Every Rainbow Cloud has a Glitter Lining
When I grew up, I wanted to be a fairy.
Needless to say, this belief lead to some less than empowering altercations with my primary school classmates. I honestly didn’t understand why I couldn’t be what I wanted, but as I grew older and societal expectations formed my daydreaming soul, I abandoned this dream, allowing it to be packed up and put away in the storage facility of my mind, collecting dust and being forgotten.
Now, before you start freaking out - no - I’m not here to tell you that I’ve decided to make a pair of wings, cover myself in glitter, move to the forrest and be a fairy. I am here, exploring a way to honour my child-self and her dreams with my adult powers.
When I was 17, I made a very conscious decision to abhor all things ‘girly’. I was sick of being called the Goody-Goody, the Teachers Pet and the Good Little Christian Girl. I knew that those titles weren’t me, but no one was taking the time to find out who I was. I started listening to metal music, dressed in black, drank beer, ate steak and prided myself on the fact I didn’t make a wincing face when I took a shot of tequila (once I had turned 18 and could legally drink haha #stillagoodygoody). I tried in every way I could think of to buff myself up, just to watch people freak out when they found out the things I was into.
“So, you think you know who I am just by looking at me? Hahaha well think again!”
In the last ten years, only two things have caused me to shift in this defiance.
1. Becoming Vegan
Deciding to go vegan was a catalyse for so much change. I learnt new things about myself, my health, how I relate to the world, animals and to others, and it ultimately lead me to art. A lot of noise in my mind lifted when I changed to a plant-based diet. I could hear my true self clearer than ever, and inspiration came to me in beautiful ways I’d never experienced before, almost supernatural in its occurrence.
One Sunday afternoon I had this overwhelming need to paint. I ran around like a crazy person grabbing as many supplies as I could, and set them all up on the balcony of my little rental place. I painted and painted into the early hours of the morning, woke up the next day and kept going. After a pretty clear sign from the Lord that He had plans for my paintings, I threw myself into my art and making something of it.
I had a strange moment, however, at my second art showcase last year. I had just finished setting up my gallery section, making sure everything was level and what I’d envisioned. I took a step back surveying my works… and then it hit me. I had painted in pink.
PINK?! I hate pink!
What the hell was I thinking?! This isn’t me! I love black, and skulls, and horror and darkness, why is everything I’ve created PINK?! I stood there, actually dumbfounded, and hated it. I hated what I’d painted. I almost felt ashamed. I wanted tear it all down and hope to god no one had seen it.
In the following months, however, I noticed something interesting. Whenever there was an opportunity to express myself, colour would come out. Bright colour, rainbow colour, and more than once glitter too. I couldn’t understand it, but as much as I would go to paint darker spectrums, nothing would come through. I got so frustrated at myself; I couldn’t understand why I wasn’t portraying who I was. Or, who I thought I was.
A couple of months ago, a conversation with my sister changed everything. We were talking about my creative frustrations and how mad I was at not being who I wanted to be, and she mentioned - just so off the cuff - how mad she was that I was bullied as a kid for believing in fairies. I’d felt ashamed, as though there was something wrong with me, causing me to not accept my true self and hide who I really was. BOOM! Like a shot-gun that one sentence rang throughout my entire being. Of course! How had I forgotten that?
I loved fairies. They made me feel safe and seen and gave the world a hint of magic. I would pour over story books searching for them. I even wrote a book about entering the fairy realm through a wordrobe for my year six book week presentation (which I got a High Distinction on).
What did you believe in as a child? What did you want to ‘grow up’ to be when you were 5, 6 or 7 years old? When did you stop wanting to do that, be that, love that?
After spending time thinking about my 6 year old self with sparkles on her cheeks, running around wearing fairy wings, I chose to accept her. I accept her erratic mind, her story book soul, her fairy heart. Even though I am all grown up, wear a lot of black and listen to music which would probably have made her cry, she is still a part of me. Accepting all parts of myself - my child self, my shadow self, my adult self and the self that loves to giggle and dance like a loon - has been one of the most grounding and honouring practices I’ve done. Its given me the freedom to create what feels natural to me, write the honest sentences which dance through my mind, and paint in technicolour dreams. Freedom of expression is all I’ve wanted as a creative and as an adult.
Little did I know she was dancing in the backyard, with fairy wings on her back and sparkles on her cheeks.