Fear Of Authenticity? Who would I be if I allowed myself to actually be everything I want to be? What if I stopped putting up barriers and allowed myself to leap higher, summit the mountain, show up in all my sparkling glory? What would it look like if I showed up exactly how I say I wish to show up? What if I not only wrote about completely accepting myself but believed it in my cells and radiated it? What could happen if I showed up every day as Erin Infantino, the woman I was born to be? Imagine if I showed up consistently speaking, acting and shining as the woman who was born with natural charisma and an inner glow that could blind an audience. If I let all of myself be fully apparent to the world it would be more power than I’d know what to do with. My whole self would be so full and radiant that the world would want more and more and I’d cave under the pressure eventually. I’d fail and then feel humiliated and ashamed and the world would call me out on all my faults and imperfections like it did times before.
Remember that time when I was the new kid at school? I was new and no one knew a thing about me. First, they were curious and then they embraced me and I felt so on top of the world for being accepted. I felt like I was being accepted for just showing up. Then came the crash. They ended up seeing something in me that was unworthy, and they all turned against me. They made fun of me, bullied me, crank-called me, threatened me. I shrunk so small and apologized for being too “big” even though I had no idea what I had done wrong. I hid away and cried.I would be sick to my stomach mornings before school began. Or remember that other time before that when I was in lower grade school and was always wanting to laugh and have fun and just be the silly heart I was born as, but the nuns and some other parents shamed me for being too spirited. I saw and heard their disapproval and learned to blend in more. It wasn’t safe being me so I had to dim my light so as not to shine too brightly in their faces because evidently, there was shame in that. I had no right to be who I was naturally. Or remember long before all of that when I was a little 4 year old girl who skipped everywhere and woke up singing every single morning because I had a song in my heart? Remember how she radiated and let herself be truly her and then someone dangerous took notice and stole that radiance away from her? Remember how he stole her innocence in the most violating way and that began a life long journey of questioning what was and was not safe or what was or was not authentic?
By the time I was 10 I learned that if I showed up big and all there and totally and completely me, people would eventually see through the cracks. I learned there’s someone waiting there to tear me down and see to it that I don’t shine. If I were 100% me, that’s A LOT of power and there’s danger in that. There would be the other shoe to drop and how far would that shoe fall this time? Could I withstand that fall and ever feel safe again to be me? I don’t know if I can stand that pain again. I don’t know if I have it in me to keep up with the expectations of being “perfect”. I used to feel so conflicted on how to show up. To get my dad’s attention I felt I had to look perfect; my hair and makeup looking perfect, my clothing fashionable and to look like the women in the magazines he would have strewn about his new bachelor pad. I also had to make sure I didn’t go too overboard with looking perfect because it may catch the attention of someone dangerous again. I had to walk a tightrope, a balance of looking and acting “just so” for my so-called friends to accept me as looking cool, but not in a way where I was trying too hard and not look cooler than them to make them feel jealous and start to rip me apart. That’s anxiety walking and breathing. Trying to find that unrealistic balance – it simply doesn’t exist. I spent more than half of my life trying to please others and trying to fit into other people’s molds and then swing to the other side of rebellion in an attempt to free myself from the cage I had been pushed into. From fathers to teachers to friends to boyfriends to careers; I learned to fear success and fear authenticity. I’ve always been “The Helper” which is a common role to take on when you’ve gone through certain personal traumas, witnessed your mother go through an abusive first marriage and vied for the approval of a narcissistic father. I learned to give my best to everyone else but not to the most important person: me. There were times I wanted to scream and run and let it all out and be free and then there would be some invisible force there to pull me back just enough to not risk it. Showing up and being truly 100% Erin is dangerous. It’s scared me. For decades I wasn’t sure how to be me. At times I would get up enough nerve to be me and begin going for dreams and then something inside me would quake and I’d self-sabotage and return to hiding in my safety zone.
If I Did Show Up Unapologetically Me, How Would It Look?
I would wake up each morning with gratitude in my heart and a fire in my belly. I would journal and meditate for 20 minutes and open up my heart to let in all the power the universe has to offer. I would exercise for 30 minutes and have my healthy breakfast that fuels my body in a way it needs. I wouldn’t begin any work until I had done something to fill my tank before I moved into mommy mode and then onto business woman mode.
I would have a calm mind, confident in who I am and where I’m from and be in love with and accepting of it all, the light and darkness. The dark times and how we react to and recover from are very defining moments, after all. Its how I became a phoenix risen. I would have a lightness in my heart where an anvil was once firmly placed. I wouldn’t wake up most days with anxiety coursing through me because anxiety is rooted in fear and I’d be too filled with love, Love is the opposite of fear, not bravery. I’d be at peace with all of my parts. I’d be focusing my energy in each area I’m presently in instead of scattering my efforts all over the place and making little progress in any area due to diluting myself and my attention. I’d be able to compartmentalize much better because I would know my priorities and that it’s healthy to put my needs first. I’d know to give to myself each day, so I’d have an overflowing cup from which to give to others; most especially to my little girl and husband. I’d attract all my ideal clients because I’d be showing up as my most authentic self who is full of resilience and strength and compassion. And since like attracts like, I’d be filling my life with other amazing people.
It’s taken many years for me to arrive to this mental space. I’ve more often chosen the road less traveled. I’m certain I chose this life here on earth to be full of challenges so that I could grow and help others through my lessons. My lessons aren’t done. None of our lessons are done until we leave this earth. Some say that even after we leave this earth we have new lessons to choose. I encourage you to lean into discomfort and do the hard work that makes you feel like you’re crawling out of your skin. Once you crawl enough and shed your old skin you can then take place at your new table of life and man, what a feast it is. That’s when life really begins.