When I was a little girl, my father used to give us a different kind of animal on Easter Sunday. I woke up early, listening for the sounds, wanting to creep out of bed to check it out, but knowing better.
No sounds, no boxes sitting outside, no new puppy in the yard, I wondered if he had forgotten until I saw him standing in the doorway My sister and I jumped out of bed, shoved our feet in our shoes and followed him out of the house and into the damp crawlspace. There on a mound of red dirt was a goose neck lamp hovering over a cardboard box. Bending over not to hit our heads on the beams, we saw them! Two things that looked like tiny lizards. My Daddy’s eyes lit up as he gently picked one up. “These are chameleons”, he told us. “Watch this!” Then he put a piece of red felt inside their box, laid them gently on top of it, and we watched in amazement as it slowly began to turn red! Then, green cloth and it became emerald green. We wanted to stay down there all day and if it hadn’t been for those new dresses we always got for Easter, we surely would have.
Chameleons are amazing, and it is their adaptation to changing who they are that keeps them alive. For us, however, nature didn’t intend that at all. But, we all adapt some of the time to fit in, keep the peace, be one of the gang, and often, because we are afraid to show up as who we are. But there comes a time, and my hope is that the time is now, for us to once again remove the fabric underneath us and just come back to ourselves. That self is beautiful just the way it is.
Of course it’s scary. Maybe people won’t like us the way we are. Will someone go away? Will they be angry if we say what is true? Some of this may indeed happen, but people who go away would have gone away eventually. Those who can’t listen to us even when we are angry would have left anyway. And, the most important person to be liked by is ourselves.
Try just one thing today. Speak up when you are sorely tempted to shut up and push it down. Say “no” when you don’t want to do something. Don’t apologize when there is no need to apologize. Be honest with your partner, your co-worker or your children when you don’t agree. Do just one thing that returns you to who YOU really are.
The chameleon was lovely when it turned red and green, but even as a child, I knew it was happiest as itself.