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Living An Authentic Life

staying true to yourself

Two interesting things happened to me last week. The first was that my work husband Richard with his innate ability to sense when I am overloaded or teetering near the edge, sent me this story in the NY Times about mom bloggers, focusing on the biggest and baddest of them all, Heather Armstrong of

For those of you who don’t know Heather’s story, she was fired from her job for writing about the characters at her place of work! She’s been through some tough stuff, including a bout with post partum depression. But she made it through and writes an unflinchingly honest blog about her life. Of course, not everyone agrees or even likes her and that is the part I LOVE! She knows exactly who she is and doesn’t make excuses or try to change herself.

Later in the day I had an epiphany (I wish I had a dollar for each moment of clarity I’ve had this year ALONE). Anyway, it was courtesy of my aforementioned work husband, who I have now spoken to more times than the one I am linked to by matrimony. We were chatting about some stuff and it hit me; the genie is out of the bottle and I can’t go back.  I can’t go back to not having an opinion, I can’t go back to just reporting, I can’t go back to hiding my voice. We’ve been through too much, gone too far to turn back now. Wow.

I wondered how a feeling could be so freeing and yet so terrifying. Have you ever been in that place? Perhaps you were straddling the line between a former life and the future one. It’s sort of like being in Purgatory, without all the scary, religious references. You’re not where you were and not quite where you will end up. But slowly, with each passing day, you take a step closer to where you are going. Pretty soon the former life and all the things that resemble it, are in the rear-view mirror, getting smaller with each passing day. Yep. That’s me. Just take a look at the old Rene and the new Rene. Can you see the change…!


Authentic Life pic - Rene Syler

Part of the Heather Armstrong piece talked about money and how much cash she and her husband are pulling down each month via their site. I’ll be there someday too but for right now, there’s an intangible payment that comes with being authentic; not having to hide your true self to please the suits down the hall. Right now, my dignity and I may be dining on Lean Cuisine – but not for long.

But what about you? Are you where you want to be? If not, how are you getting there? What thoughts keep you going when sometimes it seems easier to quit?




  1. Danielle

    February 27, 2011 at 5:13 pm

    The biggest difference I see is that there is a “real” smile on the 2011 face. Keep rockin’ you, Rene!

  2. Auntie Lisa

    February 27, 2011 at 9:13 pm

    All the more reason you should have your own talk show!! 🙂

  3. Rene Syler

    February 27, 2011 at 10:01 pm


  4. Irene

    February 27, 2011 at 10:15 pm

    I was never really raised to blend in with the crowd….it has worked to my advantage and disadvantage in life……as far as ever quitting that just never seems like an option…sometimes you have to go about something different or take a different route…but any g.e.m. can do that…

    Auntie Lisa we sure do need a good talk show on tv! go g.e.m.

  5. M.E. Johnson

    February 27, 2011 at 10:24 pm

    2011 looks like a mischievous kid. That smile!

    I’ll just say I’ve had plenty “now I get it” moments. Something someone said or did just in passing or something I read or witnessed or just looking at the ceiling in a reverie. On goes the light bulb.

  6. Nikki Newman

    February 28, 2011 at 1:28 am

    I love that idea about the genie; that’s exactly how I feel now. Each week right now something unfolds that makes me feel like some part of me is becoming more ‘in focus’, or some piece of who I’ve always known I am gets some validation or finds its place in the world…so I can totally, totally understand what you’re saying in this piece. I am straddling those two worlds – the past and the future, making the present a very interesting (and often emotional!) place to be!

    The contrast in those photos is so telling: you look younger now, totally comfortable and exude excitement and that authenticity. Great piece.

    Don’t worry Rene, you’ll be swapping your lean cuisine for oysters and champagne soon!

  7. John Duffy

    February 28, 2011 at 9:49 am

    I was a welder on our oil platforms here in Scotland reasonable cog in my own little world. Then I spoke up about things North Sea no more. Could not get employment. Now school janitor it isno Northmen a job but keeping quiet. Would love to tell it as it is,but! Love the kids but not what I did for 30 years.

  8. Pingback: Take The Poll: Life Choices

  9. Donna

    February 28, 2011 at 11:39 am

    Sure , I have found that not everyone likes it when I tell it like I see it. But I like myself better, and that is what counts. 🙂

  10. John John

    February 28, 2011 at 2:27 pm

    Yes, I am going through this right now with a certain non-profit organization where I sit on their board. With experience comes wisdom and now I have the most tenure, far above everyone else. Nine years is probably too long, but I love to serve. The funny thing now is that when I speak my truth into the room and stand by my integrity, everyone stares and goes silent. This is the same for a memo, meeting, phone call or even a text. I think I’ve finally seen enough and done enough with them and others that I don’t have time for this crap any longer. I KNOW I am standing by my integrity and it is helping me in many ways. I also feel an influence over the others. I’m totally prepared to walk away, proudly looking in the mirror at my integrity while laughing at those staring at me from behind. This has been difficult, painful for me as my old co-dependent ways are like “What?” However, the truth has really set my free and it is the best thing. This is a great topic, GEM!

  11. devessel

    March 30, 2011 at 8:18 am

    Oh Rene. Hold up that torch sister: I am in that army marching with you! The 2011 look is just so REAL.

  12. Rene Syler

    March 30, 2011 at 8:31 am

    @devessel: LOL THANKS! and it is!

  13. Andi

    March 30, 2011 at 8:56 am

    Your 2002 hairstyle looks exactly like Karen Borta’s did when I started at KTVT in 2003! Coincidence, I think not!
    I left TV news promotion for Christian television, and you’re right, there’s no turning back. Now, rather than looking for the most head-turning, eye-popping, scandalous details to promote – I get to look for the good, the hopeful, the inspirational. And I get to be me. Transparent & real… or at least trying, every single day.
    Love reading your posts! Keep it real GEM!

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More in Career

Combing the aisles at Target in search of the best deal on Cheerios, it hit Rene Syler like the stench of a dirty diaper on a hot summer’s day. Not only is perfection overrated its utterly impossible! Suddenly empowered, she figuratively donned her cape, scooped up another taco kit for dinner and Good Enough Mother was born.

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