Authenticity is walking into an empty room and seeing everything that is there, that isn’t there, that could be there. It is the passage through which knowledge, thoughts and experiences are broadened and spread. Authenticity is never empty; even when it appears so – it is being open minded, inclusive, spirited, true, accessible, visible... It is learning and unlearning these four simple steps.
Step 1: Throw everything in – take your heart and add to it; scoop what comes naturally to you, what doesn’t. Add what you’ve been taught, what you discovered yourself, what you are not sure of. Shake your reality, imagination, desires, dreams, fears and throw it in. What has been distorted, neglected, forgotten? Include that too. What is trending, what should be trending? Mix it all up; do you like what you see?
Step 2: Throw everything out – you are trying to be authentic. Don’t be lazy, don’t use the old recipe. But, why not? Why? I don’t know, if there is a recipe, doesn’t it mean that anyone else could replicate exactly what you’ve done? How authentic is that? Isn't authenticity creating something new, something fresh, reinventing Jollof? Just throw out the old, not so?
Step 3: Question time! Who are you? What reaches your heart faster and moves it quicker than any other thing? Have you learnt to hold your voice; to love it fiercely so it always returns to you? Do you know how to sit with your imagination and have an honest conversation with it? Can you face your realities without shrinking? Do you communicate to connect the best way you can?
Step 4: Sorry, there is no step four. In fact, there is no step one, two or three. Authenticity is something that holds and transcends everything you know. It begins by recognizing that you are important; your voice is important, your successes count, your failures are relevant, your comfort, pain, dreams— everything you are is valid. Your authenticity is your very existence; so now, how do you choose to live? Be authentic; dazzle, dazzle, dazzle, or don't; but breathe easy.