If we must make one Resolution This Year, Let it be this…
“There is nothing more beautiful than seeing a person being themselves. Imagine going through your day being unapologetically you.” – Steve Maraboli
The modern woman lends herself flawlessly to being an enigma. Many of us freshly exonerated from a male way of life and thinking still struggle to fully embrace and balance the immensity of the roles are we are now able to fill. At no other time in history have we had at our fingertips the options to be whoever and whatever we want to be. And here in lies the problem. With this freedom has not only come responsibility but a set of constantly evolving rules and regulations. Sure you’re allowed to work, be a glass ceiling breaking career woman if you want to, but don’t let the wife/mother in you die. Of course your body is your own, flaunt it, cover it up and nip and tuck it if that what makes you happy, but how you truly feel in it will always be dictated by the latest fads and whether or not curves are sexy this season. Ultimately variety in this sense becomes the spice and bane of our existence. But where and when does your true self come through. When do you choose to be you? Really. Who are you?
We’re half way through January and a lot of our resolutions probably look like this, “Go to the gym, eat better, be nicer, travel more, apply for that promotion you’re so sure you deserve, do better in school, etc.” Congratulations, that’s a really nice list. Sadly a large number of these fall through mid March (and even that’s a stretch), and it’s not because we’re lazy or lack focus and conviction but simply because they fail to represent something they should have been based on from the very beginning, our authentic selves. In the book The Gift of Imperfection, Brene Brown describes authenticity as being a “…collection of choices that we have to make every day. Authenticity is about showing up and being true”. It is a conscious choice to be honest to and about you, not only to yourself but to others as well. It is a choice to let our true-self be seen.
From personal experience, I can affirm that a lot of the conflict in my life has been a direct result of not living in alignment with my authentic self, going with the grain and otherwise filling predetermined roles that were completely out of the realm of my PERSONAL choosing and understanding. I have often apologized when I was not in the wrong, kept my mouth closed when opinion or at the very least expression was warranted and tortured myself at the gym because someone out there has a problem with the fact that I sometimes squeeze (with tremendous effort from both my husband and I) my obnoxiously large behind in skinny jeans from time to time. Each and every time the conscious decision to betray my truest desires hurt, caused me anxiety, made me depressed, borderline drove me into an eating disorder and fuelled a lot of unnecessary resentment. How many things do you do, say, wear (or not) on a daily basis that take away from your authentic self?
Let us consider for a moment that maybe, just maybe that even in a world where we are allowed to fill as many roles we choose, that our worth, our beauty and our true selves aren’t founded solely on the ideals that we can be every woman, the media or the opinions of those we hold dear and even that random guy/girl over there. Maybe our sparkle, the true essence of who we are resonates from somewhere deeper, somewhere so pure and so authentic and REAL, we don’t need to fit or break moulds, fill roles and tack labels on ourselves to shine. I believe that if we must make resolutions this year let them be a commitment to embracing our authentic selves, let us:
- Be more concerned with our truth than other people’s opinions – I weigh 145lbs (approx 60kg) and my stomach isn’t tight, am I fat? No.
- Be sincere and not pretend– Yes this even means saying what you mean even if someone may not agree. You’re a straight talker? Be it, unapologetically so, the ones who cannot handle your truth are rarely going to make an impact or have any significance in your life anyway.
- Be free from hypocrisy – Walk your talk.
- Know who you are and to be that person – All day, every day. Do not waiver or compromise because you make people around you feel insecure. Your strengths, success, beauty etc. is not the absence of their own.
- Do not fear others seeing your vulnerabilities – The truth is we are not superwomen, we are human and we bleed, once a month even though we really don’t want to. If people cannot handle you at your Amanda Bynes/Kelly Khumalo they don’t deserve you at your Beyoncé.
- Being confident to walk away from situations where you can’t be yourself – There is nothing more painful that filtering yourself for the comfort of others. Surround yourself with people that are unafraid of being open with you and aren’t offended when you’re open with them. Life is too short for limited liability relationships.
- Be awake to your own feelings – We live in a world where doing something as normal as feeling (aka being an actual human) is seen as a bad thing. Be aware of your feelings when you feel them, embrace them and keep it moving, you’re human.
- Being free from others’ opinions of you – No one defines you but YOU. You are not mean because you choose not to sugar coat what comes out of your mouth, you are not fat because you’re not a size zero and you are definitely not a failure because of someone else’s success.
- Accepting and loving yourself – Yes even at your Amanda Bynes/Kelly Khumalo. Out of that cocoon a Beyoncé will rise.
This year let us ditch resolutions that do not appeal to or further develop our authentic selves. Let us be advocates for true authenticity, honesty and a deep sense of who we really are. What would you do if for the next 24 hours you could act, speak, dress, eat and do as you please? No judgement, no shaming, no bewildered glares. Sounds amazing right? Now imagine living that unapologetically every day.
Makwete Barco is an Artist, Curator, Illustrator, Arts Administrator and Project Manager. She was born and raised in a town called Benoni which is situated on the east of Johannesburg in South Afric and now lives and works in Rochester, New York.
She attended the University of Pretoria where she attained her Bachelors Degree in Graphic and Fine Arts. Not only was she a memeber of The Golden Key Society at the University of Pretoria, she also attained numerous awards, scholarships and bursaries.
Makwete is a woman of greatness because she does not only strive for constant self- empowerment. In her spare time she immerses herself in volunteer work to try and empowers others with her talent and treasure .