Living your truth

By Khea Pollard

I think it’s safe to say that the allegations against Bob Filner surprised both everyone and no one. To the general public, Filner appeared to be the average political figure, cautious of his reputation, upstanding, admirable even. He has a long professional history. He has served in congress for ten terms, fought for equality as a Freedom Rider during the civil rights movement and taught as a professor at San Diego State University for 20 years.

I am certain that those who have accused him of sexual harassment saw a completely different side of him that is not quite as shining. Filner has resigned from his mayoral duties after much coaxing, following multiple allegations of sexual harassment from female colleagues.

In his resignation speech Filner said he, “never sexually harassed anyone.” He blamed his “awkwardness and hubris” in forging new relationships for some of the allegations that have surfaced. I have a feeling it was much more than awkwardness that led 17 women to claim sexual harassment.

We’ve all heard that sometimes people are not what they seem. The “I am who I say I am” motto has become a watered-down mantra spread across popular social media sites in the form of a status update.
But with all the self-proclaimed “real” people in the world, we still manage to be bombarded with scandals that rip apart our preconceived notions of people we thought we knew.

My summer months were full of the most authentic moments imaginable. During long poetic nights in North Park people from all walks of life open themselves up to an audience of anonymous spectators. Sitting and watching someone perform a spoken word piece and be so honest about who they are and where they’ve been is breathtaking.

You compare this honesty with the scandals like Filner’s surfacing in the media and it makes me wonder how the two spectrums have become so far removed.

Filner is only the latest addition to a long list of public figures that have shocked the masses with scandal that reveals a personal life inconsistent with the public image so easily accessible to us all. Next to Arnold Schwarzenegger, John Edwards and Anthony Weiner, it seems Filner fits perfectly on a list of political figures that have changed our perceptions of them with major scandals we did not expect.

Apparently, everyone is not as upfront about who they really are as they claim to be. This may just be a piece of human nature. It’s natural for us to want to look perfect, to perform as perfectionists in front of an audience of our peers and strangers alike. We all are guilty at some point or another of wanting to “save face” amidst a difficult situation.

So we project an image of ourselves that we would like to see versus what actually exists. At times it feels as though only in the recesses of the city, away from the spotlight that fame casts, can we find a “realness” that refreshes the spirit.

Some compare spoken word poetry to stripping down in front of the audience, exposing some of your most intimate vulnerabilities and being judged for them. Sharing these intimate thoughts and feelings with total strangers is complete vulnerability and transparency at its finest.

I am no poet. Nor do I pretend to be. What’s most important to me is living life without apologies. That in itself leasves you vulnerable. However, this is a vulnerability that is necessary for growth. I’ve learned that being the most authentic version of yourself takes time. College is the perfect place realize what exactly that “authentic-self” is.

This new semester offers a fresh start and as I embark on this journey I am consciously striving to live my most authentic reality, whatever that may be. Discovering is half the battle.
At least now some of the pressure is off Tiger Woods.