Self-destruction is an alarmingly common human phenomenon. We abuse our bodies, our hearts, our minds, and our souls. We misuse outside substances to tear ourselves apart. We search for answers to our sorrows in food, or seek to numb our pain with a needle shoved in our arm. We wish for a different or better life, hoping to find answers by incessantly scrolling social media. We attach ourselves to humans we know should’ve been released long ago.
As a perpetual self-destroyer, I’ve often wondered why humans have a proclivity towards cycles of self-annihilation. I have contemplated why we feel it necessary to obliterate our wholeness, knowing beyond doubt that we are causing ourselves harm. I’ve come to realize that nature holds the answer.
A forest develops, climbing upward and outward, for decades. Within its branches are housed countless existences. It grows deep and rich with color and abundance. A connected root system may form, joining hundreds of trees into a single organism. Animals are protected and housed. Harmony abounds.
But with one sudden spark of heat, a fire forms, destroying everything the forest worked so hard to produce and shelter. A searing blaze wipes away life, the swaying trees, the green vegetation, and protective ground cover. It forces animals from their haven. And the single organism of interwoven connection is lost to fierce consumption.
To the outside observer, it looks as if the life that gracefully formed and Became has been eradicated in the blink of an eye, leaving in its wake a smoldering wasteland of lost possibility and richness.
But in such stark desolation, secrets lie dormant. Seeds hiding under the surface, unable to germinate due to overcrowding, break free from their casings. Ash from the blaze provides nutritive sustenance to the ground. Unimpeded rain hydrates the land. And light, which was unable to penetrate thick branches, succulent leaves, or a blanket of undergrowth, can now radiate down in unhindered brilliance.
The fire scorched its way through decay. It wiped clean the slate. And the ashes left behind provided the sustenance for new growth.
If we relate our own lives to these forests, the cycle of self-destruction points not toward demolition, but toward renewal.
We destroy ourselves in an effort to create something new.
Self-destruction is the fire, UnBecoming the ash that feeds; tears our hydration, and self-love our unhindered light.
Our natural inclination to set ablaze what we once were is an act of cleansing; an UnBecoming of everything we no longer are. We allow a crumbling of the hardened shell in which we’ve allowed the past to encase us, and the destruction of the single organism we have created in the connections of our past. We enable those we have held space for to seek new refuge. We cry, we scream, we rage. And one day, we wake up knowing the fire has fed us, and we are ready to bloom anew.