being human

On Becoming Real

“It doesn’t happen all at once,” said the Skin Horse. “You become. It takes a long time. That’s why it doesn’t happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don’t matter at all, because once you are Real you can’t be ugly, except to people who don’t understand.”

Margery Williams, The Velveteen Rabbit

On Authenticity, Realness

So much of my life has been about how things looked from the outside. I looked put together, so certainly I was. I bright-sided too. The glass was half full. I wore rose colored glasses. Everything was shiny, pretty, perfect. And I drank every night. Zero realness, all facade. Its hard to admit.

Becoming real, it seems, might take a lifetime. The things I thought in my early twenties I no longer think at all. I am so different from the way I used to be. I feel boring though I’m never bored. On the outside, my life must look mundane. And while I’m not giddy, love love love happy all the time, I am content. Aside from the unclarity, uncertainty and sharpness of the day itself, there is an underlying calm here that rarely existed before.

I think we become real when we go through hard shit and come out stronger on the other side of it. Last year was that year for me. (God, I hope I’m through most of it. Saying it was hard doesn’t accurately describe the depths.) My mom was dying and my daughter was taking a huge leap of her own — further away from me, physically and emotionally.

Alone. I grieved. I wallowed. I pitied. I cried. I raged. I breathed. And I began to work though acceptance. But there was a deep well of sadness I couldn’t pull myself out of. “Who the hell am I?” were words I muttered often. “I didn’t know,” the immediate reactionary response. Everything I did know about life was coming to an end, quickly, and anything that happens quickly is disorienting. Today I continue to sift through the pieces that are left. It’s akin to a challenging jigsaw puzzle with a few missing pieces. I am in a redefining period, a ‘putting myself back together’ period, a ‘leave this, keep that’ period. I have goals but no idea where I’ll end up. I think that’s how it’s supposed to be. We’re not supposed to know how it all will end. We’re not supposed to have that much control.

Today my realness is my pain. It’s the underlying now that’s trying to emerge as something else. It’s also truth I never saw (because I wasn’t able to). I’ve touted myself as a non-judgmental human, but I judge as much as the next person. I don’t want to be this way. I am working my way though it, but it’s truth plain and simple.

These realizations also led me to the truth that we all are really doing the best we know how. Some of us are better at it than others. My new realness is this — allowing myself to be myself, without hiding, and allowing it to be enough. It never has been before. It has to be now, lest I reach the end of my life in the same limbo that I lived it.