[CBWM-27] On archetypes and self-acceptance

I was slow to wake up this morning. It took me a while to clear the fog of sleep and coax my eyes to open. As I lay there, thinking about yesterday’s tragic event got me thinking about friendships and then high school, a time when I always felt I was standing on the edge of things.

I had some great, really close friendships in high school, yet I never felt I truly belonged. In many ways, I felt too serious and deep. I wanted to be cool and fun. And I was, sometimes, but I wasn’t fun ALL the time. I wasn’t the jokester.
I was always up for a laugh and could come out with the wittiest remarks, but I was the smart one with her feet on the ground, the wise one, the one people turned to for advice or for sharing the more serious side of life.

And oddly enough, I realised I still feel like that now, much later in life. Like I’m not the one people come to for fun; I’m the one they come to for advice or to get stuff off their chest. I’ll be honest with you: I don’t always want to be that. But maybe there isn’t much I can do about that?

One thing I did last year that had a really big impact on helping me move forward on my journey of self-acceptance was Cerries Hickmott’s Alchemy Study, based on Carl Jung’s twelve archetypes.

Learning my four most prominent archetypes was, dare I say it, life-changing for me: Ooooh! So that’s why! raven-73179-sm

My primary archetype is the Explorer. And no question about it, that couldn’t be any more accurate. This explains my constant need for freedom and movement, why I find it so hard to commit, even to just a black or white answer, why I’m constantly seeking, why I hate feeling tied down, trapped or limited. In fact, I remember filling in a questionnaire for a copywriting course about a month before doing the primary archetype test. One of the questions was: If you were to make a film about your life, what would you call it? My answer: Don’t fence me in.

A month or so later, when I did the primary archetype test, what did I discover? The Explorer’s motto: Don’t fence me in.
Knowing about my primary Explorer has helped me identify ways to work with it and around it instead of fighting against it, which has been really freeing for me and has helped me find some precious and much-needed inner peace. I still struggle, don’t get me wrong, but not nearly as much as before.

My secondary archetype is the Alchemist and this morning, after doing a quiz on Facebook !!), I suddenly understood why I struggle with it.

The quiz on Facebook was about finding out your Keirsey personality type. I came up as an Idealist:

“Idealists are abstract and compassionate day dreamers, activists, writers, diplomats, counsellors and healers. You’re the magician or medicine man of all the personality types. You’re a deeply emotional and abstract thinker with cooperative and communitarian goals. You long for deep, meaningful relationships and you constantly contemplate how you can help the common good. You’re guided by strong personal ethics, and you often have an ideology, cause, or way of viewing the world that you take very seriously. You’re easy going until someone challenges your values, at which point you can be the fiercest of opponents. At heart, you’re a natural healer with a great depth of empathy for those around you. As an Idealist, you’re in impressive company! Martin Luther King Jr., Gandhi, Eleanor Roosevelt, Princess Diana, and Oprah are all famous examples of Idealists!”

It was spot on.

My friend Lotte posted her result: the Artisan:

“You’re an Artisan! Artisans are adaptable, tactile, creative, and playful. As an artisan, you pride yourself on your grace, creativity and ability to learn new techniques or systems easily. You’re a master improviser and you have a natural gut instinct that you can always trust. You live life a day at a time, and tend to avoid long term goals and planning. YOLO has always been your motto! At heart you’re a true performer, with a deep need to channel your creativity and natural playfulness through a medium in which others can view and appreciate. This may make you a brilliant actor or painter, or maybe just the life of the party. Either way, you’re unique and truly a breath of fresh air. Cher, Bob Dylan, Woody Allen, Madonna, and Donald Trump are all famous examples of Artisans.”

And that’s when it hit me. I’m an Idealist, but I struggle with an inner urge to be more Artisan. I thought about my archetypes again, and suddenly it all became clear:

My third archetype, the Jester, is always trying to overtake the Alchemist! And I often let it, because I struggle with the deep side of the Alchemist!

The struggle between these two is constant and throws me off balance.

Great! So now I’m going to have to find a way to reconcile them.

After all, the first step to solving a problem is to identify what is causing it

What about you? Are there aspects to your personality that you constantly struggle with because they clash?

[CBWM-23] Magical snow

When we woke up this morning, a fine dusting of snow was starting to settle on the ground and plump, fluffy snowflakes were raining down from the muted grey sky.

Snow always makes me happy. There’s something magical about all that white drifting down slowly and falling softly, silently on the ground. Read more

Deep-rooted guilt

I don’t know about you, but I love meaningful conversations. In fact, it seems to me they’re about the only conversations really worth having. The other night I went for dinner with a good friend of mine, and we were lucky enough to stumble into one.

The conversation went from her husband’s desperate desire to renovate their new house himself even though he doesn’t really have the time, to talking about her latest (gorgeous) handbag. You know, as girls women do.  This got us neatly onto the topic of guilt over buying nice things.

Before this, we’d had no idea that we both suffered from the same affliction, so we compared notes. Read more

The dream

Some years ago, I had a very vivid dream.

I was in some South American city, sometime last century.

Of course being a dream, I don’t remember most of the finer details.

I didn’t look like me at all. I was with an older, frail woman whom I knew instinctively to be my mother.

There was commotion and violence all around and we feared for our lives. I could feel my heart pounding and my nerves on edge.

