When one is pretending, the entire body revolts. - Anais Nin I read this quote on Justine Musk's blog, and it's the kind of quote that makes me want to throw up my church hands and shout Amen! Quotes that encapsulate what I've learned on the first 37 years of my journey have that effect on me. I want to jump and point and call you all over for cocktails to discuss.
I think it's interesting that one of the most popular posts on this blog is the one where I revealed photos of Cate's nursery. This isn't a home decorating blog. This is a life blog. And yet, The Butterfly Garden wins. I chose the butterflies simply because I was wandering Babies "R" Us one day and thought they were really pretty.
When I redesigned my blog, I picked a blue butterfly because blue reminds me of sky. And the image reminds me freedom.
I didn't realize the significance until a couple of months ago, when I received a gift from my friend Lisa. The package sat on my desk for a couple of days. I was afraid if I opened it right away, I'd forget about it (and forget to write a thank you note). I was walking around in a newborn baby haze and lots of things were falling through the cracks.
I'm glad I waited. Because this was inside:
Lisa created this for Cate. I remembered how much Lisa loves butterflies, and how years ago, she had sent me the book The Artist's Way by Julia Cameron. Lisa has always seen me as an artist, even back in college when I was just beginning to unravel layers of pretending.
My husband says he realized he had married an artist the year we lived in Portland. Still I wasn't ready to claim it. I mean, I wanted to, but how does that even work? So, I tried to keep the butterfly in the box. And slowly, over time, it became more difficult to breathe. I finally realized that if I didn't set her (me) free she would die. Not physically, necessarily. But inside.
Cate's birth symbolized another turning point for me. Over the past six months, I've shed even more layers of pretending. I've shared some of it openly, here on the blog. Many other things I've experienced privately. The butterfly understands the difference between honoring privacy and hiding.
No more hiding. No more pretending. Simplicity. Honesty. Authenticity.
No more perfection. No more "nice". Kindness. Openness. Love.
No more asking "What am I going to do with my life?" Alive. Fragile. Brave.
Like the butterfly.