What is authenticity?

In today’s episode of All Who Podcast, we ponder authenticity. Follow along –– and take some time to reflect –– as we discuss why authenticity is so important, and how we can truly embrace our most authentic selves.


Hello. Howdy.

Welcome to All Who Podcast. I am Jacklyn I am roughly 22 years old, I run a blog and I just moved to California, and I am your host today, I suppose. And every day if you keep listening. But, yeah, welcome to All Who Podcast guys, this is kind of dope. Um, I’m very excited about it. Um, I guess a little bit about what this podcast is and why I’m starting it. This is an extension of my blog, All Who Ponder. And I guess to backtrack a little bit I started a blog because I really wanted to… I mean, I write, that’s what I do. There are very few traits that are profitable that I bring to the table and writing is one of them. So I kind of started it as a way to help myself reflect and broaden my perspectives and to hopefully help you all do the same.

And I’m starting this podcast for the same reason. It’s called All Who Podcast because that is a super cute play on All Who Ponder, and also because I really want this to feel like something that is everyone’s, if that makes sense. Like obviously like today’s gonna be like 20-30 minutes of me talking at you. But I mean like, I really want it to be, like, I want to talk about things that you guys are interested in and I want to talk to other people on here like I want to have guests and I want to have collaborations like we’re gonna it’s going to be many things and it’s going to be great and I hope that this is just kind of a place that you can come to become a more well-rounded person. That’s why I want to do it, I think. Also like, I know that like sitting down and reading a blog is just not super accessible for everyone, whether it’s because of like accessibility reasons or because like you’re busy and you’re working and you’re going to school, and all of that. Like, it’s so easy to just like throw in headphones and listen to a podcast and like think while you’re doing things so like I just, I hope that this can be that.

And also, like a little forewarning, I guess, um, we’re going to talk about things that are all over the place, and people who have experiences across the board. We’re going to talk about super fun, and lighthearted things, and we’re also probably going to get into some like serious topics and more triggering things, and I will do my best to provide proper warnings and prepare you for the conversations that are to come. But just know that this is going to be a space where we just really delve into things.

Also, just to kind of prepare you for what’s to come today, I’m trying to break this down into like three sections, which are: ponder, which is what we’re talking about today the topic of the podcast; propose, which is kind of why we’re talking about it, why it matters or needs to be discussed, and just kind of where we delve into these topics a little bit more; and then perform, so what does this mean for our day to day lives and how do you really like implement the things that we talk about into actual practice.

So what we are pondering today, is ‘What is authenticity?’ So Merriam Webster defines authenticity as “that which is not to false or imitation,” and “to be true to one’s own personality, spirit, or character.”

So, authenticity is something that in a few trial runs of this podcast (which you will hopefully never hear) it’s just something that really kept coming up. And I think that that’s for a lot of different reasons. But specifically in like trying to run a blog and trying to build a social media page and trying to start therapy, being authentic and figuring out who my authentic self really is has just kind of been like a pretty consistent rhetoric in my life lately. So, that is what we’re pondering today.

And I propose that authenticity is hard. I think authenticity is hard because it’s not something that we see on large scales. And I think that that is for a lot of reasons, whether it’s, like we’re on social media, and we’re all trying to be the best and we’re trying to be the prettiest and the happiest. And I think that that’s good, to some extent, like I think that it’s good to continuously push yourself to see the positive and things and to share when you are genuinely happy. I guess it’s also, it’s hard to see authenticity because like, who wants to open Instagram and see a bunch of people crying or like ‘my life sucks right now’ like it’s just, it’s not realistic. So, I think that that is one reason that authenticity is hard I think that it’s also difficult to, I guess, define your authentic self sometimes, or to really feel connected with your most authentic self, because life is busy. I mean obviously right now we’re in the middle of a pandemic where a lot of people are very concerned, as they should be, for their jobs and for their family and for their health and safety. And, oh god, there are so many things with like the election.

Life will constantly pose different challenges that will steer you off track from focusing on yourself, like that’s just how life goes. It’s not meant to just be like this fun house of mirrors where you can look at yourself in different situations and analyze how you handled them. But I think that that’s how we kind of should view life, more as opportunities to do exactly that. To analyze like, ‘Okay, this is a situation that just happened, how did I handle it? And how should I have handled it? And how would I have handled it five years ago?’ But just realistically, it’s hard to do that. It’s hard to carve out the time, it’s hard to mentally separate yourself from whatever it is that’s happening, especially if it’s like negative things, it’s hard to step away and be like, ‘oh, I had a really shitty day but how did that help me become a better person?’ Like that’s just not a simple thing to do.

