just has to run its course, wave upon wave will keep hitting you until the wind finally settles and the tide is low, or something philosophical like that.

More on Grief:
Because I am a researcher at heart, I took to the databases to find articles about grief. I wanted to find out what was appropriate/concerning behavior, learn the difference between mourning and grieving, etc. I found just through a simple Google Scholar search that there is a lot of literature out there, a lot focuses on how to treat grief (i.e. Therapy). Some things I learned about grief – when facing a situation of great loss, you may have to go through the five stages of grief which include:  Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, and Acceptance (visit grief.com for quick resources). To me, these stages are all pretty self-explanatory. But for a great representation of the five stages – watch the Scrubs episode “My Five Stages” . (Side note: Scrubs is one of my top all-time favorite shows, others include X-files and Futurama). There is a Scrubs episode for every mood/emotion and experience. Scrubs also happens to be a show that my mother and I would watch together. As for me and the stages, I personally don’t recall going through denial or bargaining. I like to face facts, and I’m not really religious so I don’t know who I would bargain with, maybe the universe? I can say I am currently somewhere in between depression and acceptance at this point in my life. I definitely experienced some (or a fuck ton of) anger, but not necessarily due to grief and loss, my anger was more directed at those around me who were being little shit heads. From the articles I have read, it is perfectly normal to bounce between the stages, revisiting some before truly accepting it. I assume that one day I will move on, and stay in that acceptance stage. Grief can last a lifetime, just try to know when to seek help, or just let others help when they offer. Remember to breathe and take it one moment at a time.  

How I’m coping:

I am active – I am into yoga and walking the pupper outside. – I also plan to get back in the gym soon, I’ve been very sporadic since the summer (duh).

I write – I have a guided journal that provides topics to write on.

I am into being creative – doodle, watercolor, and bake.

I stay emotionally/mentally active – I am apart of social and professional clubs, I volunteer to work a lot.

I am going back to school – Law School, I’m coming for you! #UNTDallas College of Law #2019

Best of luck to any of you who have gone through a period of grief. How did you cope?

If you haven’t had to grieve, best wishes to you that grief doesn’t find you any time soon.

Vulnerability

I recently heard that vulnerability is the key to success. But what about vulnerability in the workplace. What thoughts come to mind? How does that make you feel?
To me, Vulnerability is all about being open, feeling what you feel and letting other people see you for what and who you are in the moment.
I agree that it is easier said than done when it comes to being unrestricted and honest about your feelings, ideas, strengths, and weaknesses. I like to think I am like an open book. Ask me a question, and I will give you a truthful answer. While being honest is great, not everyone truly wants honesty. (And I will admit that I need to work on my delivery and timing, as well as my acceptance of honest feedback).
Being vulnerable in a workplace setting can be challenging. These are people that you simultaneously know and don’t know. I’m sure that we have all come up with ideas or have developed plans in our heads that seem AMAZING. We are so proud of our concept, and we can’t wait to share it with others because we essentially just solved everyone’s problem. Then you get to that meeting, and you say “Eureka, blah blah blah” to which your co-worker follows up with an “Um, nah.” It is devastating. How do you handle that? Do you try to restate your idea and provide your evidence for why it is a bomb ass idea, or do you shut down? Do you ask your co-worker for feedback on the subject, do you listen to the feedback, and explore a new path?
I don’t often share my ideas, because I’m terrified to be told they suck and I often (100%) internalize that shit. I can be honest with others all day long about their thoughts, I can coach another person down a better path, and reshape your thinking. I try to do this with a positive inflection, so others don’t internalize it. I’ve gotten a bit better over the years. Talking with my besties, or a coworker (who has a feedback delivery method that I can handle) at least helps me clean up my rough draft before I present it the masses (or the 12 other people in my department). I recently joined a new team at work, and I can’t say that I have any grand ideas yet. I am challenging myself that in this new workspace, I will be vulnerable, I will take thoughtful risks, and I will also take feedback to work through it/implement it. And if anyone is reading this – I challenge you to take thoughtful risks and be vulnerable and see if you are able to grow.
Be vulnerable my friends.

Supporting Actors

Did you know that if another person is succeeding, it doesn’t mean that you are losing?

People can be successful without anything being taken away from you. Everyone should want to kick ass at their job, do the best that they can, and you should want your co-workers to do the same. You shouldn’t compare someone’s successes to your own in an unhealthy manner.

Take pride and joy in seeing others you know killing it at work or school. You could use someone’s success to motivate yourself – in the sense of wanting to improve your employer’s reputation, teams production or recognition, and I think it is okay to even want to compare successes in the sense “they can do it, I can too” but I just never think it should be me v. them.

