"Do not conform to the pattern of this world,
but be transformed by the renewing of your mind" (Romans 12:2).
When I think of authenticity, and even when you look at the dictionary's deifinition of the word, it is something that is genuine because of a consistent pattern of facts that prove it so. On the other hand, when I think of "conforming to a pattern," I think of a cookie cutter, which is not at all an image of "authenticity."
So the answer is, "don't conform, but be consistent." Could this be true? If so, I'm in big trouble, because I'm often all over the place, i.e., my free-write about the word "New":
-----Sometimes I don't know if the words I have are the right ones. Sometimes I wonder if I even meant what I said yesterday, because the way I am living today does not look as if I believe the things I say I believe. Sometimes I want to just lay down my paintbrush and to turn off the computer and never paint or write another thing, because nothing I do feels "good enough."
Sometimes I find the words and I get chills because I know they are right. Sometimes I examine my heart and my thoughts, and find (with a bit of surprise) that I am perfectly at peace. Sometimes I find joy in the simple act of creating and in that moment give no thought to what the end product might be.
Sometimes I just can't believe that I am the same person I was yesterday. And I wonder what it is to live authentically, to write authentically, to create art from the place inside of my heart that is really and truly me.
How can I find what is really and truly me, when "me" is always changing?
And I realize that this is it, this is authenticity: to be constantly changing and transformed . . . by LOVE. "Me" is always changing, not because I am insecure or incomplete, but because I'm always seeking to be better than I was yesterday. Some days it works, some days it doesn't. And on the days it doesn't work, there is grace--and always tomorrow, a new day.
Maybe the answer in all this rambling is that authenticity in art and in writing is simply to share life, scratches and all--to practice consistent honesty in admitting my inconsistency--in a way that is transparent and uplifting and points to LOVE as the only thing and the only person who covers my multitude of messy imperfections.
Lots of lovely links today: Paint Party, Studio Sneak Peek, Imperfect Prose, Five-Minute Friday
P.S. Check back tomorrow for the finished painting here on my blog and also in the quiet re-opening of my Etsy shop! I'll gradually be adding new prints of my work for purchase here, starting this weekend.