Authentic: (ôˈTHen(t)ik) adjective

  1. of undisputed origin; genuine.
  2. having an origin supported by unquestionable evidence;authenticated; verified
  3. representing one’s true nature or beliefs; true to oneself or to the person identified
  4. entitled to acceptance or belief because of agreement with knownfacts or experience; reliable; trustworthy

“Be yourself, everyone else is already taken.” – Oscar Wilde

My birthday last week has since come and gone (and did not begin exactly how I had planned it would) but in the end it had me thinking “how do I want my 36th year on this  earth to be?” I want to do more of what makes me truly happy. Even if those things are silly, odd or not age appropriate. At the end of the day if they put a smile on my face then who cares what other people think? I want to look back on my life when I’m old and gray and say “I lived to the fullest! I have no regrets.” Usually birthdays don’t really bother me much, but this year turning a year older had me do a little bit of self searching. What makes me tick? What really drives me? Creatively, professionally and personally? What makes me, authentically me?

All my life I have been a people pleaser. When I was young, I strived to please my parents, get good grades, create an amazing art project and to simply see my parents smile and make them happy. It made me happy and I felt good to have them tell me I did well at something. But was I doing these activities and striving for goals for me? Or was it really for them or those around me? Some things, yes, of course they were for me, but other not so much. I was driven by seeing others happy. Just like I mentioned in one of my previous blog posts “Hello! I’m Cassandra”… I would make scrunchies and cards for everyone in my class because I didn’t want to leave anyone out…this is and was authentically me. But, there are times when I’m not true to myself.  It’s nice to be a people pleaser, but at the end of the day we only live one life. We, ourselves, ultimately need to be joyful in the life we create and live.

I struggle with this, especially in my marriage. There are a lot questions I should have asked before walking down the aisle. Like, where do you want to raise a family? Do you want to live anywhere else other than the Philadelphia area? Are you happy in your career? Do you want a career change? All these questions are plaguing my relationship as we speak.

I don’t regret marrying husband, but just like my mom said “marriage is HARD and constant work!” Marriage takes daily effort, and patience. There are times when I settle on a certain activities or places (concerts/restaurants) because I know it will make him happy. Not me. I think if I did this all the time, it would not be a very good way of coexisting with someone. But I don’t always settle. I do let my voice be heard… more so now than when we first got married.

It’s amazing to look back at those first two years (before our daughter was born) and see just how much I allowed him to take the lead; sometimes it was good and other times I just felt defeated like I was giving in. Growing up going to church every Sunday and in a home where my mom’s career was being a stay-at-home mom (I have a HUGE respect for stay-at-home parents – I don’t know if I could ever do it) and my dad was a business owner (General Contracting and building homes) I began to think this was the norm. The husband worked and mom ran the house. Boy, how my mind set has changed! And in a way, it changed BECAUSE I grew up this way. But I’ll get to that later… back to the point. I let my husband lead in the beginning, because I saw that my mom did that. Being a Christian woman we have been taught that the husband is the head of the house.

I felt like I didn’t have much of a say – it seemed like my mom didn’t really have much of a say. Learning from my past I now more than ever, let my voice be heard in my own household. I fight for what I believe is right and I want to make sure at the end of the day, we (my husband and I) are both equal. We support one another because we want to, not because we have to or (from a financial perspective) because I need him. We work together. (Which just writing that makes me smile. We support each other 100%)

As a woman in 2017 times have changed so much. I have learned so much. Both from our society and from the strong women in my life. I have also learned from my dad. He never wanted me to be taken advantage of by anyone, let alone anyone I dated. He, himself has been taken advantage of in business, and with that in mind; he said you have to stand your ground in all aspects of your life. This brings me back to how important it is to live your life being you and being authentic to who you are. Like I said earlier, I am myself, but I’m still learning how to stand up for myself and what I believe and want in life.

I took what I have learned from my past and created a career path and goals. I know that if (God forbid) anything were to happen to my husband, Everleigh and I would be okay. We would be able to stand on our own four feet. Moving forward I want to teach my daughter to be herself. To follow her dreams. To not let a man (or anyone for that matter) determine her worth. To live authentically.

I think as a toddler, Everleigh is exactly who she wants to be. She is authentically herself. She dances when she wants to, sings when she wants to, screams when she wants to… If only we as adults could all be like toddlers. The world would be crazy and “weird” I guess – but wouldn’t it be amazing? In a way? Minus the toddler tantrums of course. Ha! We would all just be ourselves…coloring outside the lines and doing the things that make us happy.

Everything changes as we get older though, it’s not all bad – as you very well know, but if we had an “I don’t give a damn attitude” all the time with little consequence, it might get a bit sketchy. At the end of the day as long as you are not hurting anyone else, you are happy, following your heart, and first and foremost making yourself smile; then life is pretty sweet.

I’m going to continue to use my blog as an outlet to be me and share what makes me tick, bring me joy and inspires my work.  I hope you continue to follow me, and you yourself find what bring you joy and what makes you authentically YOU.