I’ve recently observed women in the workplace put each other down, for no real reason (apparent to me) other than jealousy over competency. Women in my workplace seem to not celebrate another woman’s successes, instead, they see it as a challenge, an undermining, or a slight against them.
This is so strange to me. I am not competitive, I want everyone to win, everyone to learn, and to grow. This could stem from being the youngest child, coming from a small school, who knows. I like co-op games, I like team sports (not that I can play any), I feel like just because someone is good at something, or even better at something than me, it takes nothing away from me. I am still me, I still have the same skills, personality traits, and blah blah blah. It really blows my mind when I hear people try to bring others down, point out flaws, or just plain talk shit about another person in an attempt to make themselves look better or more adequate. When I experience that type of person (which is more frequently recently), it leaves a bad taste in my mouth and makes me hesitant to continue a relationship with them, personal or professional. Though I have no I have very little influence at my workplace and very little influence in the world in general, I just want to encourage others to encourage and celebrate others. And call people out if necessary, but recognize people, praise yourself. Remember when your coworker is successful, you are successful. I don’t know about you, but I like when everyone on my team is kicking ass and taking names.

Auntie Sara

I have been an aunt since the age of two. That is right, two years old. My siblings happen to be significantly older than me. I have nine biological nieces and nephews and additionally five step-nieces and nephews. There are a lot of children, of various ages in my life. I have no children, and I have never desired to have my own children. If my mother were alive, she would tell you I asked at the tender age of six “is it mandatory to have children when you grow up because if it isn’t, I’m not having any.” I have not changed my mind in the last twenty-something years. I am happy being child-free and being the aunt to everyone. I have plenty of friends I grew up with who did not share my sentiment for being child-free. I am an “auntie” to two of my childhood friends.

I started this post because this weekend, I was on auntie duty at my fictive nieces’ second birthday party, and it got me thinking about my title as Aunt.

I am happy with this title. I can make a positive impact on another’s life, but I don’t have all the responsibility and pressure on me to raise a productive member of society. Not to mention, I come from a long line of unhealthy genes, I do not want to pass that along. Auntie Sara suites me just fine. I don’t need anyone to call me mom.

But people often jest and asked when will my husband and I have a little one of our own. My reply is always – “we are not having children of our own, but in the future when we are stable, we may adopt an older child.” My husband agrees with the lifestyle of not having a child, though I am still unclear about his reasons. But when I meet someone new, and they ask this child baring question I explain my life choices, which by the way I choose to share my life choices, because if you want to be nosy and judgy, I’ll intentionally overshare with you and make you uncomfortable.
Nonetheless, I periodically come across someone who says I don’t genuinely mean I don’t want children, or I’m just young and confused. Well, I’m 30 (so not so young now am I?), and there is nothing to be confused about, and I sincerely mean it when I say most things, not having/wanting children being one of them.

There is always that one person who tells me I’m selfish for not wanting children. And to those I say, go fuck yourself. I feel it is selfish to bring someone into the world for my own shits and giggles, or my personal favorite – so that I have someone to take care of me when I am old. There are plenty of skilled nursing facilities out there that I will be able to afford since I likely won’t have children, I mean as long as you don’t count my student loans as my children.

I just wanted to share my two cents on my title as Auntie Sara. I love it, and I wouldn’t want another title. I want to share that I think it is inconsiderate to ask others about when they will start popping out children. In my case, I don’t want any, but in many other cases, there is a medical struggle as to why they haven’t procreated, even though they are desperately trying.

A little sociology for you – Since I choose to be childless/child-free, I technically live a diverse lifestyle according to modern social norms. But there has been a modest increase in childlessness in the U.S. There is about 16–17 percent of all United States women who will complete childbearing years without bearing children, and I am really striving to be one of them. And according to social statistics, economic considerations (student loans possibly) have contributed to the rise in child-free marriages. **

A New Endeavor, about me.

Thanks for joining me on this new blogging adventure.
This first one will be rough, possibly dull, but I’m sure things will get better from here. My goal with this blog is just to get my thoughts out of my head and onto (symbolic) paper. I hope to post at least once a week, with 20 second movie review every other week or so.

A little about me:
I am (not) the most exciting person, but I do find my commentary on life to be very entertaining. I have an adorable cat and dog which I feel makes up for anything I lack.
In addition to my animals, I have a husband. He is a pretty cool dude, usually. As for the rest of my family – that a different post for a different day. In fact, I should probably just write a novel on them.
I work in higher education, need I say more?
I enjoy pop culture, movies, art, science, animals, and binge-watching sitcoms and British crime dramas.
I’m planning on going to law school soon, that will be a real endeavor.

Thank you for stopping by.

As of March 2019:
Current Music on Repeat: Split between Khalid and The Struts
Current Read: My Own Words by RBG
Current Show: The Umbrella Academy