Metamorphosis ~ Emerging From Darkness

http://barbiedoll.deviantart.com/art/Metamorphosis-The-Butterfly-30273565?fullview=1

Metamorphosis ~ The Butterfly ~ © Barbiedoll 2006-2011

“Life is a journey, not a destination.”
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

It’s been nearly five months since I finally took the leap of faith & began my adventure into the world of blogging. As I’d intended, it’s been therapeutic as well as enjoyable for the most part. That’s not to say it’s been the least bit easy or even entirely comfortable for me to actually learn to speak my mind & voice my own opinions.

Most who knew me prior to my embarking upon this journey know that I’m constantly striving to be there for everyone—remaining the consummate happy-go-lucky cheerleader, somehow managing to be the pillar to lean on & the shoulder to cry on, ready on-call 24/7 with the right thing to say or do to pull someone else out of a slump, researching for hours or even days the answers they sought if I didn’t know right off the top of my head, helping to urge them on in their own personal battles or journeys, trying to give them the validation they sought for their point of view or actions whether I agreed or disagreed, or even spending money my family could ill-afford to spend in order to help a friend in need. I did my best never to offend anyone unless I was defending a loved one, at which point I have a tendency to become a fierce force to be reckoned with—the very personification of tooth, fang, & claw. In other words, for the most part, I was literally living the quote from Walt Disney’s movie, “Bambi”—“If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.”

Can you even begin to imagine how physically, spiritually, & emotionally draining it is maintaining that persona day in & day out—especially for someone like me who, as you’ve likely read on the ‘About Cari’ page of this site, has Fibromyalgia, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, along with several of the cohorts (including depression) that seem to tag along with those illnesses? Well, somewhere along the way of trying to maintain that persona, I’d lost an extremely important person in my life. Myself. While I regret none of the things I’ve done for others or the opinions I’ve previously kept to myself in order prevent an argument or hurting another’s feelings, I’ve come to the realization that, despite having done all those things for others, there is absolutely no one I can depend on to assist me in reclaiming the pieces of me that I’ve lost or shattered along the rocky tumble of this downward spiral except for myself.

Blogging is the path I’ve chosen to take in an attempt to pull myself out of the cavernous wasteland to which that downward spiral leads—a place which I’ve nicknamed ‘the dark place’. Sure, there are days when I’m only dangling my toes on the ledge of this seemingly bottomless abyss. Days during which I’m relatively content with life. However, for the better part of at least the past two years, the days when it seems as though I can’t even see a single shaft of daylight from the depths of that abyss, let alone a friend holding a rope to help pull me up that wasn’t attached to some personal need of their own, have far outnumbered those during which I can.

I’d contemplated starting a blog for nearly a year prior to actually making the leap five months ago into this vast unknown of publicly sharing my thoughts & opinions on various topics. I’ve been slightly heavy on the op-ed type pieces, but those have been both therapeutic for me as well as giving me hope of the possibility of being ‘discovered’ or hired to write freelance op-ed type articles.

In these past five months I’ve learned, however, through reading various other blogs & articles, that if I should ever attempt to make another leap into the realm of writing fiction novels—a thought that has crossed my mind from time to time throughout my life, but one that I’d shelved for the time being until I’d first gotten my feet wet by having my thoughts out in the open in the ‘blogosphere’—I’d be better off refraining from expressing any opinion that may be deemed controversial or offensive to someone for fear of losing a potential readership of a potential novel.

“To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

Now I find myself at an impasse, albeit one I intend to turn into another crossroad in my journey. I’m virtually stalled as to where to go from here—finding myself constantly worrying about offending anyone & again playing a ‘what-if’ game in my head. I can either continue to write as I had been prior to stalling out & hope that, if I ever choose to write a novel, people will be appreciative of an author who’d always been honest & forthright in expressing her opinions back when she first got her start by blogging—an author they’d ‘gotten to know’, so to speak—or I can err on the side of caution & at least take a more balanced approach to my blog. What I absolutely cannot do is go back to being completely untrue to who I am by writing only happy-go-lucky things & showing no opinion whatsoever about things that may be controversial, but that matter to me. Considering that’s the unhealthy way I was living my life, I can hardly imagine it being a healthy or productive way to write, regardless of what the future may or may not hold.

