Unbecoming: The Importance of Being Real

Let your heart lead.

I share this because when it comes down to the exact detail of who we are… none of our lives are the same. Maybe I’ve booked work as a ‘model,’ as an ‘actress.’ But I am no ‘Instagram model.’ I don’t want to portray a curated life of who I want people to think I of who I am, although I DO believe in sharing what you love, being a positive influencer, and even showing the vulnerable parts with yourself (if you choose to do so).

I think it’s beautiful to share the vulnerable parts of ourselves AND share what it is we love. What gets us out of bed in the morning. What the view looked like from the top of the mountain once we reached the top.

On my instagram over the weekend, I posted a particular, well, unglamorous selfie.  Wearing a bath towel, fresh out of the shower. Ironic my face broke out because the day before, I was a face model for a skin care shoot. No makeup. Just the “gingham” filter. (Do filters count as a makeup these days…..?) It’s not a picture that’s going to get me several hundred “likes.” I actually lost a few followers after posting, too, but I hold to my own ground of being, well, honest.


You want raw and real? Well, here it is.

I remember picking up my first self-help book at 10 years old. It was titled “Mean Chicks, Cliques, and Dirty Tricks: A Real Girl’s Guide to Getting Through It All.” I felt like I struck gold in the middle of the self-help aisle. I was barely a tween, and I was being bullied and felt friend-less for the first time in my life and I needed advice – something solid. Something real.

Some advice from someone who understood that being a lower-middle-class girl who didn’t fit in with the “popular girls” at her Catholic School was driving me insane. Once I finished that book, I went back to the same aisle. The Self-Help section. And I then I picked up my next one, relieved that there were, at least, given answers to life’s questionable problematic situations.

Barnes and Noble became an area of solace and nostalgia for me. As I grew “older,” I’d continue reading book after book on self-improvement, breaking patterns, karma, you name it, I read it. I even spent a summer dancing in New York City, and I raided my roommate’s bookshelf for yet more gems of wisdom (where I discovered “Skinny Bitch,” which would move me to go vegan, and “Why Men Love Bitches” – which I would smuggle over to Central Park and sit in the grass and read it. Oh, that’s why men love a woman who can act like a mysterious catch….

Just kidding.

Anyway, over 15 years later, I’m still all about self-help and improvement books  – and ironically, I now write on this same subject as much as I can. With this in mind, allow me grace you with the recent wisdom I’ve been learning in my late twenties – or as I call it like a true millennial in the form of a hashtag: #being27.

This age has been a multitude of running themes including, but not limited to: constant weeding out — people/not-so-genuine friendships and relationships; literally walking away from toxic situations, conversations, and environments; and my new favorite: Unbecoming.

“Unbecoming,” to me, is facing those dark parts of yourself that need some work. I’ve heard someone refer to this as shadow work. Recently I’ve been growing more “into my own.” As a personal choice, I’ve stopped dating or seeing people recently in order to become more comfortable with myself; in order to be happy being completely alone.

I do speak up a lot when I know things aren’t right. I believe in teaching what’s going to help people become more themselves (hence why I write and why I teach Buti Yoga). I write even when it’s hard to say the truth, but I know it will help someone somewhere along the way. For the few close friends who know me on a personal level, you know that I’m VERY about being yourself and letting your quirks shine through.


Here’s the thing with Unbecoming and Becoming Real: you don’t give in to societal expectations with norms, beauty standards, career “should-be’s.” You don’t allow a commercial for Botox or plastic surgery to make you feel inferior and like your beautiful face needs some kind of change.

When you’re Unbecoming, you stop putting your energy out towards the things you don’t want. During this process – and it is gradual, perhaps it continues for a lifetime – you begin to come into your own. And when you come into your own, when you’re comfortable with your own skin, it can come off startling.

Some people don’t get that. Some people are threatened by that. Some will just be scared off and can’t comprehend it. This is okay. You are showing up to be uniquely you in a world that has tried to reverse that. I’ve been seeing those parts of myself that gotta be healed because the world needs it.

Maybe I can’t help a million people through the vessels of what I do, maybe just a few. But Einstein said you can’t solve any problem with the thinking that got you there in the first place… so let’s start change by changing our own perceptions – of who we think we should be. Of being told how we “should” live.

Let your heart lead. Here’s to Unbecoming so we can bring more REAL (love) to the surface and not be afraid to be who we are.






Also published on Medium.

Dani is an actress, ballet & Buti Yoga instructor living in Los...