Authenticity

Authenticity comes in many forms.  Lesboi wrote recently about Authenticity and asked what it is for us.  I found their post to be extremely timely, for I am one who tries to be my authentic self always, and Lesboi brings up some very specific points about it:

This morning I found myself watching this video by uppercaseCHASE1 about how being your authentic self isn’t just about being trans and it got me thinking pretty hard about what living an “authentic life” really means for me.  I talk about living authentically a lot.  It’s a huge motivator for my transition.  It’s what pushes me through the hard stuff about all of this.  But, as Chase points out, authenticity is bigger than just being trans.  There’s so much more to each of us than our gender and our sexuality.  There are political beliefs, personal preferences in clothing, books, movies, music, chores, where we live, who we live with, how we spend money, how we do our hair, how we speak, what cell phone we carry, etc. etc. etc.  The list is too huge to list it all.  All of these things, plus our history and our future goals and dreams help to make us who we are. -Lesboi, Another Authenticity Post

This says so much about how I feel.  Being authentic is important to me, it’s part of being honest about myself, and to myself. There were times in my life where being my “authetic” self was more dangerous to me, as being Butch was a dangerous way of life during those times. So one had to “tone it down” a bit, not being one’s authentic self, in order to not stir the pot too hard and cause an upset. Or better said to not get your ass beat to hell for being too bold as to be your authentic self.

I don’t think that being one’s authentic self has only to do with our sexuality, gender identity or personal preferences because – as Lesboi points out and as uppercaseCHASE1 points out in his video linked by Lesboi here – there is a LOT more that goes into our personal make up than just those superficial things.   It’s not about how Butch, femme, trans or gay one is.  It’s not about being enough of one thing or another, it’s about being enough for yourself.  It’s about being authentic to yourself and living life for yourself and no one else.  When you are doing that then I believe you are being truly authentic.

We’ve talked alot about being “enough” in our vlogs and blogs. People want to set these rules and guidelines for being a certain way, i.e. trans, butch, femme, genderqueer, etc.  They want to define the words and set all these boundaries behind them that makes people think they need to be a certain way to be “enough” to claim their own identities. When you are being your authentic self you don’t need to live up to anyone else’s expectations or determining factors.  You make your own rules; set your own boundaries and live the best life you can for yourself.  That’s being authentic to yourself.

Being one’s authentic self doesn’t have to revolve around any one specific group, like for Chase it seems his experience has it’s roots for him in his Transgender identity.  For me when I speak of my authentic self I see the strong Butch that I am.  For the fantastic femmes out there I am sure it’s got some to do with their – well – fantastic femme-ness!!!  Whatever being your authentic self has it’s “center seed” in for you, is just for you to decide!  That is part of being one’s authentic self!

My own version of my authentic self, when I think about it, is somewhat about me being able to be out and proud, and Butch.  But that’s only a small part of my true self.  True self to me has to do with many other things as well; it’s in how i treat other people and how I expect to be treated in return.  It’s in my honesty and my loyalty.  It’s in my fearlessness about being who I am and my expectation of just being respected for that.

So that’s my take on it for now.  What does being one’s “authentic self” mean to you?  Where does that authenticity show up most in your life?

 

 

 

 

 

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Author: MainelyButch

I am a pretty relaxed, proud, Butch and a native Mainer who enjoys reading, writing, blogging, vlogging and social interaction. I live in southern Maine, near the coast with my 2 small dogs and I hail from a very large, loving family that is historically rooted here. I write about my life, my experiences, living successfully with HIV, my YouTube experiences, and just about anything that piques my interest. This blog may contain profanity and sexual situations, and is not intended for younger audiences. Read at your own risk. At 54 I see life as just beginning a new chapter, and have decide this is the time that I need to write the stories that got me to this point. I believe we live our lives in chapters, changing, evolving and moving continuously with the times. I love to laugh, have discussions, debates and even the occasional nonsense conversation! I generally enjoy people, but not drama, hatred, ignorance or those who choose to feel they are somehow elite or superior to another simply due to their mere existence. I try to be very conscious of the health of the world around me - environmentally, socially, economically, and ethically. The people who are dear to me know me as having a tough exterior, filled with marshmallow and crunchy peanut butter. I continually strive to be the best I can be, especially to address life head on...always.

6 thoughts on “Authenticity”

  1. Being my authentic self has always meant being actively out. I’m very femme and I’ve always passed as heterosexual, so it is an act of personal authenticity every time I come out to someone. I try to come out as often as I can. I consider it a duty to myself and my partner. I’m very affectionate with her, so it’s no secret what I am when she’s with me, but it is when I am alone that I have to face the veil of femme invisibility, even within the LGBT community. So authenticity for me is a verb, it’s something I strive to be and do everyday. Thanks for asking! 🙂

    1. Ah, yes that “veil of femme invisibility” is a fight that you femmes must endure each time you are forced to come out over and over again. I can imagine that has got to be rough. There’s no mistaking my Butch identity, so I don’t know what that’s like. Thank you for being actively out! Thanks for the comment! Peace! ~MB

  2. I’m really most authentic with my dog. Without pretense. Without caring what anyone else thinks.
    I’m authentic on the beach (particularly now that I can wear board shorts and a rash guard), and I’m authentic at baseball games.
    I’m not a phony when I go to a classical music concert or the opera – but it is an intellectual pleasure, not a gut thing.

  3. Well written, thought-provoking blog. Thanks, MB.
    First thought that popped into my mind – For me authenticity is living openly in my truth ie in NOT pretending that everything is fine when it is not.
    I was sexually abused in my family growing up and as a teen, also a battered woman in my early marriage and abused in all ways. I also was the eldest of 5 children and thus responsible for anything that happened to any of the others. I learned early on to pretend things were fine, that I was fine – all. the. time. I was “nice”. I was obedient, always obeyed the rules, people-pleasing all. the. time. It was probably my greatest coping mechanism and kept me alive and relatively physically unharmed.

    While going through sexual abuse recovery I decided to no longer pretend things were fine in order to keep a family. Thus I lost most of my family. But I got to keep my self-respect and myself.

    When I had my second primary breast cancer that way of life (authentically physically real) was already such a part of me that it was relatively easy for me to make decisions based on my authentic truth and to NOT pretend that things were fine when they weren’t.
    What this looked like – I had a double mastectomy and chose to not have reconstructive surgery or to be fitted for prostheses of any form.

    The consequences of this was facing my feelings in totality – the loss and grief of losing my breasts, specifically. But in particular I could not even begin to imagine finding a fake breast substitute for myself in spite of what MOST other people seemed to think I should do – I must say NO other breast cancer survivors thought I should do this – only “normal” breast cancer free civilians thought I should have some form of “falsies”.
    Thus I went through intense grieving, palpable self-consciousness during which time I was sure I looked like a middle-aged man with a beer belly, and eventually grew into acceptance of my choices and the consequences. I would not choose anything different given another opportunity, btw.

    Now, fifteen years later I truly honestly forget I have a flat chest and no breasts – truly. The only time it causes discomfort is when I’m considering the possibility of meeting new women with dating in mind. But so far that has been a non-issue, as in the women who came into my life fully accepted me as I am. See, in all other ways I look like a woman and I want to look womanly. I never wanted a flat chest, but I do believe I still look womanly.

    And that is all “I got to say about that” at the moment.

    Anne

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