"Too Much" Authenticity?
Updated: Aug 8, 2022
As a creative whose brand is storytelling inspired by my very own life, I fear judgement.
If I’m honest about the lows, depression, self-doubt, unrelenting guilt, perceived inadequacies—and I write about it—does it simply illicit pity? Or is it useful? Helpful? Inspiring?
In those dark times when I get the urge to emotionally barf all over my Instagram and/or email tribe, my heart may be calling out to be seen, heard, valued and nurtured. A tense ball of anxiety clenches up in my center, right under my ribcage, and I worry that I’ve said “too much.” That I may come across as needy or seeking validation.
What if I welcome in a slew of advice I don’t even want?
What if my self-expression is mistaken for complaining?
What if people lose respect for my writing or don’t book my services because I come across as a walking meltdown?
Admittedly, I’m an overly conscientious, highly sensitive person who’s always cared a whole helluva lot what other people think.
I’ve also found a freedom via writing to say what I’m actually feeling from where I stand in this moment. It’s a level of intimacy I feel most comfortable sharing with people I’ve never met in person. I’ll bare my soul in a blog post, Insta share or book, but good luck seeing that side of me in the flesh. How this will change as book tours and workshops become the norm in my writing career is YTBD. It’s a deep hope to express more of my genuine self in every environment, while still being respectful to my personal comfort level, intuitive adaptive ability and multifaceted Gemini nature.
I wrote a Micro Blog today called Honest Moment = Insta Turnoff and felt dread before scheduling it to post on Insta. I felt outrageously insecure and completely unraveled over a slice of admission about how I’ve been feeling over my weekend. My “weekend” being the three days off from my part-time J.O.B. where I seek to cultivate the balance of marketing my copyediting services, delivering said services, filming videos, scheduling social media posts, finishing my book that’s three years in the making, doing yoga, working out, meditating, cleaning my diet down to the microscopic level, tidying my house . . . Nowhere in there is a plan for FUN. I’m not talkin’ raves or ragers here. Maybe a hike. Or something deliciously woowoo like a free astrology class at the spiritual center. A movie in the actual theatre. Shopping with a thick wad of money in my wallet, just ready to burn.
My life has been all about work-life balance, getting in a content-production groove, finishing this book (for which progress seems to slow the more I push), losing weight (aka beating myself up about not losing weight, eating all day on my days “off” and ordering DoorDash once again).
Are you officially turned off?
Would you pass on working with me because I’ve upchucked my humanity on you? (Like the time I cried to my boss out of overwhelm and she demoted me. #lessonnotlearned)
Is the real me “too much?”
In an image-driven digital world where “authenticity” is a glimmering buzz word in spiritually-tuned self-development circles, do we sincerely value truth even when it’s so visceral it makes our skin crawl?
A speech coach once told me: “They won’t stick with you through the pain.” Because “too much” authenticity is a turn-off for live audiences, and apparently, the world.
Push the envelope, just not too hard.
Be authentic, in a relatable way that’s paired with a pristine flat lay.
Be edgy, as long as your branding isn’t all over the place.
But what about those of us that just can’t help but let our messy selves slip out? What if our Instagram isn’t perfectly curated, color-coded and we let out our monster now and again? What if we feel all-the-way and fucking say as much?
Hey, I’m still finding my balance, and wondering if that’s even a fucking attainable thing on any level, in any aspect of life. And I’m an emotional gal. Maybe that’s “too much” for some, but I’d rather be “too much” any day than a sliver of myself every day.
If you’ve nodded and let out a laugh at any point in this article, my gut says this level of humanity is just what was needed right here and now, and whenever the next time comes that I choose to spill it.