Two Hundred Twenty Seven: Authenticity

“We have to dare to be ourselves, however frightening or strange that self may prove to be.” – May Sarton

Saturday, August 16th

I have a friend who carried out a Year of Authenticity. She started to speak up for herself and shared her true feelings even at the cost of impacting/losing friendships. She has held onto that authenticity, but sometimes I question if I need to strive to be authentic all the time.

Saturday marked the day that extended family would gather to celebrate my daughter’s birthday. Usually we celebrate her birthday on the Saturday and mine on the Sunday so that out-of-towners can attend both days. A couple of weeks before the party day my sister-in-law sent out a family-wide email explaining that she’d be attending a wedding on Sunday and couldn’t attend a Sunday celebration. She’d be staying with my mother-in-law until noontime Sunday so it shut down the chance of celebrating with family altogether. My SIL didn’t really understand why we just wouldn’t celebrate our birthdays on the same day. Says the childless woman who already got her day of full-on family worship earlier on this year for her own 40th birthday.

I’m sensitive about this, if you gathered that already. I wanted some dazzle and above-and-beyond treatment for my 40th birthday. I earned it. I’ve been an active member of this family for more than 10 years, and when others have a milestone birthday I’ve tried to create something that really celebrates that person. If SIL was going to a wedding, she certainly knew this months ago.

What it comes down to though is what would I gain by making an issue about this? I wouldn’t be changing her mind about attending the wedding, and even if I did then she would be at a party begrudgingly. So I asked family if we could just focus on my daughter that weekend and have another celebration later on for me. SIL and her husband wouldn’t be there, but that’s just how it goes. I felt miffed about this for a while, but that dissolved and I’m okay with things now.

Do you have to be authentic all the time?



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