So part of my proposition that authenticity is hard is kind of analyzing how do we connect with our most authentic selves? And for me, there are two routes [ro͞ots] routes [routs]… avenues that I have done this through, and it is self reflection and honesty. So first, I think, for myself to become my most authentic self and to really be authentic and allow myself to be authentic, it took a lot of looking in the mirror and, well not like literally. But just really trying to think about, who am I today and who have I become. And it’s like going through a scavenger hunt within yourself and you have this basket at the end that’s full of all of these personality traits, whether it’s the things that you’ve lost along the way or the traits that have kind of fallen due to different life circumstances or adaptations, or just as life happens like you’d become a new and different person. But I think that to really be authentically you, you have to kind of really sit down and be mindful about like, ‘oh, what are the parts of me that came about because of a happenstance or that came about because of a situation.’ It’s just, it’s about analyzing like where you are and who you’ve become, and what you like about it and what you don’t.

And then the next part of that is the honesty. So, ‘this is the parts of me that I do like and these are the parts of me that I don’t. And honestly, moving forward, I need to, like, emphasize the positives or I need to unlearn like those negative traits.’ Because I think that you can self reflect but it’s a lot harder to look at the parts of you that you don’t like and be like, ‘wow, that’s really become who I am and I’ve let that take over.’ And that’s hard.
Honesty also brings us into performing. How do you perform authenticity? And I think the first part is finding your purpose. So that’s, I mean, a loaded statement. Your purpose a lot of the time, I think, is connected with your job and it’s connected with how you make money. But for me, figuring out my purpose was identifying what drives me and why. So, what drives me is helping people. Um, I’ve always like, wanted to just fix the world. At one point I thought that was through like saving the whole world, at one point that seemed to be through being the president. Most recently, helping people showed up in my life through journalism and I mean like those are all valid, well, to an extent.

But I just, I think that I got so caught up in connecting my desire to help people with how I earn my money that I was burning myself out. And that burnout was leading me to become like this nasty, stressed out, angry person. And honestly, like I’ve always been pretty cynical, but I kind of finally looked at 2+2 and realized that I couldn’t make it equal anything but 4. I couldn’t keep pursuing journalism and not let it consume me. I couldn’t keep tying my passions with my jobs. And I think that when I realized that –– and a lot of this, too, has been through talking with my therapist –– but I really started to realize that in doing like school and work and journalism and trying to apply for jobs and just the hustle and bustle of life and needing to exist in needing to make money, I completely stopped doing the things that I enjoyed and the things that for so long gave me a break from being angry or sad or whatever negative emotion I was feeling. I just completely lost touch with those outlets, and that was through things like music and whether it’s playing guitar or singing or writing songs like, I can’t tell you the last time that I like actually engaged with music in a way that felt really like meaningful and genuine and authentic. I kind of realized that like connecting my purpose to my job distracted me from connecting my purpose to my passions. And without the things that make me happy, I’m literally just a wreck. Like I’m not a person who you want to be around.

I really thought that when I moved to California, I was going to need like a Xanax prescription to be able to like deal with people. And honestly, I literally realized that I … how do I put this? Okay. When you walk by someone in New York State, or when I did at least, like I am walking very quickly, I have places to be, I have 17 things that are on my mind, and I’m writing an email. Like do not look at me. Do not stop me. Do not speak to me, like I’m very busy. Whereas like here, going for a walk like people really will just be like, ‘Hi, how’s it going?’ And at first I was like, what the fuck? Like, why… like don’t talk to me. Like why are you talking to me? Like do you talk to everyone that you walk by? Like do you say hello to every person you walk by? Like that just really seems so stupid to me like what a waste of time. And then I took a step back and I was like, ‘Oh my god. I think that people are stupid here, because they’re nice.’ I just was kind of like, you know, if I’m being honest, that’s not who I wanted to become. It’s just it’s the little things that just add up and become part of your personality that if you don’t keep an eye on them, they can get out of control. I think that was a few different side thoughts.

But the second part of performing authenticity, for me, has to do with how much I allow other people’s opinions to affect my opinion of myself. So the easiest way to put this into a palatable perspective is with my blog, like I am always striving to be super real and super authentic. And everything that I’ve posted is. I posted that because I felt it and it’s true to me. But there have been times where I’ll be feeling like, ‘oh, I really want to write about body dysmorphia, and I’m just really not feeling that good about myself and I just really feel like sitting down and writing would really help me reflect.’ And then I’m like, ‘Oh no, I’ve already written about body dysmorphia like four times like it’s kind of tired, people aren’t gonna want to read about that, just write about something else.’ And that’s, I mean like that’s literally the opposite of authentic. I think that being authentic doesn’t always have to mean like showing people things that you don’t want them to see. But it’s about, I don’t just write about body dysmorphia one time and then I post it and the next day I wake up and I feel great about myself, like it’s an ongoing narrative. And I think that I’ve let what I think other people want to read about control what I want to write about. And that’s the opposite of why I started writing a blog in the first place. So yeah, just how much we allow others’ opinions to affect our own self-perception just will constantly steer us off track from our own purpose.

