Addicted to Authenticity

In this world we look for authenticity. We crave it. When I look at instagram I see millions of people claiming #nofilter #Iwokeuplikethis, when I read their bio’s I see words proclaiming that this will be the realest profile on the internet. When I watch my favorite food documentaries I hear the word “authentic’ uttered many many times.

In this world of uncertainties we search for an anchor, for truth. In order to function we have to assume that some things just ‘are’, living a nihilistic lifestyle is not profitable. Yet, I still believe that, as the social creature that we are, we need a bit more realness. Our days are filled with lies, interpretations and just noise that makes it hard for us to assume what’s legit. Let’s face it, at some point you don’t want to just assume, that is a vulnerable position to be in.

I personally struggle with this. I am used to getting my ‘authentication’ from people outside myself. I am hyper aware that everyone has their own reference point and that my blue is not your blue (so to speak). You’d think that that would be a smart strategy: cross reference with your peers. The goal was to strengthen my words and assumptions, but without knowing I have manoeuvred myself in the most vulnerable position I have ever been in. My need for authenticity had led to a never ending cycle of self doubt.

I feel more confident when I write, since that is just me, no external factors that can agree or disagree (until you read this of course, but at the moment of writing it is just me, making sense of my thoughts). An unfiltered thought process, presented to you in the shape of a blog.

I love polaroids, from pressing the button to excitingly waiting for the picture to print. There is a true charm to the shittiness of the quality. I love their ‘realness’

I think ‘authentic’ is a trendy term. It is something we concern ourselves with way too much. My best example stems from the world of food, chefs, and those who enjoy the afore mentioned. Let me set the scene a little, at least how I remember it:

A group of people, are gathered in a room. We have the age old discussion: what kind of food should we order? We bicker, we vote, we come to an agreement. I want to say it was italian food. One rebel speaks up: “No, I only eat Italian food in Italy, because then I can experience the real authentic flavours”. Which is funny because, according to some very prominent food critics, the best napolitalian pizza is made in Japan. For some reason this person denied herself the delight of pasta, because she found the ‘value’ of authenticity outweigh her (maybe?) craving for italian food.

Authenticity, to me, means that people perceive that there is a real way to experience things and a ‘less’ real way. Which is completely bonkers if you ask me. My mom can make a great plate of pasta for me from a Jamie Oliver recipe: A dutch woman, cooking an italian recipe, that is written by a british guy. Yet still, I can see it upholding that ‘authentic’ italian “pasta like my mama made me”  vibe in this story. So what value does it then actually hold?

My point is this: there is no better or realer way to experience things and I think the reason why we become so addicted to the trend of authenticity is because (yes there comes the social media cliché) in our world of cyber make believe and presenting your best perceived self, we might feel deprived of truths or feel like we can increase our social capital by claiming we know what truths are. I mean I am experiencing this #authentic life, so that must mean I know what I am talking about, right?

Everyone’s experience is valid, authenticity is an empty claim to truth. My tip to anyone who wants to hear it, but mostly my tip to myself: just experience. There is no right or wrong way.

Anyways, take it easy and talk to you soon!

J.

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