What is self authenticity?
How are you real?
What makes you know that you are who you say you are?
How do you hold yourself accountable for your self-awareness?
These are some of the questions that came to my mind after having a (really cool, amazing, thought-provoking, awesome, attention grabbing, real) conversation with some new friends about stereotypes at Loyola and how they affect the culture at school.
Before you close the window because answering these questions is scary, (heck, asking these questions is scary), hear me out. Let me try to answer them in my own way:
Self-authenticity is not being fake. How do I know I’m not fake? I can look in the mirror and say with good conscience that I am happy with the person staring back (most days, I’m not perfect). I can look at myself and accept the physical, mental and emotional stuff that makes up a human body, a human soul.
I know who I am because I think about who I want to be. Part of realizing who you are comes from learning about what you aren’t. It’s kind of like process of elimination, but on a much larger, positive personality-oriented scale.
I know I’m not the only one who knows who I am. My friends, professors, fellow students, family, and my lovely readers, know who, what, how, and even why I am. They hold me accountable for my representation of myself.
At this point you can argue that the term “representation” is relative. That there are parts of you that you have to keep separate from certain environments. That History Class Rory is different from Art Class Rory is different from Alpha Aide Rory is different from Knitting Teacher Rory is different from Roommate Rory is different from Home Rory is different from Talking To Professor Rory.
I like to think that while I may adopt a different tone or be required to wear different clothing for certain situations, I am still seen as the same person at any time.
Even if it means that I trip over myself, wear kooky earrings, dance awkwardly from sheer happiness, laugh uproariously, staunchly defend my views, stay in on weekends, not do well on a test, cry over fictional characters, and most of all be content with my decisions (right down to eating a fourth cookie).
The oddities are what make me unique. The imperfections that I sometimes wish I could ignore make me real.
One of the problems of going to a school that places emphasis on students who are the ideal is that those who don’t quite make it get ignored. Even worse, those who are on the opposite side of the spectrum feel even more alienated. The blind rationalization of stereotypes perpetuates a negative social culture on campus. Boxing people into definitions is “safe,” it means that we don’t have to give people time to get to know them, to make them feel valued. But isn’t being valued what this is all about? “Cura Personalis” “Care for the Whole Person.” How can we care for others if we don’t even care for ourselves?
I know, I know, these are really big issues. You probably wish I’d go back to talking about apples and art. But this is what I’m thinking about and I’m supposed to write about what I think.
The word of the day is Authenticity. Use it in a sentence. Use it in your life.
Know it, accept it, learn it, be it.