Therefore, for better or for worse, I have chosen to not give up my self-expression entirely, but to at least take a more balanced approach to my blogging. If something arises that I’ve got a passionate opinion about, it’s likely I’m still going to write about it. However, the balance will come from something my Mom taught me a long time ago when I was having trouble with bullies in elementary & middle school. She’d let me vent about the bad things that had happened that day, try to help me work through them, & then require me to name three good things that had happened or that I’d learned that day.

Mom’s 3:1 ratio of positive versus negative was a good practice for my life back then & I’m hopeful it will be a good practice for my blog now. So, for every ‘controversial’ rant I may write, I will make every effort to write two to three articles about ‘good’ things—such as a happy memoir, a wonderful book I’ve read, friends I’ve made so far along this blogging journey, & the like.

“Don’t be too timid and squeamish about your actions. All life is an experiment. The more experiments you make the better.” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

To those of you who have stood by me through the beginnings of this journey of writing my way out of my dark place, I humbly thank you & hope that you will remain by my side as I continue to learn, grow, evolve, & transform myself into something even more.

As always, your thoughts are appreciated. Blessed Be. ~ Cari ~

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15 responses to “Metamorphosis ~ Emerging From Darkness

  1. Oh Cari, please stay YOU – all the way. Who you are as a person has touched my heart. I read this post through misty eyes, a swelling heart, and deep admiration for a girl named Cari who refuses to give up…

  2. Cari the more I read the more I adore you! You mirror so much of what I think and feel and you could not have wrote this more honestly,eloquently and quite simply any more beautiful. Writing comes from the soul and if you are not honest in your writing then you are just not being true to yourself. I too have suffered endlessly from lack of confidence in myself and my writing and it took me simply forever to even admit to anyone that I was a writer. For me, writing is the best therapy and what’s more you don’t have to pay extortionate fee’s to a shrink either 🙂
    Carry on writing sweetheart, your words are so worthy of the page.

  3. What a beautiful journey and post. You capture a struggle I think is common for many writers here when you talk about how you can’t just do “happy go lucky.” I often wonder as my characters come to life whether some not-so-pretty action or personality trait will upset someone I know and love who reads my work, because it reminds them of themselves. And just as often, I realize some far-from-perfect character is an awful lot like me, and that gives me pause to think. It is a tough but in its own way wonderful part of the process : ).

  4. Just beautiful 🙂 and you have a great mom!

    • Thank you so much, sweetie! You’re quite wonderful, yourself, you know. 🙂 Yes, I was most definitely blessed when God & Goddess chose that phenomenally inspiring woman to be my Mom. I’m thankful each & every day for her.

  5. I really enjoyed your post, Cari. It really touched me. I’ve been through a similar “reinvention” of my own that I blogged about (not to threadjack, but it’s here: http://wp.me/p1AcNk-6)–also 5 months ago, I just realized. I know exactly what you mean about trying to be nice. I learned in therapy that I’m a people-pleaser. But you know, I’ve had more comments on the “ignorance” post that you also commented on than any other. In it I just spoke my mind and didn’t censor myself (too much). It’s hard for me to do. Just wanted you to know I’m rooting for you in your journey.

    • I’m so happy you enjoyed it, Donna, & I’m very glad you ‘threadjacked’ so that I could see your post about reinvention. That showed me that it’s okay at 36 years old to still be learning growing, evolving, & changing as I blog & that I’m not alone in doing so. I read the date of your reinvention blog & was amazed at how close in timing the birth of my dipping my toes into writing publicly was to your blog about transformation. Was there something in the air in the month of May? 😉

      As for your blog on ignorance–which any of you reading this need to go read ( http://www.donnakfitch.com ) because it’s terrific–attracting more commentary than usual, my bet is that it was because the passion of your conviction was so tangible in that post that folks couldn’t help but respond. There must be balance in all things. If we censor ourselves too much in our writing, we come off as phony & lose ourselves in the process. Conversely, if we don’t at least censor ourselves a little bit, we come off as raving ranters who many won’t take a second glance at. That was the primary reason I wrote this particular post & why I took so long weighing out how I was going to achieve that balance. Although there are several entries that are heartfelt & non-controversial, there were a few too many in which I hadn’t pulled up on the reins at least a little bit. This post is about finding that delicate balance in between while still remaining true to who I am–I’m definitely not all politics & I’m definitely not all fluffy puppies ‘n sunshine, either. I don’t think any of us are.

