• nicole calder

Unbecoming to become

“This is what being broken feels like. It feels like none of your body is connected. It feels like there’s emptiness all over; holes and voids. But instead of being empty, these crevices are seared with pain, with misery, with heartache. You appear whole, but these cracks are filled with poison. Slowly, these cracks deteriorate; they decay. Slowly your body withers and inwardly decomposes. This is your heart breaking. This is the necessary process needed to recreate and regenerate yourself. But first, you must die. First you must self-destruct into nothingness. And it is from there that you must rebuild yourself. From nothing.”

I wrote this on May 23rd of last year. This was the day that I found out my ex was indeed dating the girl that I had suspicions about throughout the duration of our relationship. And ironically, it was the date of our not-to-be one year anniversary. I found out this news on Tumblr when I checked in on (stalked in modern terms) my ex. I did so only because I had an overwhelmingly strong, nauseating, and gut-wrenching feeling in my stomach – it was as though my subconscious knew something was amiss.

And so I held a metaphorical funeral. I immediately called up my friend and we went to the beach with nothing but some matches and a book. The book was titled This Is How You Lose Her by Junot Diaz. The only reason I was reading this book was because it was one of my ex’s favourites and I wanted to understand her. I wanted to love her. I wanted to learn her. All in hope that I might be able to keep her. Still. Even after she left me two months prior. I suppose I still had hope that we would one day get back together…


But in that moment, she fucked me over. And I wanted absolutely nothing to do with her or anything that remotely reminded me of her. I wanted to lose her. My heart wasn’t just broken, it was crushed. Livid. Shattered. Destroyed. My biggest fear was a reality. And worse? I knew it all along. So I decided to burn the book. I burnt it to ashes, to nothingness. And then I buried it in the sand to forget. And then I jumped all over it to ensure that it was indeed dead. And buried. And forgotten. This book was a metaphor for my heart and what she did to it. She took my heart and she crushed it into tiny little shards until it became unrecognisable. And then, she buried it. She abandoned me. Forgot about me. Ignored me. Cut me out of her life. It was as though I never meant anything to her. And to finish it all off, she gloated in victory with her new girlfriend. She destroyed whatever remnants of my heart that I had left. And so there I was. On the beach in the darkness with nothing but the memory of what was. And it was from there that I found a sense of stillness. It was there that I realised I must rebuild myself. From nothing.

After recently finishing Love Warrior by Glennon Doyle Melton, the one thing that resonated with me profoundly was this concept of “unbecoming to become”. We often believe that figuring out who we are is a process that consists of continuously figuring out who we are not and building on whoever we are presently. But who are we presently? Who are we when everything is taken away? When we have nothing to grasp onto? No one to hold onto? Nothing to hide behind? Who are we in the complete darkness of our soul? Who are we when we are staring death in the face? As Pema Chödrön eloquently states, “Only to the extent that we expose ourselves over and over to annihilation can that which is indestructible be found in us.” For some, this is when they find God. For others, this is when they find themselves.

On February 15th when I stared death in the face and contemplated taking my life, I had nothing. No one. I was completely alone. Nothing to grasp onto. Nowhere to hide. It was just me. Me and my complete and utter brokenness. My rock bottom. And this is where I found myself. But it wasn’t until the 23rd of May when my heart had been completely annihilated that I began to rebuild. I began to fill myself with nothing but love. I became strong. Empowered. Confident. Everything that I was becoming was my authentic, wholesome self. I was the hero of my own damn story and no one could take that away from me. But first, I had to die. I had to die to be born. I had to be lost to be found. I had to be empty to be complete. I had to unbecome to become.

Invariably when you come across a strong, confident individual who knows who they are, it is because they have lived the path of the spiritual warrior. The path of letting go. Of annihilation. Of pain. Of heartbreak. Of destruction. The path of awakening. The path of cool loneliness. The path of stillness, compassion, bravery. Spiritual warriors sit in the stillness of discomfort not grasping, not hiding, just letting go. When we can let go, that is when we will learn ourselves. This is known as the process of unbecoming. And it is from there that we become. It is there that we discover who we were always meant to be: a warrior and the hero of our own damn story.

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