How To Be

When describing me as a child, my mother will comment, “Jody was always trying to be something…a cat, a horse, a praying mantis”. I think my tendency to engage in relentless play-acting was due to the discomfort I felt in just being myself. It wasn’t enough to just be, I had to be something.
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If the current self-help literature tsunami is any indication, this persistent anxiety of not knowing how to be oneself is a crisis requiring our full and complete attention.

However, in a society trained to gravitate towards the fast fix, reading a 300+ page guide of instructions provided by ‘professionals’ on how to navigate through life is too time and labour intensive. Someone needs to simplify…to paraphrase. I dutifully accept this task. I am proposing an immediate solution: a drive-thru/drive-by remedy for those who require instruction in the act of being: miniature “How To Be…” guidance manuals.

Researched through various sources – some completely unreliable – the miniature manuals (3/4” x 1 3/4”) will offer direct, albeit flawed, advice on how to become various impractical (princess), impossible (dog) and/or undesirable things (murderer – who am I to judge what people might aspire to?). Unlike the tomes of self-help gurus (Dr. Phil, Dr. John Gray), these pithy mini-manuals are not meant to offer socially acceptable life paths but offer other life choices. In recognition that the act of becoming something is an active pursuit, each manual will come complete with an “action” figure. A literal take on the term “pocket guide” (inspirational mentor, idol, ‘coaching’ buddy), these articulated, fold-to-fit-in-a-pocket paper figures are illustrative of the desired transformation once the “How To Be…” advice contained in the booklets has been implemented.

Quite possibly, after considering the options presented to them, readers may discover that being themselves in whatever stage of becoming they are in is more desirable than the proposed alternatives.

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