Authenticity 1. The quality or condition of being authentic, trustworthy, or genuine.

Ooo boy was this ever a toughy for me.  I first had to understand that my whole life was built on lies, half truths, and fear.  My counselor held the mirror while I looked at my past.  I didn’t remember any of it to begin with.  My counselor tread very carefully to avoid planting false memories instead of allowing my mind to awake on its own with a bit of gentle persuasion.  I resisted with hostility that my childhood was not the zoo and park visits of my fantasy.  As I accepted the truth of my life, I understood that I was a chameleon.  I changed to be whatever any authority expected me to be.  I was one way around my teachers, another way around my mother, and yet another way around my friends.  I was deeply offended when my counselor asked which one was real.  I was furious, to me, they were all real.  However, I knew nothing of authentic, trustworthy or genuine.  I thought I was genuine but once you choose lies no matter how much truth you pile on top those basic lies soured the rest.  Telling my authentic story was one ugly counseling session after another.  Years of dissociation crusted over truths that seemed unbearable at times.  I doggedly continued my counseling.  I half joked that the counseling room was my personal torture chamber.  My counselor was always kind and supportive.  He created a safe place to face my demons.  The ugliness from my past touched every part of my life.  If I had an infected wound, a medical doctor would clean out the infection.  I had an infected soul and my psychology doctor helped me cleanse my mind and heart to give me a chance at an authentic life.  He also taught me skills that were missing from a childhood that I spent my energy figuring out how to make it through one more day in mostly one piece.  I had a clue before counseling when my teenage children challenged me about lying all the time.  I was bewildered by their accusations.  They pointed out that I could be ready to keel over at any minute and someone would ask me how I was and I answered, fine.  I felt nobody wanted to hear my troubles so I lied.  Just like I lied about knowing my childhood.  If I was asked, I glibly replied, “It was great we went to the park, we went to the zoo, it was a great childhood.”  The lie rolled off my tongue with years of practice.  I knew in high school that something was wrong when I couldn’t remember anything before junior high.  I thought people remembering the childhood was just amazing.  I didn’t grasp that I was the one with the problem.  I faced the truth, my mother was not capable of loving me.  She expected me to hungry so my brother could have seconds.  She would smile just before saying something particularly cruel.  It wasn’t an accident, she anticipated my pain.  She lied to me at every turn.  She expected me to lie for her comfort.  She told me what to feel.  The neighbor took over where my mother left off.  My pain was his pleasure.  He was an emotional vampire that fed off my fear.  He terrorized me.  How long? I don’t know.  Long enough for me to lose all sense of fearing death.  I figured he could only kill me once.  Everything else he could do again and again.  Looking at my life authentically was brutal yet so needed.  I needed, and I mean needed, to accept what happened so I could choose authentic because I now know what it is.  I strive every day to face my challenges authentically.  I attempt everyday to be WYSWYG… speak for What You See is What You Get.  I’m still tempted to throw out the occasional fine when an actual explanation could be tricky.  Now I know about FINE from the Italian job….Freaked out, Insecure, Neurotic, Emotional….yup I can honestly answer, “I’m FINE!”

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