Archibald Leach, Norma Jean Baker, Marion Morrison, Francess Gumm. . . Some of the most famous people in Hollywood history. But what's that you say? You don't recognize these names? Well perhaps these sound more familiar; Cary Grant, Marilyn Monroe, John Wayne and Judy Garland. Could Marion Morrison have achieved as much fame as John Wayne? Perhaps. Could that name have stood for the epitome of Western allure and appeal? It's possible. But we'll never know. Somewhere along the line, Marion Morrison just wasn't good enough. And he became John Wayne. And John Wayne became the star.
It brings to mind a question that's been on my thoughts a lot lately: who am I and who am I trying to become? It seems like you can't know one without the other. You can't possibly know how to get to the latter if you don't know exactly where the former is. e.e. cummings said that "it takes a lot of courage to grow up and become who you really are." It seems like we spend the better part of our "growing up" years trying to be someone else. Someone smarter. Someone prettier. Someone who's got it all together. Someone better than we see ourselves. But, I think when it comes down to it, you'll always be a better you than anyone else.
So, in the end, growing up is learning to accept what you are and resigning with good grace all that you're not. It's embracing yourself for all that you are. The good and the not-quite-so-good. It's acknowledging the strengths as well as the weaknesses. And building on both. It's having enough courage to step out into the world and be the best Archibald Leach you can be. Instead of hiding behind Cary Grant.