From Bogus to Authentic: My Awakening Moment

One day you finally knew what you had to do, and began, though the voices around you kept shouting their bad advice…

An excerpt from The Journey by Mary Oliver

I realized I wasn’t living the life I truly wanted when “$13,000” jumped out at me on my credit card statement and I had nothing to show for it.  It wasn’t just the debt that made me realize that I was dissatisfied with my life. It was the inner turmoil I was enduring. An unrelenting assault of questions emanating from my soul…EVERYDAY. Trying to crack the matrix of who I had become. The depths of my soul was crying out to me:

What the hell are you doing with this one life you have? Who do you want to be? What do you want your life to be like? Are you fully living? Are you living a life others expect of you? Is your life counting? Are you awake? Are you being authentic?

The examination going on between my soul and reality was persistent, forcing me to be brutally honest with myself.  I had to take full responsibility for the choices I made to get there. The easy road is to blame others or life’s circumstances, but that doesn’t move you toward living authentically.

 I determined to put an end to being a bogus Jill. 

Often we hear lyrics in songs, read stories in books, or watch scenes in movies that emphasize what we are going through. In this season of awakening for me, it was the movie, The Matrix. This particular clip kept replaying in my mind.



I love the part when Neo wakes up and says, “No”.

He was done conforming to the agents game of life. He knew there was something beyond the systems that had been set up and forced upon him. At that moment he knew that his life was no longer going to be dictated by others or by circumstances. He was not going to fight battles that he didn’t need to fight. He didn’t have to waste any more time fitting in. He was done living by default.

I sat down and made a list of some of the conditions of my life before and after my “awakening”.

Before my Awakening

  • 13k credit card debt – as if credit card debt isn’t bad enough, I had nothing to show for it
  • Answered emails, texts, phone calls ASAP from people I was trying to please
  • Felt bad for not wanting to attend all church related events
  • Never had time to myself
  • Rarely did things I enjoyed
  • Spent all free time with friends
  • Distanced myself from my family (because they weren’t at my church)
  • Was always sick
  • Was always tired
  • Bought things I didn’t need
  • Never took time to process life
  • Thought I could never make a mistake
  • Could never truly be myself
  • Feared disapproval of others
  • Highly sensitive to anyone and everyone

My Life Now

  • Spend time with my family regularly
  • Buy only things I need and use – by “need” I mean like 2 pairs of jeans, not 5+
  • Spend a lot of time by myself
  • Read more diverse book subjects
  • Have fewer, but healthier friendships
  • Know my sleep rhythm
  • Know when to say no to things
  • Journal about all aspects of life not just the shit or the spiritual
  • More time creating
  • More time traveling
  • Learning how to self-care
  • Figuring out what my values are and living by them
  • Less of material possessions
  • Don’t feel the need to live like others
  • Think more about what I think about
  • Less focused on pleasing others
  • Less focused on not fitting in
  • Less focused on doing life “right”
  • Learning to just be me
  • Intentional about my spirituality
  • Giving myself more grace

Now is the time to WAKE UP and say NO to the systems in this life that are holding you hostage from living authentically. Don’t wait. Start today to shed one thing that keeps you detached from your true self. Get that ball rolling!

Maybe you need to hire someone to help you get rid of stuff you haven’t been able to get rid of?

Maybe you need to quit spending time with that friend that you always leave feeling drained, discouraged, or focused on the wrong things?

Maybe you need to disconnect your cable T.V. and read those books that keep tugging at your soul?

Maybe it’s time you found a therapist and starting talking to an expert who can help you untangle your childhood trauma?

What steps can you take TODAY that will help you live true to yourself?


BONUS: Download (save and copy) the poster I made just for you or pass it on to someone else who needs a little nudge to be more authentic!

COMING SOON: This blog will be getting a totally new look and feel in a few months. I don’t want you to miss out when my new blog launches. I will be giving away a free ebook titled, “7 Lessons I Learned from Slowing Down” to all those who subscribe! Click here and it will take you to my sign-up form. Just fill in your name and email address and you will be first to get my ebook when it launches.

women in mountainous field - jillsonstebyphotography