      Thank you for cheering me on through my journey & growing pains, Donna, & know that I am doing the same for you. Welcome to my crazy little piece of the blogosphere. 😀

  6. What lovely & inspirational writings. Having been through my own physical drawbacks (I was in a fire), I found your words heart-felt. Thank you for sharing your world… best, Claire

    • Thank you so much, Claire, & welcome to my little world. 🙂 Sometimes I can be inspirational & at other times confrontational, but I always hold hope within my heart that, whatever I’ve written, I’ve at least touched someone deeply enough to help them try to see things from a different perspective. I applaud you for bravely getting through your own physical drawbacks as I know that takes more courage & determination than many realize. At times, those who’ve been fortunate enough to have not experienced such things just don’t understand but, while my illness may be ‘invisible’, please trust that I understand & hope that you remain courageous & let nothing stand in the way of having your voice be heard. The world needs more ‘audacious’ women in it who, agree or disagree with each other, stand up for what we believe in, allow no one the power to hold us back from what we’re capable of achieving, & engage in wonderfully intelligent conversations. That’s how we learn, grow, & evolve… for me that’s what my blogging journey is all about. Blessed Be. ~ Cari ~

  7. What a sweet note from your mother, Cari. I see a lot of hurt and a lot of growth in your post. I hope I’ve been on the side that has helped you grow and not the side that has hurt you. I think you have a lot to offer to the world. Go for it.

    • Hi David. No worries. Please be assured that, while there really are no ‘sides’ as most of my hurts have been self-inflicted from trying too hard to keep everyone else but myself happy over the years (along with a few too many doses of bullying I took for awhile when I was younger–kids are not always the kindest creatures in the world, hence Mom’s invention of the ‘3 good things’ rule to try to keep me from being completely blind to the positive things in life), you have been very helpful in my growth process. After all, you’re the first person who thought enough of my writing to ask me to guest blog–essentially allowing me to spread my wings & use my voice on a space other than my own–for which I am thankful.

      You also saw something in my writing that I hadn’t & may never have seen–a potential to be a novelist–& gently made sure I knew what I was getting into with my blog in order to prevent me from flying too far blind & accidentally breaking my wings in the process before I’d really even given myself a fair chance to test them out. I am also, of course, grateful for that as well as for your support & friendship. 🙂

  8. Though you have always thought of yourself as a caterpillar, those of us that know you,know you have always been a butterfly. It’s so exciting to see you let yourself fly. You are so amazing and so VERY loved and respected. Following you on your journey, always ~ M.~

    • Sarah, I thank you so much, love & respect you, too. You know how hard it’s always been throughout the years for me to ever see myself as anything more than a caterpillar, but I’m trying my best to be the butterfly that others have seen & I suppose that’s what truly matters when all is said & done. I know I sure wouldn’t have learned to be more ‘audacious’ without you nudging me along & telling me to quit worrying about what everyone else thinks all the time. 😉

  9. Cari, Thank you for the honor of remembering what I taught you way back in the day. We all have “bad” issues that flow in and out of our lives each day, each hour, but there are also blessing that we fail to see because we become so mired in the “bad”. I am so joyful to hear that you are once again going to try to view the “good”. I love you uncondtionally, I hope that being said, it can be one of the “good” things today. Peace, Love and Happiness Forever and Ever. Mom

    • Thanks, Mom, for everything–all that you are, all that you’ve taught me, & all that the future holds. When I realized I needed to find a better balance between my more rant-ish blog posts & the good things I’ve blogged about, I immediately heard your voice saying, “Now tell me 3 good things about today.” There are simply some words of wisdom that never leave us as we walk life’s journey & never has there been a phrase more applicable to what I desire for my blogging/writing journey than that. There will still be controversial subjects now & then, of course. You know me & I can’t change who I am, nor should I continue to damage myself by trying to please everyone all the time. Venting is therapeutic & can also help me to learn & grow through conversations that emerge from it. There shall simply be more blog entries about the ‘good’ things in life than there are about the controversial. I love you, Mom. 🙂

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