I Am Being Authentic, And It Feels F*king Right

Authentic

People are always judging you based on where you’re from, where you went to school, how you look, how you talk. But at the end of the day, you’re going to have to look into the mirror and accept who you are. It’s all about being authentic. – Andre Carson

I turned 32 on August 24, 2015. And for the first time, I can say that I am truly living an authentic life. I am living the life that where I am being true to my values as much as possible, and living in accordance with my true self. I wouldn’t say I’m at my ideal life yet, as I still have constraints on my time and I am not spending all of my time doing all the things I want to do.

But the more I think about it, the more I can say that I’m ‘Being Boom Shikha.’ I first noticed this phrase in Gretchen Rubin’s book, The Happiness Project. She said, that she tries in her daily life to ‘Be Gretchen’. To be true to herself.

It is one of the hardest things you will ever do in your life.

It is so much easier to go along with the crowds, and do what everyone else is doing because then you have no contention, no fight, no conflict. You are just going along with the flow of the crowds. You are just going along with what your parents say or your friends say or your boss says.

But when you have to put up a fight every single moment of every day to be true to yourself that really takes a lot out of you – but it also gives a lot back to you. Yes, some moments when I am truly fighting hard to be myself, I feel exhausted. But then, after the moment or two, I come back to myself in solitude, and I realize how peaceful I feel with myself. I feel so much better about myself in those moments of solitude, because I know I was true to myself – there is no regret, or anger, or sadness with myself. I don’t have to feel bad about myself. I am who I am. I don’t have to compromise or compensate. What is the point of that?

I wanted to delineate some ways I have been true to myself as a sort of toast to myself and my courage:

I like to dress up every day, in some special way that is only known to myself.

It might be special underwear, or some really pretty jewelry, or a pair of shoes that makes me feel like a princess. Whatever it is, I dress up in some way everyday (except when I’m lounging around at home). I have been made fun of for this, as sometimes I am quite overdressed for the occasion. In the past, when I wasn’t being true to myself, I dressed down even though I really wanted to dress up. Nowadays, I look to my mood. If I feel like dressing up no matter what the time or place, I do it! It doesn’t matter to me if everyone else in the party is dressed in scrubs or pajamas. The main thing here is how I feel and how my clothes make me feel.

I like to keep a really minimalist home.

I don’t like knickknacks, or paintings on the wall, or random unused furniture. Everything in my home has a place, and a use for it. If it doesn’t, I remove it. That is something that is important to me. I also keep several cupboards in my home completely empty. It gives me a sense of satisfaction to know that there are empty spaces in my home. People do make comments about the lack of stuff in my home. It made me wonder, was I doing it all wrong? Should I be buying more furniture? Should I be doing things differently? Then, I realized that I’m being authentic to myself in the way I live right now. I’m not going to change it nor should I change it to satisfy the minds of some people who might never visit my home again.

I like to spend my free time walking and biking the beautiful city of Toronto.

I have been doing a lot of walking in the city this summer and I have been really enjoying myself. Sometimes I wonder if I should be spending my time doing something more creative or productive or structured, but then I realize this is my time, and going for long walks gives me a lot of joy. So why change?

I love to read books, and I could spend hours browsing in a library window-shopping for my next read.

Most times, I have a grand old time just looking through piles and piles of books. I used to feel guilty about spending so much time with books without any real purpose to it. But now I just go and spend those hours, full of joy.

These are just some seemingly minor examples about my life and its authenticity. But I find that how you do the small things, is how you do the big ones. I have been spending more and more time on authentic tasks. The more I do that, the more authentic my life feels and looks in general. Eventually, authenticity will take over every moment in my life. That is when I will truly be living true to myself. Then I will be able to say, I’m ‘Being Shikha’ to a fault.

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