They say the best stories start at the beginning, but we all know that ain’t necessarily so. The best stories throw you into the into the dragon-fighting, dying-on-a-clifftop action before you’ve barely skimmed the dedication to Mom and Dad. So let’s start like that. Only with less dying on a clifftop (there may or may not be dragons).
We’re Anwyn. You could call us the Anwyn Family but as we’re neither a gothic family living in a mansion with Cousin Itt nor 1940s mobsters, just Anwyn will do fine, with plural pronouns, as in “that Anwyn, they make a mean chicken noodle soup”*.
*this may or may not be true depending on who you get that day, trust us.
We first realised that our physical body had a whole freaking bunch of drivers in our mid-teens. At first we thought we were crazy. Who wouldn’t? After all, like you we grew up with media where Norman Bates had more than one personality and Dr Jekyll could go all Mr Hyde on you at any moment. We told a few close friends, relaxed a little around them, and found that a little weird isn’t the end of the world with the right people.
But the social pressure to be “right” is strong, so we spent the next fourteen years hiding it, giving us a timeline that goes a little like this:
- Graduated with an MA (hons) in English Literature
- Changed how we presented ourselves to the world many times, trying to find a way that fit the “one body one mind” paradigm
- Worked as everything from a document controller to a college tutor to a copywriter
- Tried to force ourselves to have one person be in charge and hide everyone else, because that was “right” and “normal”
- Burned out at least five times because we were forcing ourselves into a way of being that was unhealthy, despite “accepted wisdom” telling us we were unhealthy for simply being ourselves
- Facilitated a good handful of spiritual / self development workshops helping people to find a more authentic connection to themselves and all the worlds around them, and eventually realised that by pretending to be one person we definitely weren’t practicing what we preached.
- Changed our name, sometimes legally, a whole lot of times trying to find a way to fit who “we” were into one person
That kind of pretense starts sapping your energy after a while and besides, how could we tell people it’s better to be yourself if we weren’t being ourselves? So we started telling people in our lives. Some got it and embraced us with open arms. Some didn’t get it, but embraced us with open arms anyway. Some didn’t get it but didn’t care. And a bare handful told us we absolutely must be mistaken.
We’d done it. We’d told people and the world hadn’t ended. So we went a step further. It no longer mattered if “I” was a whiz in the kitchen one day and could burn water the next. And if our laugh never came out the same way twice and people noticed the differences between the shy sweet person one day and the opinionated rabble rouser the next? Well, that was ok too.
That was when we swore that no matter how hard, we would never hide who we were out of fear of not being accepted again. Real self acceptance is the point at which life truly begins.