POSTS & PROMPTS 1: Authenticity

"I yam what I yam and that's all what I yam." - Popeye

I'm not into facades or  masks. Being real, being true to my core, being authentic is very important to me. My instinct is to be sincerely open and honest. 

If you know me, you know me. 

I've been an extrovert my whole life. Most of my growing up years I was out there and unreserved. I didn't guard my heart and I didn't hide. It just never occurred to me. Why would anyone do that, hide? What's there to be afraid of? 

Being a total extrovert has meant having the tendency to not hold back when maybe I should. I didn't learn early on (and it didn't come naturally to me) about the layers that people use to protect their hearts. My heart was exposed. I didn't hesitate jumping into love, so I had a lot of practice getting my heart hurt.

That didn't stop me, though. 

And with the years and the accumulation of relationships and stories I've also found myself to be more layered. I have some scars and some secrets now. I am aware of my shadow side now. 

This is important to acknowledge. Fears, disappointments, the darker emotions of anger, jealousy, resentment. Shame. Vulnerability. Witnessing my shadow side means that I am making space for all of my pieces. Without that I could not be truly who I am.

My authenticity manifests in this way: I almost always lean into connection. I almost always make a move rather than think it out first. I love big and deep. And I trust first.

And I make mistakes. And admit them.

At the root of it, I guess, is a sense that I trust that being myself is okay. I don't need someone else's approval to just be me. No matter what I'm going through, being real, being truly who I am is all I can be. Everyone else is taken, as they say. 

It doesn't occur to me to be anyone other than myself.

In my art journals I've explored what it means to be myself, to be content with who I am. My explorations have turned up these realizations:

I don't need to strive to be someone else. I am good with who I am right now. 

and

I am indeed layered and not everyone knows who I am. Even I don't, sometimes.

Art journaling has been a fruitful way for me to unpeel my many layers, my very personal stories, the questions that batter my psyche. In fact, every page of my art journals is like a facet of my self-portrait, informing me of my personal truth...my authenticity.

What does being authentic mean to you?

If you'd like to art journal in response to this topic, I invite you to download my art journaling prompt (button below) for some inspiration. I like to think of art journaling prompts as little shovels, helping you to dig deeper into yourself. 

This is the first in a weekly series of blog posts and art journal prompts. I hope you'll use these to enrich your art journaling practice. For more ideas about how to art journal, check out my Art Journaling Nuts & Bolts video tutorial series. Or, sign up for an in-person class or online ecourse with me!