Authenticity, but at what cost?

Updated: Jan 28

Is it me or did this year feel like we stumbled into it? You didn’t collect $200.00, you didn’t pass go you simply were like “oh, here we are – I guess we are doing this? Cool” and somehow 22’is now the date we see when we look at the time on our phones or Apple watches, and laptops. Listen that is my exact sentiment. And of course, with the new year, comes the same monotonous diatribe of “New year, new me”, “ Gym life” “Dry January” and all of the new year’s nuances. Now, do not get me wrong -- I am entirely here for self-accountability (or however we dress this up to feel like this will be THE year), but at what point are we doing ourselves a disservice by starting the year with this mundane checklist? Who is it serving? Our true selves and subsequent needs, or are they feeding the fictional boxes created by society’s checklist of what “they say” we SHOULD be doing? (This is a safe space, sis – I’m just saying) Although I am forever subscribed to the idea of a checklist (or an obscene abundance of multi-colored sticky notes drowning my desk), 2022 seems to be breathing in a new light and forcing us to face our truest selves to truly evolve – and I’m here to unpack that assignment!

​Our millennial stratosphere is comprised of many trigger words. Some with warranted use, and some over-glorified and misused – and we simply don’t have enough time or word characters to discuss them all. But one word, in particular, that is forever a part of the discussion is AUTHENTICITY. You know, keeping it 100 * insert 100 emoji*, being relentlessly unapologetic in how we show up in the world. This is something I naturally subscribe to and my claim to fame as I navigate through this crazy life, but what is the cost of being unapologetically authentic? So many of us are obligated to consistently wear a multitude of hats simultaneously. We have to show up to our place of business, present online, occupy our personal lives all in different ways. Which subsequently can be exhausting—seeing as though each requires a different variation of ourselves. It may seem like a constant battle to show up as whichever instance is required at that time. The tussle between being feminine enough to stand In our womanhood, but “alpha” enough to be thoroughly respected and valued is something that seems to have many of us in a forever chokehold.


When does keeping it go wrong, or does it? The audacity to present as a headstrong woman of color, with goals, credentials to match and you have the nerve to be cute?! TUH. Humanity can’t take it, but whose issue is that? Something I’ve realized is that rather if I am showing up in the boardroom or the girl’s bathroom on a night out is that authenticity leads and connects me. It is the connecting dot to the next person, place, or opportunity that is aligned to me. My favorite part of showing up in the world as my God-given self is that I never forget who I am, I never have to turn IT on, I’m forever turned up – and that’s solely rooted in the creator and how he made me! Girl, it’s our gift! Why can’t two things be true? Why can’t I occupy multitudes of spaces and still be rooted in trueness professionally and privately?


In a world where Black women feel as though we constantly have to conform, simply showing up is more than half the battle. Does anyone else freak out when you change your hair and have to enter back into your office? Or are going on a date with someone new and practicing not “oversharing” or being too opinionated? *Circles option D ALL THE ABOVE* Choosing authenticity definitely can have its drawbacks, it’s not always an awakened cakewalk. It’s at times heavy. People who aren’t able to digest you can make you feel as if you’re too much and take up too much space, and need to “tone it down” – it’s the projections for me! I’m here to remind you, those aren’t your people. There was a time I wanted to silence myself and was quickly reminded my gifts require me to narrate, share and show up entirely. It was the universe wouldn’t even allow me to silence or shrink myself if I wanted to, my purpose said NAH, bigger. I challenge you to feed that part of you even when society or even unfortunately people closest to you say it’s too much, too loud or you’re too sure of yourself. Fix your posture, find your voice and never lose it. This year more than ever requires your most authentic you to soar to the greater good, so remember to always choose her.


Written by: Sierra Shepherd (@SieSpeaks)

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