Maybe the journey isn’t so much about becoming anything. Maybe it’s about unbecoming everything that isn’t really you, so you can be who you were meant to be in the first place. ~Paul Coelho
This is the story of me. My journey.
Not of who I have become, but who I am unbecoming. What I am unlearning as I rebuild Who I Am.
I’ve been a very functional human being doing the things I was told to do, the things I was sold as life. But I wasn’t living, I was surviving.
I was a shadow of myself, hiding in the dark, masquerading around as a three dimensional being. I used this body as a machine with its parts serving their purpose – a brain to strategize, hands to create, feet to climb mountains, a heart to pump blood. I never really allowed myself to feel. To be. From a very early age, my life taught me that those you were supposed to depend on were not reliable and everything and everyone went away.
Life was about doing. Working hard. Earning degrees. Making lots of money. Getting married. Having kids. I was taught that life is a formula. If you follow that formula you achieve this thing called success and success, to be better than anyone else, was what mattered. These were functional duties without emotion. The primary emotion shown to me was fear and all its variants – anger, frustration, judgement, annoyance, jealousy, hate, spite. I was shown that these were the fuel to keep the light bright, burning through, around and beyond. Burn it down and as long as you remain standing, you have won.
I am a good student. The formula kept me playing the game, surviving. It kept me numb, nimble and adaptable. I was full of fire and that fire propelled me forward.
But my soul, my heart. They felt. They tried to show me a way out, but I rarely listened to myself. I achieved that thing called success – multiple degrees, salary in the triple digits with the first digit greater than the number one, marriage, healthy body – but I felt dark, heavy, and defeated. And then she came, my little one. She was my first true teacher, guide, healer. Suddenly I began to feel and a floodgate to my past, my ancestors and my true self opened before me.
She came in fierce, determined, loving and curious. But she was as angry as she was joyful. Not uncomfortable, irritated, or typical baby stuff. She was angry with me. She loved me fiercely but she was was full of my fire, my fear. She did not grow up in the conditions that I did. She was well loved, protected, sheltered and all of her needs were met. I worked hard to not limit her with my fears and desires and instead encouraged her to be her. I avoided as much as humanly possible the cycle I had been taught. And yet I noticed that she was exhibiting my trauma responses as early as a few months. She was mimicking my childhood behaviors and reactions. Perhaps I still showed those responses today but this was something much deeper – this was nature, not nurture.
She spurred me into action to heal myself, her and my ancestors. It was time to end the cycle of violence in my family and myself. I had to confront what I had been avoiding, ignoring.
I had normalized my past to such an extent that although I knew it was anything but normal, I never realized how much I had internalized. I had always been taught that the physical needs – a roof over your head, food to eat and clothes on your back – were all that mattered in life and because I had been given that and more, I had nothing to complain about. I thought my lifelong depression and desire to die were normal. It never occurred to me that it was so far out of the range of normal that it had left molecular bruises that I could pass on to future generations. And likely I had inherited some as well.
It was the end of the beginning for me – the first part of my life lived unconsciously without feeling was done. And the beginning of the end for my daughter because I was determined to put an end to this trait of inheritance. We can change our past, present and future. I was determined to change mine.
I was always taught that it is not desirable to be unbecoming, one always had to be presentable. I am finally learning that messy is beautiful and life is messy. As I unbecome my past 42 years to discover who I am, the inner child in me is finally, for the first time in her life, getting a voice.
She is ready to learn how to sing songs of joy and paint the world in color. I am learning to parent and raise my daughter while I parent and raise myself. I am finally growing up and becoming me.