I can remember it as if it had occurred yesterday. It was my junior year of high school, I was walking down the main corridor heading to class. On this day, I had something pressing on my mind. So pressing, that this decision would end up shaping my future for next couple decades.
Growing up, I was meek, and timid. My father on the other hand was loud and intimidating. He could be abrasive, cold, and uncaring but on the other spectrum he could also be charming and kind.
The majority of conversations that I had with my father growing up were nearly always one sided. He would speak at you. And it wasn’t just how he spoke to his children, he would do the same in conversations with other adults.
The side effect of an overbearing father was that I never really got to discover what my true voice was. I didn’t feel the liberty or freedom to truly be who I was supposed to be, at a young age. I admired my father for his stern, confident disposition. I wished I could be that way too.
So, junior year in high school, when all my peers were busy discovering their identities, I had come to an impasse. Who was I ? How was I supposed to behave? At that moment, unfortunately, I chose to adopt my father’s persona, instead of my own. I knew why I made this choice, too. I was ashamed of how weak I perceived my true identity to be.
For the next couple decades, I distanced myself from truly discovering who I really was. I behaved like my father, pushed my true feelings deep down inside. I drank and smoked heavily to deal with the pain I felt inside. I even got a degree, majoring in the same field my father was in (computer networks) when I should have gone with my true calling, graphic design.
Now over twenty years later, and after three years of therapy, I am only now coming to terms with the true consequence of my fateful decision. I plan on looking at moving into a more creative career field. I am currently working with a career counselor to help with this transition. I still have a long way to go before I can truly say that I am living an authentic life.
I should be grateful. I am sure there are many individuals out there who live an inauthentic life till the end of their days. I for one will not be one of them. I have wasted too many days being someone that I was not, and I will not subject myself to this torture any longer.
If you too are in the same boat, please understand that you can change, little by little and live a life you were meant to live. Change doesn’t have to be drastic, it can be gradual, but in the end you will need to change in order to be free.