Authenticity is a core value of mine. What this means to me is that I strive to be true to myself. "True to yourself?! Sounds cliche, Who is this guy?" Well, let me explain...
Who Is This Guy?
I am a social worker, a therapist, a leader, a helper, a partner, a father to two dogs, a musician, a hiking and biking enthusiast, a baker, and a traveler. Before, during, and after I am any of these things I am Tucker. "Who the heck is Tucker?" Again, let me explain...
Youth is often a time where authenticity comes naturally. We have not yet developed filters. The societal pressures have not yet wreaked havoc on our sense of self. When I think about who I am and how to remain authentic, I think back to my youth.
Who Was Tucker Landry As a Child?
I grew up surrounded by other families' children that my mother attempted to supervise. Growing up with constant playmates had its advantages and disadvantages. Being the first born child of my family with two younger siblings was hard as a kid. Throw 8-10 more children into the mix and little Tucker was often disgruntled by the lack of attention he received from his mother. This usually presented itself in some elaborate display of emotion that helped achieve the goal of getting Mom's attention, but ultimately led to little Tucker feeling embarrassed and weak for crying in front of his friends.
Little Tucker's 7th Birthday Party
I can still remember my 7th birthday party like it was yesterday. Piñata was where it all went downhill. I remember the excitement as I was blindfolded and ready to swing the bat. As I made contact with the piñata, I felt the hard cardboard shell give way, and heard the candy as it spilled to the ground, followed by screaming children diving for treats. As I struggled to remove my blindfold, I panicked, "What if there's no candy left for me?!" When my eyes were free to see again I looked at the ground to see my fear realized. The tears started flowing, the embarrassment building, ending with me running for cover, to my room, where I could hide from the world.
"Why Did He Tell Us That Weird Story About His Childhood?"
I tell that story because it reminds me of who I am as a person. I am sensitive. I am selfish. I am good at breaking piñatas. Whenever I sense that I am being inauthentic, I remind myself that I am Tucker. The same Tucker that lived up to the song, "It's My Party" and I'll cry if I want to. The same Tucker that wanted attention. The same Tucker that was embarrassed to show emotion. When I get emotionally in touch with this same Tucker I feel a deep sense connectedness with my identity. I can see little Tucker in my mind and bring up another memory that helps shape my identity. Then, in order to be authentic, I own those experiences and memories as part of my self and I share them with the world as I am doing here.
Here I Am
Authenticity is ownership of self. A colleague recently said to me, "We are all ourselves." Who are you at your core if you are really honest? Are you in touch with the parts of you that really make you, you. AND, are you accepting of yourself, your strengths your vulnerabilities and all? I am Tucker and I will continue to strive to be Tucker in all that I do.
About the Author....
Tucker Landry, LCSW is a licensed social worker and a member of the Family Therapy Center team working with tweens, teens and adults. He is also currently working with Inova Hospital counseling individuals and families with chronic illnesses and conditions. If you would like an appointment with Tucker Landry, LCSW contact him directly here.
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