- Unbecomingby K. Olsen
This work has reached the exceptional level
A quiet evening reflection on healing.
Daydreams from the Ashes
: Unbecoming by K. Olsen

When I was younger, I only heard
of growing pains and growing up,
of the careful construction of the self,
and the relentless press of becoming.
But now, as I sit at the loom of Soul
and look at the work of my inexpert hands,
I think:
perhaps I wish I had been taught
the fine art of unbecoming.
Not ending, no, but the delicate unraveling
of missed wefts and tangled fibers
woven haphazardly by unceasing hands
ever focused on the next pass.
And how to be all right
with the thought of undoing
instead of doing:
the artistry of letting go despite fear!
But how does the hermit crab
know he has outgrown his homely shell,
except by the painful pressing of the old?
So how was I to know of unbecoming
until I felt my heart restricted
by a constructed carapace,
those unkind thoughts and ambitions
cutting into a heart as it swells.
Perhaps it is not that we grow around our grief,
but that it grows around us—
not as a thing we shatter and shed,
(though one takes a cue from hermit crabs),
but as a garment needs adjustment:
one undoes the seam to let it out.

I wish I had learned sooner of unbecoming,
of the gentle easing of mistakes
by unraveling with forgiving fingers—
not to restore it to a pristine thread,
for it has stretched and worn,
but because by unbecoming,
we can practice to be a better stitch,
closer and closer approximations
to our intended pattern.


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