Blog

Blog Author:
Nick Antonicci, Center for Sexual and Gender Diversity

My name is Nicholas Antonicci, I use the pronouns he/him/his, and I'm the Director of the Center for Sexual and Gender Diversity here at Duke University.

Yesterday, I woke to the news of tragedy of 50 innocent people killed at Pulse Nightclub in Orlando, a gay bar on a night celebrating Latinx people and communities.

I struggle to put feelings and emotions into words, to put pain into soundbites that appease and comfort those around me.

I struggle with balancing immense sadness for the lives lost, with anger at the forces which allowed this to happen and will continue to happen, namely homophobia and transphobia. I balance wanting to care for others, with frustration in the ways many of those who are responding are centering the feelings of heterosexual and cis peoples.

Authenticity refers to our willingness and ability to operate in congruence with our evolving values, expanding field of interests, and emotional and philosophical (or spiritual) sense of Self. This need not only refer to our individual sense of Self but also our understanding of our Self-in-Community. In short, it refers to living according to our personal Truths.  To be able to live one’s Truths is not simply an obvious ideal.  There is a richness that comes from being able to enjoy authenticity, and not feeling able to do so can lead to some common difficulties including lack of confidence, loneliness, and a somewhat mechanical approach to life that can feel empty at times.

One of last year's seniors (and a former DUWELL intern), Rose O'Connor, was inspired to write this blog in the spring of 2012, her last semester at Duke.  As we approach Thanksgiving time, it seems especially appropriate to consider gratitude and how to appreciate the small things in life...