Flawed but authentic. That was the title of the chapter I was reading in Lisa Bevere’s book, “Fight Like a Girl: The Power of Being a Woman.” I reread the words: flawed but authentic. My heart fluttered a little and I knew I was on to something: the foundation of my blog.
Before now, I had started – and ended – a handful of blogs. I’d been blogging since before “blog” was a term. They had all been fun and, mostly, well received, but something had been missing. I had this undeniable tug. I had something to say. I wanted it out there – but none of it was fulfilling me.
Eventually, I realized my issues. My first and greatest mistake was that my thinking revolved around me. Note that I didn’t say the blogs revolved around me. I said my thinking revolved around me. My focus was on what I was getting from the blog – what I wanted/needed/felt. I was writing for me. And that’s what my peers told me to do. “Write for yourself. Write because it’s what you want to do, Tuesday. You can’t write for anyone else.”
But I SO disagree. At least in this case. When I stopped thinking of me and started thinking of others, I understood what I needed to produce on-screen. So no, this blog is not entirely for my benefit, though it may be about me. It’s primary purpose is to help others see the beauty in truth…but we’ll get to that.
My other failing? Every blog I created focused on portraying someone I wasn’t. Most of my writing depicted someone I wanted to be – an idealized version of me – which changed often over time. There was Party Girl Me…Cosmopolitan, Jet-setter Me…Beauty and Fashion Guru Me… Suburban Homemaker Me…the list went on. Granted, all those characters made up some small part of me: I did spend my twenties on the club circuit, ran off to Los Angeles and traveled the country, became a go-to girl for fashion advice, and later owned a home in suburbia that I loved. But none of those characters was authentically me. Instead, they were all a distorted image of a small part of me. For some reason though, I thought if I could present these flawless caricatures of myself, somehow, perhaps by osmosis, I’d become them. How delusional! Yet this is what I see and hear from women every day, particularly on social media. Social media is full of these caricatures. They are creations of someone’s imagination that pass as reality. And, in our minds we believe they are reality and that we can somehow aspire to become these distortions. But all things that seem real are not true. Wisdom comes in knowing the difference.
I love a good fashion magazine. One of my favorite guilty pleasures is sitting down with the latest issue of Vogue and a bowl of popcorn. The styled photos and runway reports do something for me. For a couple of hours I indulge in the fashion fantasy that is Vogue magazine. But never – not for one moment – do I think I am looking at a book of truth. Makeup, hair extensions, lighting, staging, cosmetic surgery, chemical services, Photoshop (oh you devil, Photoshop!)…all to bring you a “reality” slightly less than a fantastic dream. Sure the models, actresses, and socialites are real. They exist. The presentation though…it’s not entirely truthful. And next month, the reality will alter to present you with a new batch of goods to buy. I hear all the time how media is destroying the self-image of young women. Well, if you’re buying into the lie that they are presenting you with a truthful reality, then duh! It’s the antithesis of truth! Let me be clear: I am not in the camp that believes we need to have “realistic” media. I enjoy the fantastical reality that my fashion magazines present me every month. The break from the truth of life is delightful…much like reading a good fiction book. Instead, let’s teach our young women not to hate the reality they see in media, per se, – but to be wise enough to know the difference between what they see and who they are!
I realized what I was craving…what I think many women are craving…was authenticity. It takes the pressure off being perfect or being something/someone we are not. Instead we can aspire to that which we can actually become. Authenticity means you don’t have to live like a mini-Martha Stewart. All things do not have to be right to be truthful. There’s freedom in that. No longer do you have to chain yourself to the deception of perfection. You can be yourself and still be wonderful! Authenticity requires only that you be exactly who you are. Nothing more. Nothing less. Aspiring to authenticity as opposed to aspiring to be like Oprah or Hillary or the latest fashion model is that you can only end up being you! No, you won’t look like Beyoncé or Kate Moss or Halle Berry. You won’t become Marissa Mayer or the PTA Mom down the street who effortlessly balances work, home, and motherhood. But you may turn out to be the beautifully disheveled fashionista on the block who doesn’t have a clean front yard but does always have store-bought cookie dough, can spice up your girls night out, and has perfectly random words of wisdom.
That’s authenticity. That’s truth. And that’s From Tuesday, With Love. I aspire to present you with – not a snapshot of a photo-filtered reality – but an authentic look into my life. I’m not doing it so I can say, “Hey, look at me!” as I likely would have done in the past. I’m doing it so that maybe some other 30-something woman will find inspiration to just be who she was created to be…to do what her heart is calling her to do…to stand, proudly, in her flawed authenticity.