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  • Abigail Wilson

Emergence is Ugly : the Truth of Personal Transformation

The air has the crush of late summer as I push my pedals - one, then the other - down down down towards the Earth. I am praying to whatever God there may be that nobody actually notices me because I’m sobbing ragged open mouth sobs. Tears stream down my cheeks, much faster than I am able to move on my bicycle in my exhausted state. My divorce has just been finalized, the same week my car unexpectedly died and a deadline at work got bumped up two weeks. The bike ride home is over four miles. I’m coming apart at the seams.


There is a friend that I met as the landslide started, who was with me through the fall and the settling. Somehow as the dust cleared so too did her presence fade from my life. I wish I could sit with her now and tell her that she knew me in my crazy era.


Sharon Blackie describes it as coming undone, the collapse necessary before a woman can rise again, rooted in who she is. A former me would have been ashamed at this coming apart and would have tried to hide or avoid it at all costs. The person I am now knows better. The person I am now knows that only the fall allows us to stand up new, and stronger.


a cicada recently emerged from its shell
©Emma Skurnick 2024

When the cicada emerges from it shell, its eyes are blind, its skin yellow, its wings wrinkled and small. It looks nothing like the insect that moves on only hours later. My son when he emerged from my body was covered in birth's kaleidoscope of gore, his head stretched in a long curve, his limbs twisted and thin.


Emergence is ugly.

The portal from one state to another is tight and squeezes away everything that cannot last. The process deforms us because we must die to the form that we once were. In transformation we must learn to expand again. We must discover our new edges.


This phase is marked by courage, a little bit of fear, and a deep vein of desperation. We don't always believe that we will make it through. We don't always know where we are going. It is the willingness to embrace our temporary ugliness that brings us around to our new wings. In our willingness to see it through, we find our own power.


We do not need to know who we are - only that we are arriving.

The dramatic moments make great stories, but often terrifying lives. The good news is that dramatic tower moments happen very rarely in our lives, perhaps just once or thrice. The more we practice little deaths, the more undoing becomes a part of our becoming. We live as a work of art. Deaths of the ego or our beliefs actually help us feel the continuity of our lives and legacy because the persistent thread of Self becomes more apparent.


Emergence can be ugly, but becoming is certainly beautiful. I beg of you, let yourself fall apart a little. Let the fluids out and the clean air in. I'm no longer in my crazy era - now is the time of liberation.

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