Sunday, July 3, 2011

Sunday Confession: Struggling with Authenticity

There are many things I have wanted to say here, but haven't. I'm facing a struggle with authenticity. Sometimes I want to write what pops into my head. But I restrain myself. I hold back. I'm constantly censoring myself.

I worry of what people will think of me. Worried that people will judge me. I frankly look up to people who can be so open on their blogs and just be so naturally authentic.

So I'm drawing a line, right here and now. If you are on this blog, you are mine. I can't be worried about appealing to your sense of "decency," or "appropriateness." I'm going to be authentic with myself, my writing, and what interests me. It's not going to happen in one day, but it's a goal I'm working towards. "Old habits" as they say...

Part of it is my background. I have a lot of friends and family who are conservative/religious and I know they might stumble upon here at any minute and question my use of the word "damn" or my choice of portmanteau with the word "Braingasm." But more importantly I'm concerned that they will see "clues" as to my current lack of church-going and look down on me for it.

I have a very religious (mormon) background, but am myself not very religious. In fact, I'm not religious at all anymore. I don't believe in any form of deity. That's who I am, and I can't pretend to hide it anymore. I don't know why I'm bringing religion into this. . .

Oh wait.

Yes I do.

I'm talking about authenticity here and my former religion was a huge part of my life. I respect those who believe in some form of religion or another that makes them happy. But, gradually, over time, and as I grew into adulthood, I discovered that my perspective of the universe had little in common with Mormonism.

But it's still there, you know? Nothing that takes up a huge part of your life can leave without leaving some kind of mark. I went to BYU for crying out loud.

So I guess what I'm trying to say is that this blog isn't really for friends and family who expect me to fit a sort of mold. It's for fellow writers, authors, book lovers, neurotic scribblers, and others who are constantly defining and redefining who they are through the written word... but most of all, it's for me too. (Altruism be damned!)

While I plan on giving semi-professional book reviews on this blog, I don't want to restrain myself when it comes to my pondering about writing, what pissed me off today, or what truly inspires me (and it ain't the bible).

I will keep updating my family blog at Unwritten Odyssey, and plan on keeping it nice and clean, and family related. However here, I'm going to be a little more honest. Well a lot more honest. (But perhaps not completely honest. :D) About a lot of things. Including what I'm thinking, and the fact that I no longer consider myself mormon. (Though I still have little mormon quirks about me: like my affinity for Princess Bride and funeral potatoes.)

Sharing that I am not religious here has been a huge confession for me. Like a burden off my chest. But I want to be clear that this isn't going to be a blog centered on religion, it isn't. I think this post is a step in the right direction in terms of becoming more authentic. I hope that by publicly sharing something as difficult as this, I'll be moving in the direction I want with authenticity and with what I post here. I also like to see this as a potential disclaimer for people who think I'm still an active mormon.

If you don't like what I'm trying to achieve with authenticity here, I'm sorry for you.

Now, to lighten the mood, I'm sharing a comic strip of a true story that happened to me at a library conference:


  1. I'm thinking you were pretty authentic here. That's a good thing;)

  2. Thank you so much Laney! That means a lot to me. It really does. :)

  3. So damn beautiful. <3

    And completely and utterly authentic.

  4. You may want to check out a series of lectures called "No Excuses: Existentialism and the Meaning of Life".

    As a de-converted baptist, I always find potentially similar experiences of others interesting.

  5. This is pretty awesome. Seriously. The fact that you can put yourself out there and just be so honest about who you are is absolutely amazing and scary as hell. I've never been this honest and don't even think I could be. I'm impressed! Round of applause!

  6. Becky - Thank you so much. So sweet of you to say so.

    Nihilism- Thank you so much! I am really looking forward to checking out the link. I'm sure it will be interesting. Growing out of one's religion is such a life altering change that unless someone experiences it, it would be hard to describe.

    Anne- It is scary. And I think you could! You have it in you. I didn't think I could ever just 'put it out there' like this.

  7. To stop worrying what people think about it you is a big step, whether in your personal life or when writing. I still love funeral potatoes too. Nice to see a writer come out of their shell and tell the world "this is me, deal with it.

    Authenticity is what makes a good writer.

  8. B_Baker - I think it's a huge step as well. But I would be lying if I said I wasn't a little worried about what people think. :) I'm getting better though.

    Glad to see another funeral potato fan. haha :D

  9. I came across this post through G+, but I have to say that I totally agree with you.  You shouldn't have to feel like you need to censor your life to fit what other people selfishly expect of you - your life isn't about them or their own thoughts or beliefs - it's yours.  So, if they cannot deal with who you are and what you believe, they probably aren't worth your time anymore.

    Good for you for posting this :)


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