All around, people were running in random directions and screaming. Not I, though. I had to protect my mother. I had to keep us safe. I had to be strong for the both of us.

She was clearly sick and weak. Our survival depended on being able to get out of the city and for that we had to move fast. But she couldn’t. I had to prop her up and half carry her.

I didn’t want to lose her; she was everything to me.

Somehow we did make it out of the city, into a large green field on a hillside. There, we finally got to rest our tired, aching bodies and think about what to do next.

We fell asleep; it was night time.

We woke suddenly to the sound of boots marching along the dirt road that ran along the edge of the field.

Red coats. Guns. The army we were running from.

I bolted upright and caught sight of a soldier lifting his rifle to his shoulder to aim it straight at me.

In that split second, I grabbed my sick and frail mother and shielded myself with her body.

The shot rang out, and I bolted.

That’s when I knew everything was going to be OK. I was going to be OK.

Have you ever had a vivid dream with a powerful message for you?

The nose knows

Image courtesy of Evgeni Dinev at freedigitalphotos.net

Image courtesy of Evgeni Dinev at freedigitalphotos.net

Smells are really powerful, aren’t they?

How they can just gently transport you or even catapult you back to a certain place and time, or let you physically recall how it felt to be in someone’s arms or sitting by the ocean?

Some smells are enjoyable, comforting, fill you with happiness, and others bring back painful memories or experiences you’d rather forget.

I can no longer stand the smell of antibacterial gel – you know that stuff you have to rub over your hands in hospitals? They sell it in all different sized bottles now so you can be germ-free at all times? It makes my stomach turn. Rubbing alcohol does the same. Because it reminds me of the year or so during which I had to take my methotrexate by injection. It’s a weird feeling injecting yourself. You feel like a junkie. I remember absolutely hating feeling all those awful chemicals enter my body. I had to pinch a roll of fat on my belly and stick the needle in, then slowly inject the liquid. My tummy would always be swollen for a couple of days afterwards. But the smells were the worst part for me. My doctor finally switched me back to tablet form when I couldn’t handle them anymore. I could smell that scent everywhere and the nausea would come at least a good two hours before the needle.

And then there’s Paris by Yves Saint-Laurent. That floral scent will forever take me back to a little flat in Darling Point, Sydney, where my eldest sister lived for a time. What a happy weekend. She wasn’t allowed to have us while we spent our summer holidays in Australia with our grandparents. I think they thought she was too irresponsible. But she was about 10 years older than us and she was a model and went out with millionaires. Oh how we looked up to her.

On that particular weekend, she had managed to talk my grandma into letting her have us for the day. I must have been about 10 or 11. She got a cab all the way from the Eastern Suburbs of Sydney to the Western Suburbs where my grandparents lived. I couldn’t believe it when I saw the taxi meter. We didn’t know where she was taking us, but we were so excited.

She took us shopping for new outfits in the city centre and we went for pancakes, then she revealed her plan: she was going to call Oma and tell her she wasn’t bringing us back till the next afternoon. Oh what an adventure!!

Trésor by Lancôme takes me back to when my sister Kat had her first baby girl, Rhiannon. She was only 19 and a single mother due to a sad series of events. Mum and I gave her Trésor as a gift after the birth.

And then there are the smells that are so unique you can’t describe them.

Like the smell of my mother’s skin.

When I left for London in 1998, I wasn’t sure if I would ever get to see her again. So I stood at the airport gates and breathed her in deeply. It’s stayed with me. It’s one of my most precious possessions and no one can ever take it away from me.


Childhood memories

It was Easter long weekend and I was five or six years old.

My parents were well-known and liked on the island of Santo, and they had a lot of friends, which meant we most always had social activities planned and fun stuff to do. On this particular weekend we were invited on a friend’s boat and the plan was to head out to Bokissa Island and spend three days at the resort owned and managed by other friends of my parents.

Best mates :)

Sisters and best mates :)

We set out bright and early under a cloudless blue sky, the sun beating down on us hapily. I took my place right at the front of the big white speedboat and soon we were off, me at the front watching the boat slice a path for us in the huge expanse of water that spread out all around us, my sister at the back, looking out over the wake and the land we were leaving behind. The adults were keeping half an eye on us and chatting around the captain’s cabin.

Within an hour, the small island of Bokissa came into view and we prepared the boat for mooring before making our way onto land, to set our gear down in our respective rooms and meet at the bar for drinks prior to the midday meal.

My sister and I headed down to the pool where I’d spotted another little girl riding around on a tricycle. I went looking for her and once I’d found her I asked her to lend me her trike for a little bit so I could have a go. She just kept shaking her head. The more I begged, the more her little head shook, until finally she got sick of me and shouted out a shrill NO! before pedalling off at full speed around the pool.

I tried to run after her, but didn’t count on the edges being so slippery and before I knew it, I was falling into the deep end screaming my head off.

I could hear my sister screaming too and as her screams got further away from me I realised she was running away towards the lobby bar. Through my own screaming and tears I heard her shouting out “Come quickly! Help! Tasha’s fallen into the pool!”

And suddenly I heard the doors swing open and from where I was I saw adults streaming out of the hotel and running towards the pool, running towards my persistent screams. And then, to my horror, a half a dozen of them jumped. Some head first, some feet first, realising a second too late that the pool was empty.