The dictionary defines authenticity as " conforming to fact and therefore worthy of trust, reliance, or belief". People seem to be doing just that. They naturally conform to a false reality while preaching to be truly oneself. Ahas been coined as a word to represent someone’s truth and realities, but in a world where fake and reality are seeming to become synonymous, I believe authenticity is now no longer immune from skepticism and false actualities. When people showcase themselves, they are no longer being authentic but trying to conform to the predetermined narrative of representing themselves as being perfectly them. We use filters and exaggerations to supplement reality. Therefore, I consider true authenticity not a direct reflection of oneself anymore. Rather, authenticity, in my opinion, can still be effectively showcased when someone represents him or herself from the values, ambitions, meanings, and passion of something or someone else. When the focal point is taken away from you, the fluff disappears and a true representation of what you believe is showcased. I have learned this because in the past few week i have found my true authenticity through the people I have met.
The best example is when I met my friend Jaron. I met Jaron one day when I was late at arriving to the Q-Line. At the stop sat an elderly gentleman tossing a basketball. I was about to sit down on the bench next to him when he asked me, " Son, what color is this ball?" Confused, I told him it was brown like any other basketball.
"Ohh okay," he said, "well, can you make sure that this ball is the same color as this ball." He showed me an image on his phone of him and a young boy facing away from a blanket of fireworks. In between the boy's left arm is a bright red basketball. Before I could say anything, the man started to burst out laughing. That laugh was what solidified both Jaron's and my friendship.
Jaron is sixty-seven years old, and he has complete color blindness. He has a hereditary disease called Achromatopsia which caused him to lose his ability to see color when he turned 25 years old. We spoke about his family, life, and the picture with the fireworks he had shown me. I asked him if he enjoyed watching fireworks even if he couldn't see any of the colors and patterns in the sky. His response was so profound. He told me that he doesn't see color, but feels it. The energy people around him give off when they are happy, sad, bored, irritated, perturbed represents a color in his mind, a color of emotion. Jaron does not know what red, green, or hot pink looks like. But he associates the shade of color to the emotion elicited from the environment. He said the color is just a gilded layer of the moment. Under color, is emotion and that is the true color of the life.
Yesterday, I was at the same fireworks show. I took a picture of my boys with their arms around each other watching the fireworks. Once I extracted the color, I saw what Jaron meant. I was not fascinated by the color anymore. I was no longer distracted by colors, but I became more aware of their friendships. I became more aware of us.