Tea Reflection: Coming out of my cocoon

I had a couple of other ideas for a Tea Reflection, but I feel like this topic should be my priority at the moment. This week has been full of important changes for me — nothing crazy happened, I didn’t do anything or go anywhere special, I just sort of had an internal epiphany, all the while having a fairly normal week at uni (which, fittingly, reminds me of what I wrote in this post about being able to experience things during completely ordinary days).

And it’s been such a major and important epiphany for me that it warrants its own post in my blog.

You might have noticed this if you are a person I know from real life, but here’s the thing: all my life, I’ve pretty much always been a meek and quiet person. When I was a kid, I would rarely talk and I never, ever disobeyed my parents. My mother used to say all the time, “If you tell her to sit somewhere, she’ll sit and wait for you for hours, until you come back,” to other parents as she bragged about how well-mannered and non-problematic I was as a child.

This carried over in my teenage years and into most of my 20s. There were some times during my teenage years where I acted “crazy” and almost looked extroverted, but they were mostly isolated, one-off episodes. Still, due to this, for the longest time I considered myself a shy person, and that I “needed to become comfortable” with people before I truly “opened up” to them.

For the most part, this description of me has fit me quite well for the past decade or so. But now… I don’t feel like that’s the case anymore.

I realised this just a few days ago, but now that it’s hit me, I cannot unsee it: I have changed.

It hasn’t happened overnight, as no change usually ever does. I have simply noticed it and it’s been confirmed to me by some of my friends as well.

I really feel like I have become more confident since I’ve started my new degree; and as the degree has progressed and I’ve grown during it, I feel like there has been a significant change in me and in my behaviour / personality… And it’s all because of this new path I’m on and the new people I’ve met and become friends with.

It’s very hard to describe, as a feeling and as a phenomenon, but it’s undeniable that I have somehow become less meek, less afraid of speaking up, and more confident in myself. I don’t doubt myself as a person as much as I used to do (especially during the depressive years) and I very rarely, if ever, think of myself as “a failure” — whatever that may entail.

And I am extremely happy about this.

At various points during my life, I thought I was weak. Whenever I was bullied, or made fun of, or attacked, I felt like I could never stand up for myself, unless I was truly pushed to my limit; and even then, I still kept trying my best to be polite, to not offend, to not burn bridges.

I felt I was weak for so long, but I was also resigned: I thought this was just who I was. I was stuck with myself — with this meek version of me — and I felt I could never change it, no matter how hard I tried. I just wasn’t a confident type of person — that’s what I kept telling myself. “It’s just not me.”

I learned to then live with my meekness, and I tried to embrace my quietness for a very long time. At times it was easy; other times it was hard. Sometimes I liked myself and thought I had accepted myself; other times I’d be beating myself up and giving myself a hard time again. I was always in two-minds about this aspect of myself. I didn’t want to be loud and obnoxious and just talk for talking’s sake; but I also wanted to have just that little confidence necessary to speak my mind when I wanted to make a point, to express an opinion I’d quietly thought over for a while.

But no more of this; no more of these conflicting feelings about myself and the kind of person that I am versus who I want to be. I’ve wanted to be at peace with myself for the longest time — to accept myself but also to better myself, to be even a little bit the person that I wished I could be.

Now, I truly feel like I have the confidence necessary to even tell people to bugger off if need be. After 27 years of being alive, I finally feel like I’m turning into the butterfly I wanted to be when I was younger.

I deliberately did not title this post “coming out of my shell” — I called it “coming out of my cocoon.” I prefer to look at myself as a butterfly, which is pretty fitting, as a butterfly has been an important symbol for me (to the point that I’ve toyed a lot in the past with the idea of a butterfly tattoo). I’m slowly, but surely changing and morphing into myself — my true self — as time passes and I grow as a person, just like a butterfly in a cocoon.

I don’t know if I’m done with my morphing just yet, but it feels pretty close.

This week, I had a strong bout of anxiety, because of political news and factors I felt were totally out of my control. The anxiety stayed for a day or two… but then, out of the blue, I decided to fight back. I decided to take control (as much as I could) of what was making me anxious. My fire for political issues was rekindled and reborn, like a phoenix from its ashes. I want to fight for a better future, for me, for those people I love and for everybody else. I had grown tired and apathetic, even resigned, over politics in the past few years; but now I see that not fighting, giving up, being disinterested… it’s wrong. I cannot and will not do it.

Yes, this newfound fighting spirit is somewhat related to and was sparked by politics — but it’s just a part of the puzzle of my confidence, which has been growing ever since I started this degree, which has undeniably helped me and changed me.

I thought this degree was just going to help me artistically and career-wise… but it’s been so much more than that. It’s helped me meet some brilliant friends and it has had an impact on me, as a whole. I really don’t think the me of a year ago would have felt this way or been able to write this post if I hadn’t started this degree and changed my life radically by moving to another city as well.

The me of a year or two ago feels so distant… and like a totally different person. I feel so different… and I love it. I’ve finally stopped stagnating, which was my constant worry when I used to live in my previous small town.

I am taking shape more and more and I am really proud of myself.

2 thoughts on “Tea Reflection: Coming out of my cocoon”

  1. I don’t want to say I’m proud of you because that doesn’t sound right and implies that you were doing something wrong before. I am happy for you though, and that you’re able to process these changes in a positive way. You might find it useful to look into animal totems if you’re finding yourself identifying more and more with the aspect of a butterfly.

  2. I love this! I am proud of you too! May your morphing bring you to new, wonderful places and phases in your life : ) Thank you for sharing your reflection on your own growth, it’s inspiring to hear about, and as your friend I’m quite happy about it : )

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