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On Becoming Unbecoming

I like words.  I wanted to be an English teacher.  Then….one day in English class, we came to the section in the text on diagramming sentences. I didn’t like to dangle parts of a sentence onto a hang down line. Like the adverbial phrase modifies the hoo-ha.  You know what I mean? I didn’t think it was fair for those words to hang down like outcasts so…..I decided to become something else.  They say you can become anything you want to in our country….I’m all for it!

But I digress…what I wanted to talk to you about were the times I was young and my behavior was unbecoming.  That’s what my Mom called it.  “Carrie, what you are doing is unbecoming for a lady.”  Where’s the lady.  I’m just a kid!

Now there’s a funny word!  Unbecoming. When we come into the world and become human, can we unbecome ourselves? What does it mean to act in a becoming way, anyhow? Is that like always going someplace and never coming back?  One direction only?  “I becoming, but I don’t be leaving?”  I’m not sure.

One way I was deemed unbecoming was when I sat in a chair.  I didn’t just sit on it.  Like a lady.  I’ve already told you I was very skinny and tall for my age.  Skinny as a rail.  (What is a rail, anyway?) Well….my rump was on the seat of the chair but one long leg could be over the back of the chair and the other one over the arm.  I could hang my head down over the seat so it almost touched the floor.  I could watch people upside down. I did that a lot.  I could have invented Teeter Hangups!!  Well, anyway, being upside down so much is probably the reason I have such a good complexion to this very day.

Mom said my sitting behavior was unbecoming.  But it wasn’t difficult to become myself again on those occasions.

I was unbecoming in my active state, too…not just sitting.  Sometimes, I could skip, hop, jump, and run all at the same time.  Mother said I was always in Perpetual Motion.  She sometimes called me Perpetual, for short.  I unbecame myself from that state when it was bedtime.  I fell asleep as soon as my head hit the pillow.  That’s what my Mom said.   I heard her breathe a deep sigh (of relief?) when she closed the bedroom door. I guess, after all, it was time for me to become asleep.  I always had a lot of things planned for the next day!

Yesirree, old Perpetual’s going to be in motion again tomorrow!!


  1. Psykosity

    “I becoming, but I don’t be leaving?”

    I love how effectively you convey the child whose Mother called her ‘Perpetual Motion”.

    I feel like I am there, watching the scenes unfold.


  2. Avatar
    George Pal

    Carrie! I love words too! How ’bout you and I… nah, never mind… you being able to sit proper and all – I haven’t yet mastered that skill.

    But I loved your story really I did. It was very becoming.

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