This is about finding personal authenticity, in a world of syntheticity.
It’s pretty commonplace for authenticity to mean upholding one’s own personality, spirit or character. Syntheticity doesn’t formally exist, but for me, it boils down to this:
Syntheticity is the artificial notion that things are the way they are, and we must accept them, even if they go against our personal nature.
Syntheticity is alive and well – but it doesn’t have to be. Further in the article, I’ll explain three steps you can take to avoid groupthink and empower yourself. If anything, just know: It’s OK to go in your own direction.
Groupthink is taking over our view on contraception
I’ve noticed the prevalence of syntheticity in our view of contraception. This is a powerful case study, for both men and women to learn from.
As a society, we’ve welcomed this topic with such awkwardness and uncomfortableness, that often it goes undiscussed entirely. This has many consequences.
Our cultural tendencies have caused us to suppress this topic, and I’d argue, create ‘contraceptive groupthink.’ The issue of contraception is generally solved by the group consensus of birth control pills or some form of synthetic hormones, without much individual thought or responsibility.
I was on birth control pills, because everyone else was on birth control pills. I didn’t even think twice about it, originally.
The struggle to be authentic to myself
Starting from the age of 15, I was on birth-control pills. I was first recommended by dermatologist, a way to ‘treat acne’ she said. I then just continued with it, because all my friends were starting on it as well. We never talked about it too much; however, I would notice small signs, like the monthly pill casing laying next to their bed, or the reminder alarm going off on their phone to take the pill.
With time, I built up strong resentment for the pill because my negative side-affects were piling up. According to research in a Medical News Today article, some of the most common side affects include headaches, nausea, weight gain, mood changes and missed periods. I definitely had my handful of these. However, the most unbearable and paradoxical side-affect was my lack of libido.
I felt sexually dead inside.
Where had that part of me gone, slipping away with the passing months?
Why was I on a pill that prevented me from getting pregnant, when I now had no motivation to have sex in the first place?
I wrestled with this for years. I would be on the pill for a few months, out of pressure to remain protected, especially while I was in long-term relationships. But then the side-affects would eat away at me and I would question it all, dropping the pill from my life altogether and risking it.
I just sat wondering why it had to be this way? Sexual reproduction is a part of human nature, and by stripping it away, I was stripping away parts of myself and my physical comfort. I did some of my own research, only to find that women around me and women online experienced similar negative side-affects, if not more.
This, my friends, is syntheticity.
We have this artificial notion that we must be on synthetic hormones or insert something permanent in our bodies to be protected, even if that means making big sacrifices to do. We accept that there is no other way. Our personal spirit may wish otherwise.
Making an active decision to empower yourself
There comes a point where you have the opportunity to break through syntheticity. These steps are crucial in order to reach the finish line:
- Identify syntheticity
- Research unique solutions
- Take bold action
1. Identify syntheticity
If there’s something in your life – something so seemingly normal – but feels wrong, give it a second thought. Your intuition is likely revealing something worth paying attention to.
The process of realizing typical birth control ‘solutions’ weren’t solutions for me was when I identified syntheticity in my life. Two other personal examples include the truisms that everyone eat should eat meat/animal products, and owning more stuff is better.
Although normal prospects, these do not resonate with me. They strike a burning cord in me to run the opposite direction.
Often, identifying it can be one of the hardest parts. Pulling away from groupthink is challenging; we’ve been ingrained to do just the opposite. According to Psychologists for Social Responsibility, one symptom of groupthink is ‘collective rationalization,’ which is when members discount warnings and do not reconsider their assumptions.
For me, this is when society discounts the side-affects of birth control, collectively rationalizing that it must be this way in order to be protected.
2. Research unique solutions
It’s easy to accept the status quo; it’s tough to make your own path. However, the later can be deeply rewarding.
Get on the internet and ask around. Research forums rigorously, and comb through threads to see if there’s a gold nugget of advice lying around somewhere. You’d be surprise, but there’s likely a small group out there that’s experiencing the same problem as you.
I got online. I quickly found the copper IUD to be a common alternative to the contraceptive groupthink choice of birth control pills, but it comes with a slew of it’s own negative side. None of the mainstream options work for me. They all require too much sacrifice, whether that be pain or be impurity. I had to get a little creative – and I finally stumbled upon a unique solution.
Luckily the wonderfully fed-up couple turned entrepreneurs, Elina Berglund and Raoul Scherwitzl, founded Natural Cycles.
Natural Cycles is a beautiful fusion between science and technology for the good of everyday life. It is the only form of contraception with no side affects. Yes, I wrote that right. No side-affects.
Natural Cycles is an app that tracks your unique, individual fertility cycle. All you have to do is record a little data each day, including your temperature, if you’re on your period or if you had sex. After a few months of collecting your (private) data, the algorithm is 99% effective in predicting when you’re in the clear to have open sex or if you should use external protection. A majority of the month you’ll be given a green light to do things however you please.
You can only get pregnant on up to 6 days in one cycle.
We find those days for you.
– Natural Cycles
This is my unique solution to syntheticity.
3. Take bold action
Once you find a unique solution, be bold and embrace it. You did it, you found another way! Now it’s time to be proud of it.
Being a little different is nothing to be ashamed of, especially when you’re just following your personal pursuit to be comfortable and happy.
Put your solution into action, and leave a sprinkle of new-age truth among your friends and family. There’s probably more people around you than you think that are experiencing the societal pressures of groupthink.