How Best of 09 Brings Out Your Authentic You

by Dian Reid-Jancic· Follow Dian on

Most of this month’s theme has been reflecting back on some of my bests of 09. Which has allowed me to dig. Which is sometimes hard for me. Not because of the digging, but because of the remembering. My memory isn’t what it used to be. But it seems like all I need is a little reminder, a little spark, and yesterday, yestermonth, yesteryear comes seeping, crawling, flowing, rushing (sometimes screaming) right back to me. Sometimes it’s good, sometimes it’s not, but in my new age of minimal judgment (I’m shooting for none, but I’m taking it one step at a time) I try to see the past as stepping stones of learning, and I’m grateful for each and every one of them (no matter how smooth or slippery or snaggle-toothed they might have been).

What’s this got to with your authentic you? Everything.

Authenticity isn’t just about doing whatever comes to mind; it’s not about just being you and telling everyone to shove it because you’re being true to yourself (except when it is). Before you can be your authentic you, you have to know your authentic you. Do you know her? Who is she*? Your authentic you probably doesn’t live on the surface. Well, maybe she used to, but that was back in your childhood days. Back when fear didn’t keep you from getting to know yourself. Or maybe it was just me.

When I was a kid I tried new things. I played in the playground. I asked questions. I let people help me. I helped others when I thought I could. My normal laugh was a true guffaw because I could rarely contain it to a presentable laugh. I often snorted or had trouble breathing in (or out) when I thought something was really funny. I laughed at my own jokes or when retelling a funny story. I ran as fast as I could for as long as I could because I didn’t understand the concept of pacing myself. I ate mustard and cheese sandwiches for breakfast, lunch and dinner sometimes. I jumped as far as I could and swung on swings as high as I could until I realized that falling really hurts. And then I learned to be cautious. I learned to swing only so high. I learned I could only jump so far. I learned I could only run so fast. I learned that people don’t always like to be helped. I learned I don’t always like help from others. I learned that it’s not always polite to laugh. I learned that there is such a thing as too many mustard and cheese sandwiches. I learned to control myself. I learned to hide myself. I learned to keep my mouth shut. I learned to be what “they” thought I ought to be. I learned to closet my inner thoughts, feelings, and emotions because I believed no one really wanted to see them anyway.

And next thing I knew, I wasn’t just a kid anymore. I was 18. My mom had died two years prior and I was angry. It seemed to be the only feeling I felt. And I was tired of hiding the angry. So I let the angry out. I unleashed the rage that had been pent up for all those years of holding in everything I really wanted to say. I became rigid in speaking my mind—every last bit of it, leaving nothing out. For some reason, even my closest friends referred to me as moody and bitchy, and didn’t always want to be around me. I couldn’t understand why.

And then I was 24. I began to learn that there’s a balance between speaking my mind and holding it all in. I learned that it doesn’t have to be all or nothing. Sometimes it’s all, sometimes it’s nothing. And sometimes it’s something beautifully in between. I began to think about what I said and did. I began to learn from what I said and did. I began to learn from my thoughts. It was only a matter of time before I began to apply that learning.

And then 27. I had begun to evolve. The learning practically applied itself. The angry 18-year old seemed so far away. She seemed like a different person, someone from another lifetime, another era. I hardly understood her. I looked at her in contempt and vowed to never be like her again. Which somehow translated to keeping any anger I experience wholly inside of me. Anger is toxic, I knew, and I wanted to never spew toxicity. Until the anger eventually became its own toxic river in my soul. I felt stifled and needed to let it all out…I found myself ever closer with that 18-year-old from back in the day (which was a Wednesday, for any of you Dane cook fans out there), and wondering how I’d gotten back there when she had recently seemed so far away…

And at 31… Expression. Beautiful, wonderful, liberating expression found its way into my life. First I was turned onto The Celestine Prophecy. Then The Artist’s Way. The Power of Intention. The Secret. The Law of Attraction. The Power of Now. Anatomy of The Spirit. But let me say that expression didn’t just find its way into my life. I went in search of it. I went into myself, my self, my spirit, my soul. And what I found were pieces of long ago dying to come out. Pieces of right now on the verge of breaking through. I found that I no longer disliked cherries. I found that watching all 162 Dodger games a year makes my heart leap with joy, and I almost can’t live without it (or at least I don’t want to). I found that speaking up when I’m angry makes the anger go away much quicker than letting someone think nothing bothers me at all. I learned that crying in front of others is a natural reaction to feeling emotion and that letting the boo-hoo’s out makes me feel really good in the end (and I don’t care who witnesses this beautiful act). I realized I was learning who I really was, who I really am. Hi, Dian, I’m your authentic you. Nice to finally meet you.

And now 34. My life is a constant classroom. I’ve finally figured out that when I have something figured out, it’s all in the past and the next step is to learn who I am in this moment. Because this moment will always end up in the past, I’m in constant search of who I am now. And now. And now. The great thing about this is that I don’t have to abandon who I’ve brought along with me; I can look for how to best honor who I’ve become along the way and be honest about who that person is. I’ve learned that my authentic self is always with me, and it’s on me to let her breathe, to let her cuddle, to let her play in the rain, to let her shine.

And how do I do that?

By looking back and seeing where I’ve been this year. Not for the purpose of tracking, but for the purpose of checking in with myself. For the purpose of remembering what’s good in me, for me, so I can know what I want more of and what I want less of as I push and pull and grow through whatever is next for me.

So, to Gwen Bell, I say: Thank you. Her “little” (700+ people did it in some way, shape or form and I’m so grateful to have met even the small percentage I have so far) Best of 09 Blog Challenge has created an opportunity for me to get in touch with my authentic self. To check in with her and see where we stand. To remind us both that we’re in this together, me and my authentic self.

How about you?

Photograph by Alison Turner. Check out her other stuff, she’s awesome.

* or he, of course. =)

  • Again – arrow (loving arrow!) to the heart, Dian – whew! FANTASTIC. Thank you for YOUR authenticity, it's inspirational!!

  • Okay. So this is one of the most beautiful expressions of finding authentic self. Your authentic self is beautiful, brilliant, intelligent, charming, warmly connecting, generous and giving. I have loved getting to know your authentic self, just even a little bit. One caveat, though: I am a Giants Fan. We could have a hella good time at a Giants/Dodgers game. Whaddya think?

  • This challenge definitely brought me leaps and bounds in discovering myself, mostly because of the people I discovered along the way. So glad to have found your blog.

  • Thank you, Karen =)

  • Oh MAN, yeah that'd be fun! I haven't had a real Giants Fan to spar with in a while 'o)

    And thank you, so much, Julie for your kind words.

  • Thanks, Kylie, I've enjoyed finding you, too! One of my favorite things about the whole challenge has been finding such wonderful people, and actually connecting with them (you!). =)

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