Permission to be authentic

I hope this is an honest space. I’ve spent too much of my life being dishonest about how I’m doing, and have no more patience for it. It’s exhausting. It’s hindering for growth.

I think there are fewer greater gifts we can give each other besides giving one other permission to be authentic; maybe this space is a little gift to myself, an act of self care.

I realize it’s a huge risk, being vulnerable where anyone could see it, critique it, love it, hate it, ignore it.

And maybe it’s just something about being awake early in the morning and realizing that I really am an ocean away from my friends and family. But I’m revisiting a lot of questions today.

What do you do when the heavy weights of anxiety and insecurity feel especially burdensome? Where do you go when the problem isn’t your enviornment but something in your being, when your Christian joy feels absent? When you just feel lonely?

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Yesterday morning I walked over to The Canvas, a coffee shop and community art center on the corner of Hanbury and Brick Lane. And it was so nice sitting by the window, watching people going about their lives, and reading about the new East End culture, the history of how this place came to be a mash-up of aspiring yuppies, a working white middle class, and Bangladeshis.

Every wall in the café has a different question printed on it and handwritten answers covering the space beneath it. I wrote a few things on the wall in grey marker, about things that are important to me, like Mumford & Sons’ Sigh No More album and Marcus Zusak’s The Book Thief.

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And reading the answers of people that had come here before me made my heart swell up a little bit with a kind of solidarity with strangers who have left a permanet evidence of their existence. Basically, it was a whole room full of tangible “This is the place where I…”

Here in London, British people say, “Are you alright?” in an informal greeting sort of way, much like we use “How are you?” in the States. In a way that isn’t actually looking for answer. Really though, are you actually alright?

I’m never quite sure how to end these posts, because this is a conversation that I’m still having, one without answers or concrete conclusions. Friends, let’s try to give each other permission to be authentic.


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