09 June 2010

Emerging from the chrysalis and revisiting the past

This one has been quite a while in the writing. It's been rewritten and revised a dozen times or more. I suppose it may read as kind of cheesy in a way, but it more or less says what I've been thinking about rather a lot just recently.

Wikipedia has this to say about the chrysalis:
"the chrysalis stage in most butterflies is one in which there is little movement"
and then goes on to say...
"the adult butterfly emerges from this and expands its wings"

This sounds a quite lot like where I was for years but also (oooh, so much better) where I find I am these days. It seems to me that I was locked away, pretty much immobile, hiding away inside that chrysalis for far too long a time. My obesity was only one part of that, some pretty damaging relationships, crappy self-esteem and other issues abounded too. No point airing those - water under the bridge and all that jazz. The good news is that the butterfly 'me' finally eased her way out into the sunlight and is stretching her wings. That sure feels good.

As part of this process of emergence I find I've been revisiting my past. Sounds ominous, huh? Well, no. Not at all it isn't... in fact, I'm finding that, rather than the scary, dark terrain I though I'd remembered, it's turning into a rather lovely voyage of rediscovery to a distant half-forgotten land. I suppose it's part and parcel of unearthing the real 'me'.

Recently I've realised that quite a lot of the things which were important to me in some way before my sad and weighty days began in earnest, and which were abandoned during this rather dark period of my life within the chrysalis, are being resurrected.

I'm listening once again to music I used to love, but had 'set aside' for years (sometimes decades) as hearing it opened up a whole host of memories and often made me feel sad or bad in some way. Music from my sun-filled youth, before life took a turn for the cloudy and negative. Music I grew up with and was comfortable with, from people like Joni Mitchell (I recently bought a copy of 'Ladies of the Canyon' on CD and now can't stop myself singing 'The Circle Game'). Music from the Who, Led Zeppelin... and the like (she says, showing every one of her fifty years!). Doesn't mean I'll abandon my new musical loves, but it's nice to listen to my old half-forgotten friends sometimes too.

I've started re-reading some of my old favourites from my younger days too. Books from authors like Jack London and Nevil Shute are ones I've enjoyed again recently. I've been amazed to find that many of them have as much, if not more, to recommend them to my fifty-something mind as they did on first reading them in my teens and twenties. Franz Kafka and Anton Chekhov are back on my list of books to re-read too. I'm not quite back to three volumes of Lord of the Rings yet, but maybe someday... if I ever have a little more time?

I guess what I'm saying is that I feel like I'm appreciating life more widely now than I have done in a long time. Of course it isn't a picture-perfect, rose-spectacled 'ideal' life. No-one truly has that except in fiction, do they? I still have my moans and my struggles sometimes, my successes and the days when I just feel a failure, the sometimes painful legacy of the damage I did to my body because of my obesity and negative mindset. That's to be expected. But it's the life I'm living, it's 'my' life, and it's so much more full and beautiful and precious than I thought possible. My darling Mum has had it right all along when she's told us down the years to "count your blessings". Not sure I truly understood what she meant until now.

So is this just about the weight I've lost? No, I don't think for one moment that it is. But it probably comes from some of the lessons I've learned along the way. Maybe, just maybe I have grown up a little and learned to love the person in this skin... just a wee bit. To count those blessings and to see a little more worth in the person I am. Sure it's taken a while, but that's OK, so did shedding that 'fat' cocoon I hid myself away in.

This journey isn't over, despite my finding myself at a weight I never dreamed I'd see again. My journey will continue for the rest of my life, to keep the healthier body I now have in decent order and, hopefully, to improve it further (she says, glancing down at the loose skin and saggy belly). It will take hard work and dedication and motivation, just like losing the weight has done. I'm sure the journey will have it's high sunny mountain tops and deep dark valleys, like everything in life. But I must remember why I began the journey in the first place, and not hide from the fact that I did damage to myself when I didn't look after the precious thing I have - 'me'.

So, a note to self - remembering ALL of your past, not hiding from it and avoiding it's bad parts to concentrate on only the good, is a positive thing. Being mindfully 'aware' of the good things that 'now' has to offer (like health, life, fun and especially good things like my beloved lovely hubby) is something to take time to notice, reflect on and appreciate each and every day.

There's a quote I stumbled upon recently (don't know who from) which reaffirms this, and says so much more to me.

“One day at a time - this is enough. Do not look back and grieve over the past for it is gone; and do not be troubled about the future, for it has not yet come. Live in the present, and make it so beautiful it will be worth remembering.”


Vickie said...

I went back and visited my pictures (first college to present and then baby to college) and had a very similar experience. I thought it was going to be really painful and difficult, but it wasn't. It was like I was at a place where I could objectively sort things out in my mind and my feelings. I understood what was going on then and how that impacted me now, in a way that didn't bring me to my knees/sink me.

Deniz said...

Hi Vickie. Isn't it funny that our fears are what trip us every time. Reality is often nowhere near as scary.

South Beach Steve said...

Deniz, it is great to be able to appreciate and enjoy the past, rather than loathe it. We can't change a thing about it, so we ought to just appreciate it for what it was!

The Crazy Woman Inside Me said...

What a wonderful post, Deniz! Now I fully understand what you meant in your comment on my blog this morning.

It's nice to share similar paths.

May your journey continue to bring you joy.


Deniz said...

Thanks Steve and Susan.

I think I've learned a lot in the past few years and my past is no longer a thing to run away from.

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