I was at Small Bar in Normal Heights (I think it's in Normal Heights, the longer I spend away from greater SD the hazier it all is to me) celebrating Antony's successful completion of his doctorate and talking to Casey. (That is a long, long sentence. I don't advocated sentences of that length in principle, but I'm going to let it slide). We spent a decent chunk of time talking about what we were reading and for a brief moment it skewed to the topic of identity.
I've spent the better part of the last decade being advised to "be myself" and having absolutely no idea what that means. I've been prolific at acting like other people, genres, cultures but when it came down to who I was, I was in the dark. Cue my 30th birthday and I'm realizing more and more that to a certain extent I've arrived. Arrived at a fairly concrete feeling of who I am. What's funny is I don't know if I could describe that person if you asked me. For the first time, though, I am acutely aware of when I'm acting like myself or the opposite for that matter. There's a place of confidence and comfort that I'm much more aware of than I was before. I still break away from that place and I can still fairly easily into the trap of being who I think people want me to be. But now when that happens it's much more uncomfortable that it used to be. In the past these moments felt like escapes. Now it just feels inauthentic.
I saw Scott Pilgrim last night for the second time and realized that one of the reasons I like this movie so much is that, at the end, it's about coming to a point when you are fighting for yourself. Not to be liked by others, not to be successful in relationships, not to accomplish anything in particular, but to fight to be true to what you value, what is important to me. I'm still amazed that they pulled that off in a movie where at one point a digitized yeti fights twin dragons in a battle of the bands. (I'm amazed because the whole scene is stinking amazing, but that's neither here nor there).
The great thing about all this is that you end up in a very real set of genuine relationships that are meaningful because you realize that you're engaging with the people who truly know you and who like you for who you are. That's incredible because I'm starting to lose that fear of people figuring out who I am and bailing. If I'm just myself from the beginning and they stick around those people are either truly my friends or just very unaware. That second option seems much more unlikely the older I get.
All this has happened when God has kind of thrown me into a season of learning to receive and accept his complete and unconditional love. To realize that He was the first to love me where I was at and the one who loves me better in that place than anyone else. So I'm trying to continue down this road of authenticity, doing what God leads me to do, being ok with not doing what he doesn't lead me to do, and being completely ok with people not liking what I do/who I am as long as those choices and that personality is true to me.
The scary thing is I'm starting to feel like an adult, which is something I've avoided for quite sometime and seems to be much more "real" than I expected. But hey, anything good in life is probably going to be scary, so I'm pretty amped to see what this decade holds.