Another example is when I went to college. I never really like enjoyed partying, I was never a really big drinker. And then my friends were like let’s go out. So you do, like you’re in college, you’re gonna go out, you’re gonna party, you’re gonna drink. But the first few times we went out, I didn’t drink I was just kind of like, ‘I’ll be the one who gets home, these aren’t familiar situations to me.’ And then the more we went out the more I just kind of was like, ‘okay, everybody’s drinking like I’ll just drink.’ And it just, I allowed the need for acceptance to interrupt the things that I actually enjoyed. When I stopped partying, I think is when I realized just how much I didn’t like it. It was just kind of like, it felt like the only options were go out with your friends or stay home by yourself, and I wasn’t in a place where I was comfortable being by myself. So I just kind of went with the status quo. But, if I’ve learned one thing from High School Musical, it’s that that is not what you should do. You should embrace things that make you happy and not care if you’re by yourself, or if your friends don’t like it because like if your friends don’t like it, they’re probably not your friends. But that’s a lot easier for 22-year-old Jacklyn sitting in an apartment in California to say, than it was for 18-year-old Jacklyn in a Naz dorm to realize.

So… I think the last real part of performing authenticity and becoming truly authentic was taking control of my purpose. So I figured out okay I want to help people and I’m good at music and I’m good at writing and all of that. But taking control of it, I mean obviously I still don’t have complete control over everything and a lot of this authenticity journey for me has been about reflecting on my past self and reconnecting with the person that I always imagined that I would be. But I think that it’s important also not just to reconnect with the person that you always thought you would be, but to reevaluate your old perspectives. When I was 12, I always imagined that I would live in California. But I also always imagined that I would drive a 1965 13 window split windshield Volkswagen bus and I would live in it and I would just make music and that’s all I would do. I would live in a van down by the river. And I would make music and I would be happy, and that would be enough for me. And like, that’s a great concept, 12-year-old Jacklyn, thank you for the foundation for my goals. However, I am very high maintenance, like I have no business deciding to live in a van. That’s just not, it’s just not realistic for me. Like I have a very intensive haircare schedule, I break out if I look at dirt, I just- it’s not realistic.

So parts of my old goals are things that I never thought that would have even happened for me. Like moving to California, even if you asked me literally if you asked me in the beginning of July if I was moving to California, I would say, ‘I have no idea.’ I was very fortunate to accept a job that allowed me to move here and that has allowed me to really take the time to work on my blog and to start a podcast. But I also think that if I was living my life based solely on my old goals, I wouldn’t have even applied for this job that got me here because I was so convinced that whatever my job was would be the way that I contributed to the world. And I just, I think that that’s awesome when it is, but I don’t think that that needs to dictate my life choices. If my job aligns with my contributions to society, that’s awesome. And if not, then hopefully I’ll have a job that allows me to contribute to the world in my free time.

Figuring out who you are is just the beginning of it, I guess is what I’m trying to say with all of this. And it’s hard, and nothing is linear I’m coming to find. Some days are awesome and some days suck. And sometimes you will be hit by things that you could never expect. And sometimes pandemics breakout, and no one can expect it. But, I think taking control of your purpose, or when I started taking control of my purpose and I really decided to use writing as a platform to share my thoughts and my feelings and my little self-care tips with the world, that’s when I started to really understand who I was. And I mean I still don’t really get who I am, every day comes with some new surprises let me tell you.

But I never in a million years would have expected to be where I am right now. At the beginning of this year. And I’m grateful. And I’m happy. And all of these things I just never really anticipated because I had been building myself, and who I was, and who I was becoming, and what I had decided my purpose was was all built off of this kind of facade of being like that bitch in charge. I always wanted to be seen as this person who is so powerful and can run a room and that people love and fear, and I’m really just starting to like realize that I cry way too much for that. And I think embracing my authentic self and embracing authenticity in general has kind of led me to understand my vulnerabilities more. And the fact that I can want to be a high-maintenance wealthy CEO as much as I want, but my values are way more people-driven than that. And you don’t get to be people-driven and empathetic and think that people in California are stupid because they say hi to you when you go down the street.

I think trying to embrace authenticity has really helped me to see a lot of the contradictions within myself. And it’s helped me to mellow out a little bit. I am always a person who preaches the importance of equality and the importance of hearing out other people’s perspectives. And I’m coming to realize that so often, my actions were the opposite of my values. So, performing authenticity, for me, is more than just writing blogs because I felt like writing them or posting photos that don’t just show me looking great and happy. Embracing and performing authenticity, for me, is about stepping into myself, and really actively becoming a person that I’m proud of.

And I guess that’s, that’s why I’m here. That’s what I want this podcast to help me do, and I hope that this podcast helps you to do the same.

So, thank you for coming along for the ride. Please let me know what you think and what you like and what you don’t like. And I will do my best to keep working toward more of these if you like them, more of these if I like them, and just I’ll keep working on becoming my most authentic self. For me and for y’all. And I guess in true All Who Ponder fashion, I will end this with love and with excitement for new opportunities to step into myself.

Bye guys!

Photo by Thought Catalog on Unsplash

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