authenticity is way too much work.

we’re hosting a dinner party at our house tonight, a pizza night with brownies & icecream & coffee & people we don’t know very well.  i’m cleaning bathrooms & sweeping dry garbanzo beans off the floor & straightening the longterm mess.  there’s the I-should-get-it-together-because-they’ve-never-been-here-before clause.  except that, honestly, I can’t actually get it together.  not in the way that I would like to, I mean.  not in a pinteresting way.  not in an instagram-worthy way.  the jill-has-it-together way.  because, honestly.  jill doesn’t really have it together very much at all.

the toddler wants to drink his milk out of the starbucks’ refresher can, for goodness sake.
I came here for your commiseration, obviously.

i’m also writing questions for our small group meeting on sunday. the topic?  authenticity.  of course it is.  authenticity is such the buzzword in our culture right now.  we all want to be our truest selves.  I love this!!  I’ve played my authenticity banjo a long time, & in light of the wonders of social media, the topic of authenticity is so crucial.  we struggle to find authenticity.  we get well-versed in posting our wonderful lives as opposed to the life that is actually going on.

[I just wanted to tell you the toddler, with no shirt or socks, just tried to refill his refresher can with half & half he found in the fridge, which, of course, splattered all over the floor.  no, I wasn’t actually paying attention until the frantic scream from one of the other kids.]

do you really want all my authenticity?  i’m not so sure.  I meet plenty of people who ask me how i’m doing without actually wanting to know.  we do this to each other.  i do it.  sometimes we can’t help it.  who has time for the truth at every interaction?  you know the brush off:  “how are you?”  “well,” you start to say, “it’s actually a little hairy right now.”  & then you notice their eyes glazing over & you quickly withdraw your story & tuck it back down safe.

authenticity is way too much work, i’m saying.  with authenticity banners flying, now we’re trying to figure out what to hold out to the public, as opposed to what to keep in the quiet pockets of ourselves.  if I post this adorable picture of an actual wonder-filled afternoon with my kids, will you think less of me because i’m not also telling you about the mice I can’t get rid of or the tantrum I, I mean, they had?  &, honestly, who IS my authentic self?  I’m not even sure i’d recognize her wide awake in a well-lit room.  I’ve spent a long time trying to be someone else.  or at least the self I wanted to be, instead of the self I am.  if i’m not even okay with me, how is this ever going to work?

& that’s where the truth comes in:  somewhere down around the bottom of myself, I am.  just me, jill.  without my badges or my capes.  just the actual girl that Jesus set down a few years back to be right here, right now.  kombucha-loving, journal-writing, photo-taking, hermit introvert.

so, yes.  authenticity is way too much work.  but if we’re going to affect the change we want to see in the world, do we have a choice but to do the hard work of first digging down into our truest selves, & then holding them out kindly & full of courage?

I don’t think we do.  after all, you are art, remember?  we want to see it. we need to.

so, here’s to the courage to look your authentic self in the eye & say a gentle, “hello.  I’ve missed you.  let’s be friends.”

now i’m off to make brownies & straighten the mess, but not too much.  it’s a little hairy around here, & i’m going to try to be okay with that.  & pinteresting?
pinterest ain’t got nothing on these curtains (my actual room with my actual children.).
happy weekend, all.
keep it real.

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