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Statement of Authenticity

authentic voice Jun 15, 2020

The Real Thing

If you’ve ever purchased a fancy pair of lens, glasses, sunglasses, you’ve probably been given a “certificate of authenticity”.  Basically, it’s meant to prove that the big sticker price you’ve paid has given you “the real thing”. 

I often wondered who would even care about this, until I found out that you could actually will your Cartier™ frames to your children (or anyone else who’d care), because they’d appreciate in value.  

At first I thought, “Well, that’s stupid.”  I mean, my sons were unlikely to give two shakes of a rat’s ass that I left them my old tatty Cartier™ frames 50 years from now.  One would assume the fashion would change, and this also assumes they’d survive 50 years in possession which - for glasses - is a spectacular long-shot. 

“Oh no,” I was told.  “There are collectors, and they’ll pay.”

So, I thought about this some more (still entirely doubtfully), and then moved on with my life.  I mean, it’s somewhat miraculous if I can find my glasses daily, let alone at the end of a lifetime.

But today it all came back to me - and the term “gobsmacked” isn’t powerful enough (and isn’t ‘gobsmacked’ just about the best word ever?) for the revelation.

You see, this is a metaphor for my life.  

And I propose you adopt it as a metaphor for your own. 

Follow closely:  imagine a person - you - came with a “certificate of authenticity”.  You got it at birth, sure, but most of us misplace it (or have it misplaced for us) pretty early in the game.  

So, we proceed through life without our lenses, much less our ‘certificates of authenticity”.  We’re, effectively, blind.  And we sure don’t look as intelligent or (in the case of Cartier™, classy).

More importantly, we can’t pass it on to those around us if we don’t have it, can we?  I mean, without that affirmation of authenticity, where’s the value?

I mean, realistically, who gives a shit?

But...BUT...if you ARE authentic, then you maintain your value - you actually HAVE something to pass on in the end, something that others realize appreciates in value and further, never goes out of style.

Huh.

I can take it a step further: those frames didn’t come cheaply.  I paid for them.  I even sacrificed for them, because I wanted to see, and I was willing to pay for the real thing.

Did I give up other things for them?  Yes.  Did others judge me?  You better believe it. 

Did I question my choice?  Definitely.  Would I go back?  Nope.

And that’s the way it is with authenticity.  Will you pay?  Yes.  Will you sacrifice?  Probably.  Will others judge?  Without a doubt.  Would you choose a different path?  

Well, that’s where it comes down to what you value.

You see, I can take this even further (never let it be said that I can’t flog a metaphor to death):  you see, my sacrifice for that “certificate of authenticity” meant that - while in the shorter term, there were things that hurt - in the long term, I had something to pass on - but also, I taught and/or freed up space for others so that they, too, could choose.  And in getting myself to a place where I could afford that certificate of authenticity, I was much more likely to be able to help others afford their glasses, too.  You see, that authenticity appreciates in value - and every day that goes by that I own that certificate of authenticy, I actually have more value - and that value can be leveraged for investment in others, if I choose.

And if I lose those glasses?  Well, I will be sad.  I will look for them.  And if I can’t find them, I will begin again - I will save, scrimp, sacrifice and invest.  I won’t say, “It’s not worth it - I’ll just lose them again.”  That might be true.  But I still want to have the choice.

And that is my statement of authenticity.  

- Donna Holstine Vander Valk