It has been months since I wrote a blog post. Frankly, it has been months since I felt inspired to do anything creative. I can only describe the state I was in as a kind of transformational wild place, not unlike that which the caterpillar must go through to become the butterfly. Not that I am saying that I am a beautiful butterfly – not yet in any case.
To become the butterfly one must first own being the caterpillar
That was me – the small little worm, going about its business, trying to not bother anyone. Just being there, quiet and unassuming. After a botched hair-dying episode a bit orange and patchy as well. I was being small, thinking small and living small.
Of course, at the time I was not aware of this. Do you think the worm knows about its lowly status or does that realisation only come minutes before the need arises to build a cocoon? Or does the worm struggle with feelings of low self-worth and unacceptance its whole life? Is it that feeling that ultimately drives it to seal itself in?
I was living in a dream – someone else’s most probably. This little blog was the reason for my wakeup, for me, metaphorical worm, to realise that my eyes have been closed, my ears shut and my head turned away. My little blog, my passion project, enabled me to start the transformational process.
My wakeup call
Maybe this has been a long-time coming, maybe I just want to make myself feel better by convincing you that I knew something was wrong for a long time and I was trying to change it. I don’t think that was the case. I think I was in denial since that is easier than doing the work. For years and years, I was turning into something and someone that I was not. Slowly giving more and more of my authentic self away until I was only a shell. A lowly worm.
Because of circumstances, this blog had to grow. I not only had to get another stream of income but I also had to find something that could give me a bit of a creative breather. So I started writing a lot and listening to any podcasts that have to do running a business, marketing your brand and running a blog. In the process I (maybe inevitably) came across a different genre of podcasts – those focussing on self-improvement.
Wow, what a discovery. All of a sudden I was not only working on improving my little corner of the internet but also myself. Of course, before you can fix something you must first know that it is broken. And I knew I was very broken. So I started to do the work. And I kept on writing.
Of course the writing never really went anywhere. After a bit of introspection, I realised that I have never determined who I was writing for. I have never thought of my “avatar” or ideal reader. Some would say this is not necessary, but I was and is of the school who believes that it is. So on one sunny day at the beginning of spring, I sat down to figure out who all of this was for.
My avatar, my ideal reader, ultimately was me. She had the same hopes and dreams, challenges and fears. Her heart aches for the same things as mine does, and she cries over the same things as I do. Her name is Blaire and she is ultimately the best version of me.
This presented my first challenge. I had to write down Blaire’s goals, her life vision. Stonewall. No idea. What were her strong points? Blank. Her passions? Nothing. Her loves? Oh, one or two superficial and clichéd things. Her worries? Her core values? A great deal of crying was starting.
The power of self
Luckily I knew I was not a quitter, and also a fighter. Not because I felt like that, but because certain things in my past indicated such. This worm was beginning to realise the extent of its worminess, and it was at the same time terrifying and liberating. If I was the worm, I could become the butterfly.
It took me days, almost weeks, of sitting in front of a piece of paper, writing down whatever came to mind. Slowly I started to patch together a picture of Blaire, and with a lot of self-questioning (and bucket-loads of self-doubt and self-criticism) I pieced together the forgotten parts of me.
They say the butterfly does not become the butterfly without a fair amount of pain. For that worm to become that winged creature it has to dissolve itself, then build a new life from the cells that survive. From that soup, something beautiful emerges. I was busy making soup of my life, and praying that something will survive that I can use to build a new me.
During this process, I realised a lot of things. I had tucked away most of my dreams. I had people whispering in my ear for years, trying to convince me that being a wife and mom was the ultimate goal. And one that took up all of the space that your unattained dreams and goals left. That was nonsense. I was empty and hollow and no amount of wife-ing or momming could fix that.
In this time I stopped writing. I could not go on with something that I was doing so haphazardly and half. I did start painting again. Drawing. Creating things where there once was nothing. More importantly, I started dreaming again. And now, almost 8 weeks after starting this process, I am ready.
Who am I?
I have the broad outlines, like those you find in a child’s colouring book. For now, I am still figuring out which colours I want to use, where I would like to add texture or shapes. But I have the picture of me and I know in which direction I want to go. I know mostly who I am, and who I want to be. Most importantly, I know what is important to me. I have unearthed my long-forgotten core values. From my soup, I can form ME again.
Some hard decisions are coming up, things that I must do what others won’t like. But that is ok for I am safe in the knowledge that I can do this. My head is clear and my mind is strong. My anxiety is through the roof, but that is the next thing that should fall into place. I am now of the opinion that depression is partly the symptom of suppressing your personality, characteristics and nature, and anxiety can be the wings trying to stretch and break free.
Blaire is an interesting person. She loves deeply, feels profound, thinks about everything, is innately curious, and dreams big. She has a grateful heart and a hopeful life. But most importantly, she sees the beauty in everything. And for now, her most treasured life motto?