Stages Of Transformation – Decay Isn’t Pretty

transformationIt’s normal to look hideous, and feel or even be repulsive, when you’re in a heavy-duty period of transformation.  I wrote to a client who is reflecting back on life:

“From my perspective, you’re a huge success and your success is well-earned. I had three years of therapy myself, thirty years ago. It’s normal to look funky at various stages of transformation…”

I cringe when I look back on my life and contemplate my own process. I’d hate to be called on to defend my behavior at certain points in my life!

It’s important to make amends if you harmed someone if it’s appropriate to contact them. But other that, this is just the ways it goes because to transform means that some part of you has got to die. These parts don’t necessarily face away without kicking, screaming and punching.

Who can relate?

26 thoughts on “Stages Of Transformation – Decay Isn’t Pretty”

  1. “I’d hate to be called on to defend my behavior at certain points in my life.”

    me too..

    i do so much personal that i probably define funk

  2. I can relate. I sincerely tried to do my best at the time with what I knew. I just don’t feel like judging and criticizing me at this point.

    Not that I read that into what you wrote, I’m just saying that’s how I feel about everything I’ve been through since May 2005.

  3. Avatar
    curious wanderer

    I look back at the time around and after my separation from my ex, and think I was certifiably crazy. I mean, I should’ve been on some meds or in a facility or something.

    Lots and lots of changes. I’m hoping that I can take the wisdom of hindsight with me, ’cause I know there’s more to come.

  4. Jesus, yeah. I have to actively turn off the tap that looks back, sees the ugly, and drips drips drips with self-torture. Sometimes, the looking back feels almost as bad as the transformation itself!

  5. Yes, I can relate to the hideous nature of decay. Transformation in the human form is less magic and more muck. I kinda feel like that ‘beached whale’ you wrote about the othr day who loves(d) the sandy beach SO much and just stayed longer than was good … and now I see the patches of decay over my dorsal fin.

    I really stank up the beach … affected others, and like you say making amends and then swimming on. Thanks for this picture, Elsa.

  6. I know the metaphor is overused but it is true the caterpillar turns into slimy goop inside the cocoon. With us humans, I guess the ugly goings-on inside show up on the outside. My beady eyes look like an alcoholic after another crying binge but today I am going to get my hair cut and any small token of self-love is a sign of spring. Elsa’s words ring too true but her choice of illustration will remind me to notice on my next walk in the snow that there are buds all over those crazy trees already.

  7. oh it’s so true! we do morph! I have an orange tree, and I leave some fruit that falls to decay and enrich the ground. It’s fantastic to watch them melt/molt/disappear into the ground. I’d like to think of some parts of myself lovingly melting/molting/disappearing too. And enriching my personal earth.

  8. OMG yes. Not too long after I got into therapy, we ripped open something that had been closed for more than 20 years but had healed poorly. I walked around for a few weeks feeling like, as I put it then, someone had ripped my skin off and left me oozing.

    I’m shocked when I look back that I managed to take care of myself AND hold down a job. I’m sure I must have looked as hideous as I felt.

    But I’m much better now 😉

  9. Chiron and Neptune are soon to transit my IC and Pluto is transiting my second house. I know now what “Dark Night of the Soul” feels like and hope to come out the other side in one piece. In the meantime, Pluto is decaying my spirit slowly, but surely, and all I can do is hold on stay as focused on the moment as I can.

    1. Same here.Pluto transiting my 2nd and Chiron om my IC. Neptune TrNeptune in 3rd conjunct Natal Saturn and Chiron,square my sag mercury and asc.

  10. “Personally, I cringe when I look back and consider my own process. I’d hate to be called on to defend my behavior at certain points in my life.”

    Preach it sister! =p

  11. I’m here to shout “AMEN” – right there with the rest of y’all (and not too proud of my ugly transformation times either)

  12. i too would hate to have to defend some of my former actions. for me the funny thing about looking back (at pictures anyway) are some of the bad hair choices–a sure sign of crisis for me!

  13. I still have the end two of four booth photos taken for some library or museum pass when I was 28 or 29. I kept them as a curiosity – I look like a Bader-Meinhoff gang member, or an axe murderess.

    I was being sued then (someone trying to rip off my book), various other ghastly work scenarios in train, also going though some awful losing-the-man scenario and fighting to keep my home – all the usual stuff I kept going through in my twenties…

    I realise now it was my Saturn return, and boy does it show in those photos

  14. After 18mnths of tears and looking a state, I caught my eye when walking past the mirror and told myself I am not going to look like a fragle forever. Felt like a bit of a turning point to even have the inclination to fix myself up!

    Yet another dull cloudy day here but saw some buds on my walk 🙂

  15. @Luna-boy was that beautifully written. With as many pluto conjunctions (and squares) as I’ve been through, I feel like this way of looking at things is a breath of fresh air. I tended to beat myself up along the way, so if I looked bad having survived the transformation, I typically didn’t cut myself much slack in the self-nurturing dept.

    Because other people got hurt (most impt. my kids) while I was being thrown against rocks, it was natural for me to feel (and still feel) guilty about it/but transformation I had to accomplish, though I look back and wish the years I was raising my kids had been “pretty” and “normal.” Maybe time to dress up and get off the guilt train. It’s true. I’m older, but I feel better when I look in the mirror now.

  16. Actually today I look back to yesterday afternoon and wish I could erase my reaction,tears later
    I am hell bent to commit my fall
    To banning myself from speaking
    I am engaging in an exercise to excuse myself from comment,one month off, I am going to concentrate on reading and writing.
    I fell into the deepest well, just
    Coming out, I think I hurt my son
    I have apologized,I hope this is going to take me toward inner peace
    What an idiot I was, can’t even blame it on sugar, someone took advantage of him, and I spelt it out with numbers, really bad mothering
    A place I thought I had reason to feel proud Boom what happens ?

  17. These past 5 years were not pretty. Something was dying … My perceptions of love and myself. The voice starting whispering…telling me my old self needed to change. I held on…like a little kid to her moms knees while being pulled away by the 1st grade teacher. “Go on…its ok” my mom saying trying to look happy by with wet eyes.
    Its not pretty. Didnt always acted well. Clung and lashed out at the hands pulling me away. Ive loosened the grip tremendously as of late. I hope I can still go home once in a while.

  18. Me too, it’s hard to look back at times I was really unconscious. At the same time I’m grateful, because the periods of transformation have been helpful on my journey.

  19. Who hasn’t done things that were indefensible and cringeworthy, especially when they were young? My only defense would be that I never acted out of malice…but crazy is crazy…

  20. How serendipitous. This is one of my favorite posts that I’ve held onto for quite awhile and revisited again recently. Thanks for posting it again. Yes, I can relate.

  21. I suppose I could cringe but I always feel so damn good that that’s over.

    The dying thing, funny, time goes on and I forget. And then I get the thought that I am going to physically die, really die. Until I start to realize oh, I am just shedding more skin. I hate to say it, but I actually enjoy that process, and being aware that I am in one, I no longer destroy my life about it. I can really get itchy sometimes, but lashing out or blaming, that’s denial. It’s mine, I have to deal with it. And then I am through it and ahhhhhhhh!

    1. Thanks for that description “I can really get itchy sometimes” that’s what I go through and have never connected it to literally and transformational shedding more skin. I think, this might help me right now. Geez. Answers to prayers come in all forms.

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