I began a series the other day on becoming stronger. There are many facets to a person, and just as many that need strengthening and maintenance.
Consider a crystal in its most natural, perfect form. There are a variety of crystals but for the sake of this post, keep in mind the euhedral crystal. This is most likely what comes to mind: perfect flat surfaces, clear or white, six-sided, pointy at the top. This describes the macro-characteristics of perhaps the quartz crystal.
Like a crystal, these facets may appear perfect to the untrained or new eye. The more you look at it, however, the more imperfections you will see, the incomplete process to becoming the most perfect crystalline structure. One person will see these flaws and find them hideous and unwanted; others, however, will find the beauty in such imperfections.
Those who detest and reject such imperfections perhaps do not understand the micrscopic features and the process to becoming a crystalline structure. On the other hand, perhaps their own experiences have encouraged them to seek and understand the value of crystals with fewer imperfections.
People are often judged on the “love at first site” phenomenon. But as time passes and the people grow to know one another, they begin to see the other’s flaws, the imperfections, the cuts and scrapes, the holes, the bulges. They either love them deeper or reject them.
Even diamonds have flaws.
They’re graded on scales regarding their inclusions and clarity. It has been said some people prefer the inclusions and flaws, attesting to the revelation of the process of the creation. On the other hand, there are those who prefer the perfectly flawless with perfectly cut facets.
Even flawed diamonds refract and reflect light into rainbows.
You, wonderful person, possess macro- and micro-characteristics.
There is an external part of you that others see. At first and all at once, you are beautiful to any passer-by. The light hits your face and you glow. You have a beautiful smile. You do good things. Your laugh is contagious. You’re congenial. These are macro-characteristics.
But there is more to you.
The crystalline structure is incredibly strong. And it doesn’t matter the opinion of others. The crystal does not care. It continues its process. Sometimes this process involves metamorphism.
Metamorphism. This is the phase I am in.
My crystalline structure was what it was and many loved it, flaws and all. And now I feel as though I am going through a metamorphosis that will strengthen me.
The perspective I now have on life and humanity is vastly different from the one I had 20 years ago, and even different from how I viewed life 10 months ago. If I had to choose the date the metamorphosis actually began, it would have been 11 years ago when my baby boy had just turned three years-old and injured his eye, an injury that would eventually lead to permanent blindness in his left eye. I questioned my beliefs and it troubled me for years.
The metamorphosis sent me on a quest to understand religion and humanity. The quest led me here typing this blog post, sharing with you all the process of becoming the woman I need myself to be. The research has been a long, slow process. I’ve crossed paths with some people I would deem horrible human beings. But I have also crossed paths–sometimes joined paths–with some incredible people and interesting ideas. They presented challenging questions that have only led to more questions and more answers and more questions. In summary, as you know by now, I have become obsessed with the Norse culture of the Middle Ages.
I am becoming stronger.
As I grow through this metamorphosis, my crystalline structure will be strengthened. I needed to be melted down, mixed with other elements and put under intense pressure to become a stronger woman. My original crystalline elements are still there, the core of who I am: my character, my personality, my soul. Knowledge and experiences have been added. The deep, intellectual and oft spiritual conversations I have had with people remain an integral part of me.
People do not believe me when I say I am shy because I have become stronger, more able to get out of my shell and take that first step. What they do not witness, however, is the battle raging deep within as I struggle to speak to a stranger, confront someone I know is upset with me, or travel alone. I choose to overcome the fear of rejection in favor of the plethora of positive outcomes. Each time I make this choice, I become stronger.
Many people are also not aware of the pain I carry in my heart. I usually only share this with those within my inner circle, yet I feel compelled to share it more openly, as it demonstrates the parts of me I feel most vulnerable but my friends revere as incredible strength. The pain of being a mother away from her children, the pain from the loss of parents, the pain of three failed marriages. Most people are not aware because I keep those emotions safely tucked away in perfect little virtual treasure boxes and I choose to not let them keep me down or ruin my day. Some days are more difficult than others, yes; however, I make it a point to live life, to do more than just exist.
The pressure through this process of metamorphosis is intense, sometimes seemingly unbearable. Some days I face them alone because I feel I have to order to become stronger. But there is also strength in knowing I have an intimate circle ready and willing to come to my aid sooner than a moment’s notice. They are the best friends anyone could ever dream of knowing.
I’m not going to sugarcoat it. There’s no sense in softening it.
Becoming stronger is awful at times. It hurts and sometimes the pain lasts for days. The pressure is uncomfortable, the heat scorching. But it is so worth it. When the granite or marble is complete, the sculpting can begin. Hang in there, my friend. You are a beautiful work of art in progress, getting stronger each day.