“No one changes, but instead becomes more of who they always were,” an English teacher told me. As a high school student, I held closely those words armed by their promise. At a time when kindness and backbone lay crumpled at the bottom of my locker suppressed by insecurity, I hoped my hidden, more honest parts were a better indicator of who I truly was and may more become. I hoped for change, became more honest, kinder at times, and slowly understood that becoming isn't really a change at all, but instead, a slow reveal, an uncovering of oneself.
The trees and the leaves have always known this. Each fall, the nights grow longer, the temperatures colder, and slow mountain roads become filled with leaf peepers looking for change between Dairy Queens and roadside rest stops. Except leaves don't change. They too become more of what they always were. The colors we photograph, the aching heart reds and rusted out oranges, were always there present within each leaf since bud break. It's not until the lengthening nights of fall when photosynthesis is stopped and chlorophyll recedes into darkness do our color blind eyes see more than green. But those colors, those gorgeous colors, were always there. Invisible, but existing beauty waiting to be revealed, wanting to be uncovered, and only the darkness could do it.
This fall, as you toss on the lights at 3 pm or remark how much shorter the days have become, consider your own beauty unrevealed. Let whatever is covering it lose its fight. Feed it to the darkness. Allow your slow reveal to unravel the life you were meant to live; become who you always knew you were.