“I think I might want to pierce my nose,” were the unexpected words I spoke out loud this past Sunday morning. “I don’t like needles, I’m scared of the commitment, and I don’t even have my ears pierced, but I’ve always secretly wanted to pierce my nose. It just feels right. Is that weird?”
Weird, maybe. But a deeper part of me creeping up to the surface, patiently waiting to be seen and finally claiming its voice? Yeah, that sounds believable.
When I started this blog, I had a very clear idea about what a rebrand meant to me.
I was dating someone new, having fresh experiences, exploring my “farm girl” side, all while still getting accustomed to my first real big girl office job. I was having a difficult time learning about balance. I was discovering new capacities within myself. I was embracing my ability to write again, and taking a risk on sharing it with the world. And I thought that was where it ended.
But of course, rebrands are not a stagnant thing. They don’t happen overnight. And there’s no limit to how many times the process might affect you over the course of your lifetime. I truly believe that you can be in a state of rebrand for years on end. I’m actually not quite sure if I’m still in the midst of the first one, or if I’m somewhere in the middle of my seventh. But what I do know is that, much as I’d like to define it, my story doesn’t begin or end with dating a “farm boy” – because it’s my story, not his. And I’ve still got a long way to go.
It turns out, rebranding is a much deeper issue than I initially thought it might be. It’s not always easy. And it’s not always fun, either.
You see, sometimes, it isn’t as obvious as a new blog format or a carefully-obsessed-over logo. Sometimes it’s not about sparking joy in your closet or finally cultivating that enviable capsule wardrobe. Rebranding isn’t about deciding that you’re a rebel, or an artist, or a preppy perfectionist. It isn’t about finally having the courage to write ‘fuck’ in a personal essay. It isn’t about writing one poem and deciding that, now, you will never write anything but poetry.
Rebranding can simply be about making those little changes, learning to accept yourself, gathering the tools and the resources to get a little closer to some fundamental change that may never actually be entirely definable. Rebranding can be about educating yourself, making healthier choices, paying more attention to the labels on the clothes you wear and giving an extra $1 to the Whole Foods charity in the checkout lane. Rebranding doesn’t have to mean you rise up and declare yourself a feminist or shave all the hair off your head in a protest of stereotypical beauty standards. But it might be that you’re silently questioning the media around you and starting to accumulate the information that you need to make the right choices for you. The you that’s in the here + now.
Rebranding is about growing. Improving. You might take a few steps back every now and then (God knows I do) and that’s okay. But every time you question something, every time you seek more knowledge about a subject, every time you feel a little more in tune with the woman (or man) you want to be….you’re rebranding. And that may all go public when you create a blog about it and get a million likes….or it may remain internal, apparent only to those who truly know you.
I know I’ve struggled a lot with knowing what ‘A Necessary Rebrand’ is all about. And the truth is, the meaning has rebranded with time. It’s had to. Sure, I still struggle with some city vs. country. Sure, I still suffer from body image issues. And yes, I absolutely have days where I feel like I don’t know who I “am” because it doesn’t feel definitive or brand-worthy.
But I think that’s exactly what this is about. I think I’m not the only one who’d like to grow but doesn’t know how. And I think, especially, that I’m trying to push through many of the same problems that women all around the world are dealing with in their own unique fashions.
All the talk of Self-Help, Self-Care, and Self-Love does not add up to an easily measurable task. How do you know you’re “right” when you’ve struggled with feeling “right” for most of your life? At what moment do you indisputably know that you’re “body positive”? And what does it feel like to love yourself? I’ve tried Googling it – and spoiler alert, there are no 1-2-3 steps to take. There is no definite end. But what there is, is a process. An elapsed period of healing. A community to turn to, podcasts to listen to, and plenty of books to read. I’d like to be one of those resources, if not as an expert, or a guru, or someone who’s “made it,” as someone who gets it, as someone who’s still grasping at strings, too.
It’s been said to me that the more you open yourself up to improvement, the more at odds you will feel. And right now, I think that’s probably true. The more I think about fully accepting myself, about efficiently describing my “brand,” about paring down my wardrobe to the true essentials of who I truly am….the more overwhelmed and imperfect I feel. But the more determined I feel, as well.
Already I sense myself moving towards a greater purpose. Speaking to women. Being honest. Being spiritual. Being healthy (I mean, sometimes, ahem, pizza). I can easily identify how often I have returned to the archetype of the “wild woman,” the bohemian, the soul-seeker, the artist. I may drift from her every once in a while, but for now I know I’d like to hold on. I’d like to nourish her and see what she becomes. I’d like to surround myself with mementos and talismans that call me forth into a stronger version of who I’ve somewhat been every once in a while over the course of the last 28 years.
Nobody I know would ever guess that I’ve wanted my nose pierced since I was about 13. And I never exactly honored that desire as anything more than a fantasy. But that’s exactly it – that’s a part of myself I’ve never shared, because I didn’t take her seriously. I didn’t think she was any more than a passing trend that somehow managed to arise again and again. And now, I’m realizing, maybe there’s a reason she’s kept coming back. Maybe she can help me be more naturally me. And maybe I should give her that chance.
Maybe we should all pay attention to that part of ourselves that’s desperate to be heard. And we should embrace it, share it, lean into it, and own it.