“Right now, these moments are not stories. This is happening. I am here… I can see it. This one moment when you know you are not a sad story. You are alive. And you stand up and see the lights on the buildings and everything that makes you wonder; and you’re listening to that song on that drive with the people you love most in this world. And in this moment, I swear, we are infinite.” This is the final line of the movie adaptation to The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky. There are no translations to when we feel authentic. We are authentic when we feel most alive. That is it. Whether it is having a conversation with a stranger in the most wonderful of circumstances, or giving your condolences at a funeral; when we feel alive, we are being authentic.

Often authenticity is paired with happiness. This is not true. I associate authenticity with honesty to ourselves. Until I was honest with myself and came out as a gay man in 2001, I was not living. Before, I had true-life moments of happiness that were authentic, but honesty is where the root lies. I also feel authentic when I am completely selfless. I suppose, to be honest with that statement, I am not completely selfless. I love being useful to others because that is when I am most alive. Fortunately, I found a way to live and travel doing that.

Authenticity is not only about us being authentic in our lives and actions; it is also about society being authentic.   We must be able to identify when unjust and inauthentic actions are taken. This is a muscle we learn how to flex and with time, we become more aware of these moments. Currently, injustice and inauthenticity monopolize our lives.

The verdict for the murder of Eric Garner is not authentic. However, the outcry for justice across the country is. We saw what happened very clearly on video. There were not conflicting witness reports as in the Michael Brown case. Not indicting Officer Pantaleo is not authentic because authenticity requires personal honesty and truth, of that, the grand jury in Staten Island obviously lacked.

Today the jobs report came out. Every pundit and many government heads are celebrating this fact. Why? This metric is not authentic. It comes to us during the busiest and most profitable month in the corporate world. Most of these jobs only pay minimum wage and will be cut January 3rd. There is no real comfort from this number in December. The number that should be reported is how many of these jobs will last for at least six months and offer a livable wage to people living at or below the poverty line. That is the authentic number I want to hear.

I can only leave you with this. Fight when you can against the injustices, and hold those accountable when opportunity arises. The real and authentic struggle is just beginning. It is the holidays so take care of you and your loved ones. Live in that authentic space. We need strength, support, and clear minds to bring positive social change where it is needed.

Happy Holidays! #WAAI

Sending all my love,

Gregg