How To Be A Butterfly

by Tameko L. Barnette

"You ain't never gonna be cute enough to be a model like those women on television," I remember my stepfather saying to me when I was just seven years old.

The reality was I never wanted to be a model like the women on television, but I wanted to believe that I was a beautiful little girl who possessed a lot of potential and inner power. When a child is surrounded by such negative energy she can't help but believe the words from her parental role models. "She can be anything she want to be when she grow up," I remember my mother saying in response to my stepfather's rude comment. My mother's strength and positive energy kept me sane and surpassed all of his negative comments. Yet, I couldn't help but take those negative thoughts with me throughout elementary, middle school, senior high school, and adulthood.

Children are very impressionable people. Even more than adults to some degree. As children, we tend to believe whatever someone tells us about ourselves, because we're entering various stages of life when our self-image, self-esteem, and self-confidence are being developed. The comments of other children can permeate every corner of a child's psyche and slowly but surely chip away at a child's spirit. This is what happened to me as a youth.

Negative comments, negative energy, and negative people in my life broke down the very essence of my own self-image, self-esteem, and self-confidence. I started to think to myself, "Well, maybe I'm not beautiful. Maybe I'm not smart. Maybe I'm not strong." These negative thoughts and many others repetitously presented themselves in my mind and my spirit well into my adult years.

It wasn't until 1999 that I started to do much soul searching about my life, my purpose, and my persona. During the past ten months of this year, I've realized that I am a beautiful individual. I've realized that I am an intelligent adult woman who has much to offer friends, family, lovers, and the world, if I only apply myself and believe that which is spiritually true about myself. And the spiritual truth is that I'm a child of God. We all are His children. This truth confirms that I am made in a divine image. The divine image of God is beautiful, powerful, and worthy of all praise. Also, one must understand that the divine image is all about the spirit. Which simply means that self- image, self-esteem, and self-confidence starts within and will show on the outside to all who come in contact with us.

I had to learn these simple truths the hard way realizing I couldn't base my own self-perception according to what others thought of me. It seems like these things are common sense, but there are a lot of women including myself that have dealt with these issues for a long time. It's not just society that create false images and unfair standards on the shoulders of young, impressionable females in this country, it's a problem that can be traced to the home as well. Whether it's skintone, weight, height, facial features, etc. We are given false images to follow and revolve our lives around in the one place we seek security, safety, and truth....our homes.

However, we should look to the butterfly. As butterflies lie in their cocoons they are developing into an image that is all their own. Once they break free from their shells, they fly above everything in all their beauty and splendor. Whether they're accepted or not doesn't matter to them. They just continue to fly high. Ascending into a greatness that leave others dumbfounded. Shouldn't we do the same?

How To Be A Butterfly by Tameko L. Barnette

© Copyright 1999. All rights reserved. No portion of this work may be duplicated or copied without the expressed written consent of the author.

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