I’m in India, Goa to be precise. Writing in a village in the South and on the coast, called Cavelossim.
Described by friends, Cavelossim promised to be lovely, full of good restaurants, places to listen to live music and a beautiful beach. And, I was excited to be renting a one-bedroom apartment for a very well-negotiated rate. I was looking forward to experiencing her.
To be fair, my friends weren’t wrong. Cavelossim does have lots of restaurants, live music pretty much every night and the beach is stunning. The sand, which goes on for miles, is beautifully white, like flour, and squeaks when you walk on it.
When I first arrived I was blown away by the beach and thought spending a few days here would be just fine!
But, as I started to get under the skin of the place, really see what was on offer in the village and observe the general vibe and clientele, I felt uneasy. Boards offering all day roast dinners on Sundays with bingo at 9pm, a ginormous boat-cum-hotel and slogans like ‘you’ve tried the rest, now try the best’ screamed at me.
Am I really in India!?
The people looked Indian but what they were saying most certainly wasn’t.
It got me thinking about authenticity, the value of it and what it means to be truly authentic and true to who you are.
I wouldn’t say Cavelossim is doing particularly well on those stakes. But why not? Who is the driver behind offering English Sunday lunches in a beachside Goan village? Does Goa not think it’s good enough just being Goan? Or do visitors want something other than who Goa is?
This led me to further question myself, ourselves, society.
How many people do you know who portray a different picture of who they are? Put a mask on to disguise how they really feel? What they really think?
And, what about you and me?
How often do you pretend to be someone you’re not? Or don’t feel good enough in your own skin?
How often do you pile on make up until you feel good enough to leave the house? Drink alcohol to become that confident, funny person in a group of friends? Work in an office when being outside makes you feel your happiest? Go out with friends and turning on the jokes when all you want to really do is curl up on the couch with a good book?
It’s a sad fact but I think it’s pretty rife, just like Cavelossim and many other places like it.
And, often, it can feel hard to do. To just be you.
But, the feeling of living authentically is unparalleled and something I think all of us as individuals should strive for. I say be proud of who you are, what you look like, where you come from, what you do.
Easy? Not always.
If you’re not being who you truly are, then who are you? The person that you think other people want you to be? A weird version of yourself?
And, even if you think you are authentic, then what about the people you know or the people you meet? Who are they?
Of course, the only thing we can control in life is ourselves.
So take a look inward, are you truly being you?