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The Beauty of Authenticity

Posted on November 07, 2015 by Amanda Brown | 1 comment

Authenticity.

Today, perhaps more than any other time in history, we have the opportunity to shape, edit, and refine the image of ourselves that is portrayed to those around us. We are able to post our thoughts, photos, and witty jokes on any number of social media forums, at any moment in time. We are able to virtually “connect” with those we know, and with complete strangers around the globe, on a daily basis. While there are undeniable blessings that come from these technological advances; there are simultaneously more ways than ever for us to control who others think we are.

It is easier than ever to hide behind a façade of who we want others to think we are; or simply for us to make judgments about others’ “perfect” lives based on what we see online. As so I sit here and reflect on the summer of 2015, I am struck by the beauty of deep, authentic friendships.

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From the time I knew what nail polish was, my toenails hailed the beginning of summer. Orange toes atop a set of flip flops, were my statement that summer had arrived. Red nail polish was too flashy or perhaps too sultry, and pink was just too girly, but orange - orange was sunshine, and sunsets, and long days, and long nights, and beach days, and swimming pools; orange was summer, it was different, and it was happy. So in the summer, my toenails were orange.

                        Orange Toes   Dream Journal and Orange Nail Polish
I had the opportunity to catch up with one of my best childhood friends on a trip to LA this summer. We met on the first day of kindergarten, and for the past 22+ years, our friendship has only grown in strength, and love, and beauty. It is undeniably authentic. And it’s the type of friendship where she shows up on your doorstep, after a long drive to see you, with orange nail polish, just because it’s summer, and so your toenails should be orange.

                           School girls

When someone has been your friend for literally decades, they know a lot about you. They know your gifts, your flaws, your go-to stories, and they definitely have some embarrassing memories of you (like those times you tried to make grown up statements and fell far short, and that season that you had the awful haircut).  A friendship of over 20 years knows the “you” before there was an online identity. The beauty of these friendships, is that it is with these people you can be real. You are sure that although they know all your shortcomings, they love you anyway. The beauty of these friendships is that there is no façade; there is a recognition that we are imperfect human beings, but that our lives, gifts, and adventures are worth celebrating. The beauty of these friendships is that they are genuine; these are the girls that will call you out on a bad idea, or an inauthentic decision, but they will also encourage you to chase after your dreams fearlessly- and while wearing orange nail polish.

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These friendship are rooted in something far deeper than my job, or my husband’s job (which many find far more interesting than mine); they are less concerned with the places I’ve lived, or the current cleanliness of my house. They know that these things do not define me. I am not a composite of my Facebook profile: birthday; job; current city; former city; spouse; likes; dislikes; inspirational quotes; pictures I choose to share (because let’s be honest, they’ve passed my “I look okay and interesting” test. The previous photo in the checked vest, would likely not meet this criteria ;) ) 

Kids Diving

 

I don’t know what else to call this friendship except deeply authentic, because it’s the kind that skips the small talk and dives straight into the deep end. The friendship that speaks the loudest in the quietest moments, the kind that joyfully celebrates each other’s gifts, and that sits beside one another, staring out at the sea, in the darkest of times.

 

In deeply authentic friendships, we get to see the “heartbook.” The people, passions, and purpose for which our hearts beat. These friendships know the “Facebook”, but care far more about the “heartbook.”

As women, many people pass through our lives, but not too many stay for the long haul. Those few people that seek to genuinely know you- all of you; those people that quickly see past the façade we put up that “everything is fine,” because society tells us we should have it all together; those people that skip the shallow talk and dive straight into the ocean beyond the waves- the conversations about the nitty gritty of life, about the real dreams we have for our future, and about how we are going to get there; the people that show up with brownies (and maybe Kahlua) after a truly horrible day; and the people that you laugh with endlessly over something no one else would find funny. These people, whether they’ve been in your life 22 years, or 2 months, these people, and these friendships, are beautiful. These people have reached your heart; and there, we find our own beauty.

 

                            Adults Friends

I firmly believe that we were never made to walk through this life alone. And so at the risk of sounding cliché, I think we need to celebrate the beauty of authenticity, of deeply authentic friendship, and of those people that see into our “heartbook”. The beauty of women coming together to support one another, to cheer each other on, and to jump together into the deep end together- wearing orange nail polish.

xo, Amanda

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Comments

  • Peggy

    I have always loved orange, also! Maybe that was our connection!!!
    Good luck on Saturday! Wish I could be there. I miss you sweet girl!
    Xoxo,
    Peggy

 

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