I never learned to trust myself. I had every decision made for me. This person that I came to embody was not me, she was some hybrid concoction made out of random materials and held together by a string of question-marks.

I didn’t like the look or sound of her, she smelled strange and tasted funny. She had no wings and couldn’t fly. She hid, mistaking solitude for safety. How could I love or trust her?

I was free at last, at least I thought I was. I thought this was what freedom looked like. There were no expectations on me at all. I didn’t have to please anyone, not even myself. I didn’t have to pick up my clothes or answer the phone or go anywhere I didn’t want to go.

I didn’t need to make small talk or bite my tongue around others because there were no others. But this did not satisfy the huge love and longing I had for life when I first arrived in this world.

I wanted to belong, I wanted to matter, I wanted to dance with laughter and companionship and fill my days with colourful adventure.This was not that, this was the in-between, where one goes to lick one’s wounds and heal.

But you can’t convalesce forever. I lingered too long, my muscles grew slack and constricted.  The time had arrived for taking stock and rebuilding.

Rehabilitation required shedding the old skin, becoming naked and vulnerable as I released this creature from the past, the caterpillar whose stories no longer fit, from chains that hemmed me in and constricted me until I could hardly breathe.

A butterfly was forming and her wings needed the light of day so they could harden and become my true skin, one that fit, with colours that looked like the full spectrum of the rainbow that is me.

This is the way to life, to ourselves. We might arrive bruised and torn, tired and wounded, but we will arrive because we have no other choice. We can’t go back, we have shed our old skin that was too small for us and we are growing into a new one.

One day we will unfold our wings and know how to use them. We will see that we were being guided the whole way by the breadcrumbs of those who went before us. So we watch for the signs and stumble on, letting moon magic shine on the path that leads us to our rainbow selves.

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