An Authentic Social Life
I grew up as a socially awkward, shy and introverted teenager.
I remember being in high school as the whole socialising thing began to increasingly take hold as being the most important part of life and I remember struggling incredibly with this.
I didn’t know how to be ‘cool’, I didn’t know how to talk to girls, and I certainly didn’t know how to navigate such an intense dynamic space with lots of people around.
As I grew older it became increasingly apparent to me that I was introverted and that I desired a certain sense of depth and authenticity in the ways I related with others. I was drawn to wanting to know people as they really were, and also ached to be known. I continued to go out… to bars and night clubs… and somehow often ended up in the corner somewhere having a deep and meaningful for hours with just one person.
I love it when others can show up as they are without the social masks and without the need to present themselves in some constructed attempt to fit in. Like, we are all who we are anyway. No matter how hard we try we can’t be anyone else than who we actually are.
What we can do though is filter the projection of our being outwards, cloud the ability for others to see our essence, and turn the volume right down on our authentic expression.
This, to me, is a tragedy. I have found it to be the source of so much pain in myself, and I imagine in others.
I also believe this is why we turn towards substances, drugs and alcohol, as somehow a way to help us come out and show ourselves. Sadly, I don’t think the substances ever really help that much as they can bring out parts of us that aren’t actually that elegant, or how we truly want to be. Deep inside I believe we all just want to have the safety and the space to play and be seen and loved for who we actually are.
I think many of us are so lost in this ocean of needing to fit in that it can be hard even to figure out what that means. What do I actually want? How do I actually want to connect with others?
I’ve often felt like culture and society is something that happens to me, that I don’t get much choice in the constructs of the reality that I am in as a human being. It just kind of is this way and I have to deal with it.
Do you get what I’m talking about? Do you ever feel like you are going along with things because that’s just how they are?
What I personally yearn for is more consistent depth. More inclusion of the wholeness of who I am into the spaces in which I play. I’ve done a lot of self-development stuff in my life. I’ve been to heaps of retreats and workshops, and I’ve also engaged a lot of personal practice. All of this has informed my being and my close relationships, and I desire it to also inform the culture I am in.
What would it be like to live in a culture that includes the fullness of our being, with each other? A culture that includes our own deep practice such that it isn’t something that we talk about, rather it is something that we live in the moment, in connection.
To me this is the possibility we are in right now in this world, the possibility of consciously co-creating culture.
To write new ways of being together.
This, to me, is the premise behind the possibility of an authentic social life. A social life that includes all the things we love about socialising… the fun, the play, the dressing up and looking good, the meeting new people, the flirting, the sexual energy, the connecting, the getting high (on intimacy), and more… yet done in a way that includes each of us for the unique beings that we are.
A way to truly be inclusive, where we don’t have to put on some special mask or mood to go out, where conversations and connections naturally deepen beyond the surface, where touch can be more alive in our spaces without being creepy or violating.
A few years ago some friends of mine and I started getting together and having parties without any substances. Naturally through the depths of our connection we got into radically high and playful places that did include the authentic expressions of each of us.
These spaces felt deep, energetic, alive and inclusive. It wasn’t just sitting around sharing about our feelings (although that happened too)… we would dance, roll about on the ground, laugh, share jokes, flirt, banter and more.
These times gave me a sense of what is possible, and ignited in me a passion and desire to have more of this in the world.
An authentic social life.
A place where we can show up as we are and meet others where they are, where what is created between us is beyond what any single one of us could imagine on our own.
This is a seed. A seed of a possibility for framing a new world… because without a doubt the context of our world is shifting, perhaps faster than any of us realise.
I desire to have a voice in what comes next… and I desire that you do too.
What is your definition of an authentic social life?