The Journey Into Your Authentic
"Know yourself and you will become known."
My name is Bertice Bessie Berry. I never like telling folks my middle name. I don’t care for it, but this is about being authentic, so now you know. I was named after Bessie Smith and Bertice Redding, both singers, both strong and independent women.
The old folks used to say, “Be careful what you name a child, because that’s just what you will get.” They were right.
I am a sociologist, author, lecturer and mother. I have worked as a cleaning woman, resident assistant, comedian, educator, researcher and counselor. To earn money I have braided hair, called bingo, picked fruit, done inventories, sang, and performed in community theatres. I have volunteered in my children’s schools at nursing homes, juvenile halls and prisons. I once co-owned an art gallery and used all of the earnings to help families in need. I am a mentor and friend and guide to many. I have suffered abuse, rape, neglect and hunger. I grew up poor but am not now. I have no living parents and have suffered the loss of a child. I am none of this and all of it at the same time and I am me.
I am my heart and my head; a sentient being on a journey called life and I love this existence.
I am a straight black woman in her fifties and yet I am not my orientation, race or age.
I am funny and irreverent and generous to a fault. I am loud when I laugh and quiet when I cry.
I am spiritual being striving to be human, striving to be Christ-like even though I don’t yet fully understand what that means.
I am great at making money and lousy at keeping it. I can keep a secret I don’t like and give away things that I love. I’m exceptionally good at getting people to open up and have been known to have strangers tell me their deepest darkest fears. I’m as good a talker as I am a listener, but I know I talk too much. I love to sing to myself and will do so for strangers. I am an introvert forced to be an extrovert. I get along very well with others and enjoy being alone.
I love to read and have a hard time letting go of a good book. I write daily but not as a routine. I love nice clothes and hate to shop. I am simple and complex; a well hidden open book.
I like myself. I like my hair or the lack thereof. I like my big butt but hate the cellulite that comes with it. I adore abs and my tiny waste. I love my eyes and my smile and I am a fan of my own arms.
I am constantly learning, but I know for a fact that the moment I deny myself to myself is the moment that I stop being authentic.
Who are you?
Describe yourself in one short sentence and then do it in two pages. What are your strengths? What are your challenges? What do you like, love and adore about your physical self? What are you challenged by? What have you done and what do you do? What are your talents and abilities and what makes you smile? If you could have been anything, what would that have been? How do you learn best and what ignites your passion for learning? What do you value and what are your value characteristics? Who and what do you love?
The more detailed you are with describing yourself, the easier it will be to see who you have left behind.
BE you Be well BE Authentic
Bertice Berry, PhD.
Excerpt from the upcoming book The Journey Back to Authentic