The Beautiful Journey of Unbecoming
In life, right from the moment we take our first breath, we are pointed like arrows in the direction of what we should become. As a little girl, all blonde hair and big dreams, I played dress ups, usually with plastic pretend sparkly heels that never fitted properly and Disney dresses covered in glittery ideals of what I should be when I grew up. As we get older, life feels a little like we are still role playing, wearing the costumes of whatever identity we are told we should be. We become a parent, we become our career, we become a husband or wife. We become, we become, we become. Layer upon layer like a house that who’s walls have been painted over so many times that the original colour has been long forgotten. This house is proud and conforms. It fits in within its neighbourhood. It is respectable. Then one day, with some of us, the paint begins to chip a little. At first its not really noticeable. It starts as a small questioning whisper. A feeling of unease that has no real defining source. Then gradually the chips become cracks, the questioning voice becomes more shout than whisper, and, as the layers of paint peel away, so begins the unbecoming.
This is what growing into the person you are is all about. It is not about ‘becoming’, but rather about going back to the beginning, and finding your truth underneath the layers of what society, your family, your workplace, and your school system told you to be. It is a beautiful and scary process. It requires a little bit of falling apart so you can fall back together how you should be. It’s not so much a renovation as a revelation. It’s not possible to fight this, to resist it or stop it in its tracks. If it chooses you, then you are lucky, but be prepared for a rough ride. There will most definitely be turbulence.
As a society we are judgemental. It’s a fact, and going against the grain of what is expected, or to pivot from you thought was your direction, especially in small communities, can feel risky. Small towns can be incredibly community focused and caring, but they can also be breeding grounds for inaccurate gossip and unwarranted judgement by the narrow minded and afraid. It takes courage to raise your head high and follow your own path. I’m still waiting for a time in my life when I care a little less what people think, a magical and possibly mythical place that I cannot wait to arrive at. In the meantime, I will do what I need to do, whatever I feel is my next right thing, regardless, as should you. Those who matter will always support you. These are your tribe. Some of them are the precious souls who will keep sailing the ship, business as usual, steady as she goes. They are the practical ones, the ones who will stand by you, make sure you are safe. They are the rocks that will anchor you in a storm. They may not understand, but that doesn’t worry them. It’s an unconditional thing. And then there are those rare, gritty, and rough diamonds. The rebellious ones, the wild ones, the beautiful friends who can swear like pirates but shine hard in your darkness, but not because they are your light house, or because they are there to protect you from the storm or to save you: you can only save yourself. They are there because they will walk beside you, without complaint, while you find your North Star and begin your climb out of the canyon. They have been to the far edges of life and, although they don’t have a map for you, because your journey is different to theirs, they will sit with you at rock bottom, holding all night vigils if need be, with wine, candles and courage, talking and listening for hours as you peel away all of the layers. They will keep all your secrets, without judgment. You are never too much for these people. These are the brave ones. And somewhere, at the bottom of the canyon, maybe you remember that before the Disney dresses, before the glitter, there was wild hair and endless forests. Bare feet, rocky beaches, trees climbed and skinny dipped rivers. There was film cameras, pure art and endless writing. There were inky night skies, bonfires and storms and music. And there was you. Always there was you. Welcome home.