I was thinking about the word “authenticity” and why I often get such a triggered response to when someone uses it.
As I was thinking, it hit me.
I’ve buried three children. My youngest has Tourette’s. I am part of those communities and the experience colors my life.
In those communities, many times when a family goes through the death of a child or dealing with a child with a disability what happens next is that one of the parents leaves the family for an “authentic life” and “their own truth” — basically abandoning their family to rebuild a “perfect” life somewhere else. As you might suspect, often that means one of them leaves for a younger, surgically enhanced partner or to engage in very self-absorbed activities or ar.
So it isn’t that being authentic or real or adult is bad. I’ve celebrated that and encouraged it from time to time.
It is the context I encounter the word in that has created so many negative connotations for me.
It has gotten that I am so used to seeing the term and what it stands for used as an excuse by people who have decided to abandon others in their hour of need. I get a visceral reaction to the use of the word because I have too many negative connotations to go with the term. If you read The Glass House or Brandon Skyhorse’s novel with the “authentic “ parents, you will understand what I’m thinking when I hear the word.
The reaction is my problem and my weakness, not that of the word. There are many good things that are authentic.
So I’m apologizing to everyone who has used the term and I’ve been triggered by it or been annoyed with them unfairly.
I need to remember that the word doesn’t always mean what I’ve come to associate with it. But that got me thinking.
- Are their words you encounter that strike you the same way?
- What is a better word for someone who trades in their spouse for someone younger or wealthier than “authentic”?
- Is it ever authentic if we abandon others who need us?
- Is “authentic” a good synonym for “adult?”
- Should it be?