My kids are both back in school – one in college, the other in high school. This time of year always feels like a fresh start that is ripe with the potential of things to come. I bet there are a lot of people, like me, who get a burst of energy and creativity when school starts. Exciting, new projects…here I come! I have had a loooong, difficult end to the summer. My beloved Golden Retriever, Cooper, has had health issues. He’s on the mend now, but I’ve spent a lot of time at home – caring for him and trying to keep him quiet so that he can recover – over the last two months. Seeing his goofy, excited, happy personality return is a fresh start in its own way.
I’m getting ready to begin a juicy, new writing project. But over the holiday weekend a different creative outlet was the focus of my attention. Making jewelry. Once upon a time, when I designed beadwork patterns, I never made jewelry just for the fun of it. While I have some pretty and very interesting jewelry from that time, I was always focused on producing patterns that I could sell to beadwork magazines. I didn’t play with my beads for a long time when I switched to writing fiction. Now, I’m getting back to working with my gigantic stash of beads. Most importantly (to me) I’m making jewelry just for myself. Simply for me to wear and enjoy. What used to be a job, now is creative play. And I couldn’t be happier – especially with the necklaces I made over the Labor Day weekend. They all contain symbols that coincide with how I live my life now. I’ll be doing a three part blog series to highlight them all.
The pendant on the necklace in this post is a cicada. It isn’t a coincidence that over the last few summers I have found cicada exoskeletons on the trees in my backyard. “Hello? This is the Universe calling. Here’s a sign. Pay attention, please.”
Over and over I found the shells that a cicada left behind on its way to becoming bigger and bolder. The insects spend, depending on the variety, anywhere from 1 to 17 years of their lives underground before emerging. Then they come out of the dirt and transform.
For most of my life my motto was: Don’t rock the boat. I was quiet. Constantly trying to be “nice”. I hated conflict, so I would bite my tongue to avoid it. People could say or do anything…and I would just put up with it to avoid an uncomfortable argument or confrontation. I let other people shovel their issues onto me until I was buried and could barely move through my own life.
A few years ago, I took a look at how I was living and realized that I had become a human doormat that was covered in everybody else’s dirt and crap. Not okay!!
Since then I have broken through the muck, shed my confining beliefs, and I am not afraid to stand up for myself. I don’t tolerate bad behavior. In a social situation, I will move away from people who don’t resonate with me. I no longer feel the need to please everyone or be liked by all. I won’t spend my time and energy on drama that someone else manufactured to draw attention to themselves (that’s a HUGE thing for me). Plus, I’ve realized that I am nowhere near as introverted as I thought I was. I still like being alone, but I am also perfectly capable of talking to strangers and really enjoying the experience. I’ve faced the fact that saying that I’m an introvert has been more of an excuse for avoiding situations and people who make me uncomfortable.
I have changed in a way that is very similar to how a cicada lives its life – moving from being in the dark, confining dirt to making some noise. So that is why I made a necklace with a huge, kind of creepy, bug pendant. I love the cicada for all that it means to me and the woman who I have become.