Notes on authenticity

Like Becky with the bare arms

I flow like a free-spirited mess of mould and sweat, wading through grasslike streams of people, weeding through good ones and bad ones like a pile of unsorted candies, different blades, different colours, same taste, different coloured tongue.

We all need a crutch, a signifier, an identifier that makes us authentic. And mine has always been the ability to morph into the being of every group within which I find myself. To compare this gift to that of a chameleon would be reductive; it isn’t an animalistic urge to protect myself from danger. Or maybe it is. But it doesn’t come naturally, it isn’t innate. It was learned and mastered, over years of quiet observation of a world I still do not fully understand, but feel an inexplicable urge to control.

You become authentic not because you stop caring, but because you care too much about the world around you and the people who make it up. Forget make-up. Authenticity lies in making others believe you are bare, with a box cutter in your left back pocket. It begins with small hints of self-deprecation, half-truths of things most would want hidden but you shock with your willingness to share. It lays the foundations of subtext that speaks volumes: “I trust you, so you should trust me”, “I am myself, and so should you be”, “Who cares, everyone does, but you should care less about me”.

You become authentic because people perceive you as such. They become comfortable, let their guard down, sharp side-eye softens into slow gazes. Warmth melts demarcations of personal space. Touch soothes the emptiness none of us are born with, but is spun into our souls by stories of the world we’re born into. My authenticity inspires while inwardly, conspiring to scan every aspect of your being and absorb it into mine. I’m authentic because I pander to your ego and feed it till its reflection bloats beyond the contours of my shadow.

 

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