In a world that tells us who to be, being ourselves can be the greatest (and most challenging) rebellion.
If you choose to answer the call of your soul, you may get strange looks. Especially when you begin speaking that mother tongue that only belongs to you, still wearing the life lived up until this moment you realize who you’ve been all along. People will look on, thinking you’re speaking gibberish, but you’ll know: this is who you are. And it may be difficult, there may be many things to juggle all at once, especially at the start. You will carry pieces of who you were in your hands as you become the person you are, and sometimes they might feel heavy. Your baggage may be checked by all kinds of people–– lovers, friends, family, airport security. But it’s up to you whether you choose to carry it with pride, or to abandon it only to have its ghost haunt you with each adventure you take, your forever half-forgotten mementos of a life with unfinished business.
Embracing your own personal brand of weirdness isn’t for the faint of heart.
There is freedom in releasing ourselves fully, uncensored, into the world. It doesn’t come without vulnerability, daring, and risk, but don’t most great things require us to be great ourselves?
It takes practice, and like any learned behavior, it’s a muscle that requires strengthening in order to become habitual. It helps if you’re surrounded by others who are doing the exact same, totally different work. As they speak their very own language, you might hear pieces of your language that are the same. If you listen long enough, and share your own stories, you may find ways to bridge the two languages and create an understanding–– or, in some exceptional, rare cases, you may create a whole new language together.
But you’ll never know what indescribable concepts can be translated into existence by that special understanding if you don’t explore your own expressions, your own made-up words, your own strange understanding of this human experience.
Sometimes, it will be brutal.
Embracing who you are requires humility. It can be an ego-check like a gloved fist, knocking you down and leaving you to pick up the pieces of who you were, examining them like a piece of broken china, wondering: can this be fixed? Or should it be replaced?
We sing songs of who we are in that language that is only ours, in a frequency only we can
hear, and wait for someone else to echo it back–– even just one note.
The objects that we repair with gold become all the more beautiful.
But if they don’t work anymore, if they’re outdated and you simply need something better, there’s no shame in tossing them in the bin.
You have to be honest with yourself on this journey.
Sometimes, it can be hard to really see ourselves. After all, when we look in the mirror, what we see isn’t the same thing the rest of the world sees; our features are reversed, our flaws mirrored in ways others might not notice. We’ll never be able to look into our own eyes the same way others can. And they’ll never be able to look at us and truly see the person we see. It can be hard to feel seen.
We can all understand our own asymmetry in a way no one else in the world can. And we get used to it, so much so that when we see our faces reversed, the way they all see it, it’s like something’s off. It’s almost us, but not quite.
So what do we do?
We create self-portraits with finger paints and fine oils and words and sculptures and fantasy stories and poems. We build houses and fill them with the things we need to get through this life, temples to the beings within. We build ourselves up from humans to altars to the creatures we want the world to see and know–– or maybe we just want to be able to see those beings clearly for ourselves.
We write memoirs like encyclopedias, detailing every piece of our inner landscapes. And we wait for the world to take the time to read it all, to understand it and write dissertations about all the beauty and pain and life inside our pages. We sing songs of who we are in that language that is only ours, in a frequency only we can hear, and wait for someone else to echo it back–– even just one note.
But we can also wander into the dark cave of ourselves and open our eyes wide, searching for any hints of light. If we stay long enough, we might be able to make out the shapes of what’s hidden there.
And we can open our mouths and sing to just ourselves. If we stay long enough, we might be able to hear our lyrics bounce off the walls of the cave, echoing back a new way of hearing our song. And we might know the song better. And we might be able to harmonize with those reverberations, magnifying the ringing notes.
Whether you sing your song in the world, or just to yourself, all alone, you will be one step farther on your path. When you clean out the old cabinets of your heart and hold the pieces of yourself, you’ll be able to decide what to take with you into the temple. When the glove strikes, you might be numb at first, but then the pain will come, and you’ll know where to reset the bones.
Don’t be afraid of becoming who you are. Don’t be afraid of embracing your weird.
It will be work.
It will be worth it.