Your Authentic Self

Do you remember the movie “Little Man Tate”?

It was about a gifted kid that went to college at some insanely young age, and it followed his trials and tribulations. It really resonated with me.

When I was in third grade, I had my IQ tested, at the request of one of my teachers. Because of my score, I was labeled “gifted”. Though, I was 3 points away from genius….I’m not at all bitter about that.

I felt and experienced the world differently than my friends. They were fighting over who gets which ball at gym, I was crying at night over the fact the universe is so vast and we’re so unimportant. I remember when I asked my mom what happens when we die, she said that our souls lived on forever. That scared me. I wanted to know that when I died, I would be gone. Living forever is terrifying.

Looking back, I was kind of a weird kid. I remember in high school, I wrote a critical analysis of “A River Runs Through It”. A few days later, my teacher was passing out papers and I noticed she was passing out my analysis to everyone in the class. She said “THIS is how all of you should be writing.” I was embarrassed.

I began to bottle myself up so I wouldn’t be as weird. I tried to dull my brain. I hated small talk at parties, so I made sure I had a drink in hand so that I could slow my brain down and engage instead of staying lost in my own head. I’ve taken anxiety medication in the past…what I was reading as anxiety, was actually me being highly aware of myself and the things around me. I would post things that I know were silly because everyone else was doing it. One time, my husband told me “you’re not the person you are on social media.” He was right. I’m much more thoughtful than I let on.

As you may be able to tell, I’ve had a re-awakening of who I really am. Maybe it’s the pandemic, maybe it’s because I’m getting older, maybe because I’ve been listening to MasterClass.

Data (my IQ) shows that I am a highly intelligent person. I believe that being highly intelligent can make one highly emotional. I’m a July baby, so I’m a Cancer. I believe in astrology, so I believe it’s true that, like a crab, I have a hard exterior and a soft interior. I’m beginning to dabble in astronomy, which given what I now remember as a child, it makes perfect sense. I don’t have a lot of friends, because I prefer to live in my own head. I hate minutia, when someone is speaking, my brain throws away the data that isn’t relevant to their point. There are some people who I keep 0-1% of what they tell me, and others I hold on to it all. I don’t tend to be friends with the former, but because of the latter, I would love to have a conversation with one of the great thinkers of the world, Stephen Hawking (he’s an INTJ, too), Neil Degrasse Tyson or Elon Musk (also an INTJ). The people I keep close and gravitate towards are thinkers.

I’m not saying any of this to pump myself up. I have more flaws than I can count. I can come across aloof…Someone once told me that they test their stories with me and they know it’s a good one if it’s hold my attention. And certain people categorically just don’t like me. That’s okay. My personality also makes parenting difficult for me: I don’t like silly things or being silly. Though, as my daughter is getting older, gaining reason, and asking questions, I’ve found my own parenting style. I’m also very forgetful..which relates to what percentage of a conversation my brain commits to memory.

But, I do encourage you to remember your childlike, authentic self…before you cared about social norms, or peer pressure or likes or retweets or whatever. What kept you up at night? What made you get out of bed on the weekends (cartoons, naturally)? What activities did you lose yourself in?

I find humor when social media influencers say that they’re “authentic”. Let’s face it, authenticity doesn’t get you a lot of likes. The influencer (ugh, hate that word) may begin as authentic, but then begin to pander once they get high off of the instant validation.

If you get nothing else from this, ask yourself “Am I my authentic self?” There is no right or wrong answer, just be sure you can live with whatever the answer is.

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