Why yes, this is in fact an actual photograph of me holding onto what is left of my youth, my good health, and apparently a false sense of dignity.
The origins of the word metamorphosis are tied to the Greek word for transformation. Transformation, is defined as a process by which one figure, expression, or function is converted into another one of similar value.
I still remember stumbling across that first abyss, which turned out to be my first metamorphosis; losing the innocent and free-spirited essence of that young, prepubescent being. Semi-realising that from a particular point on, I would be forever changed; knowing I was to be redefined, re-labeled and judged in my success (or failure) as a female, a woman, a sexual creature, a partner, or even mother!
The changes that were thrust upon me way back then were much more abrupt and hideous than the ever constant, more subtle changes I have experienced in the last decade.
Back then, there were bumps and curves, pimples and strange monthly occurrences that sent my young, naive, free-spirited self into hiding forever!
A similar, but much different life force, emerged on the other side of that chasm; she was quite peculiar, self-conscious, uncomfortable in her own skin, and wholly embarrassed by her very existence!
It took a long time for me to come to grips with that transformation and to shake off the grief and feelings of loss I had for that innocent lost in the process…
I found the whole experience, nothing short of heartbreaking.
Years later, having reluctantly settled into my new, more womanly aura… I unexpectedly discovered it was time to transform once again. This time, the evolution transformed me from a young, self-confident, vibrant, sexual creature into someone more gentle, mature, loving, giving and maternal.
Becoming a Mother was one of the most phenomenal sea changes EVER!
My entire existence took a full 180º and everything that I thought I believed about myself, about life and about unconditional love came under profound scrutiny and had to be reconsidered, re-examined, re-defined and re-evaluated.
I found the whole experience, nothing short of miraculous.
However, with the day-to-day drudgery of life, work, routine, boredom and sameness… I soon settled into this transmutation and it too became rote.
Years passed. I became numb, stagnant and seemingly unaltered.
Then, slowly, indistinctly, almost overlooked by me a new and quite insidious transformation began to take place; MENOPAUSE. The biological clock stop, climacteric, the change of life.
This mutation of me was long and arduous. It took its toll on me over many years. It didn’t help that I was experiencing complex grief after having lost my brother. That just exacerbated the entire, relentless process.
As I teetered on the edge of this vortex, I could actually feel myself slipping away; my youth, my vibrancy, my essence… it oozed out slowly from each and every pore of my being into the dry, dead earth.
I found the whole experience, nothing short of hell.
Ahhh, but alas, as all things do… this too passed.
I made tentative peace with the fact that I was ageing, I accepted the benefits in realising there would be no more children and I tried to see the humour in the fact that my body parts had acquired “minds” of their own and that “Yes,” even my spectacular breasts, were in fact subject to the laws of nature!
Reaching my 60s wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. I didn’t feel particularly old, I didn’t think I looked particularly old and I didn’t have any of those pesky illnesses that sometimes pop up when you’re in your late 50s or early 60s.
Things were okay… I felt like I was in control and cruising into my “golden years.”
I would surely die before I got really old or god forbid sickly, right? (See previous thoughts on my “best laid plans” to grow old gracefully >>> https://wp.me/p4O3T4-1Gn
Well, we are now a little more than 3 years on and as my Mom used to say, “…the best laid plans of mice and men.”
It’s a bit sad, somewhat scary and surprisingly liberating to write this next sentence…
“I truly believe I am standing on the threshold of what will be my final metamorphosis.”
I foresee three messy, overlapping, intertwined stages;
The void I stand before now is, in and of itself, quite unique as I know I will eventually transition through to another place/level/state/consciousness… but I have absolutely no idea to where I will transition or what I will transition as (if anything); but it is, to be sure, my final transformation.
Having recently lost the last surviving member of my original childhood family, along with turning 63 and being diagnosed with, not one, but two auto immune diseases that are quite literally kicking my ass, I think about old age, ill-health and death a lot!
I can no longer pretend that I will be unaffected from the ravages of time or that I, simply because I have willed it to be so, will be spared old age and ill-health and die gently and easily in the middle of the night.
It’s far more probable that I too will have to navigate this black hole of uncertainly, deal with my frailties and accept the indignities of my own humanness.
Am I ready? No
Am I scared? Yes.
Can I do this? Absolutely.
Why? … because I believe this experience will be nothing short of mind-blowing!