One thing I have noticed about myself over the years is that I am a chameleon.
I become influenced and inspired by the people around me so much so that I take on chameleon like qualities. On reflection I understand I have led this behavior my entire life. Like a survival tactic of a wild animal in the African Jungle I change and morph into another creature to suit my surroundings. And in my life of complete diversity, which is born out of an intention to create balance, the creatures I morph into can, at times, appear to be polar opposites.
Most obviously is my ability to pick up on the language and particular words and expressions that people around me use to express themselves and incorporate them in to my own speech. When I return back to Australia my fine pronunciation of the English language dwindles in to something only Aussie’s can understand as soon as my plane arrives on the runway. “How are you going?” morphs into the word “Howyagowan”, “yeah no but” becomes a completely acceptable answer to any question and words like ‘hooranged’, ‘woop woop’, ‘fair dinkum’ and ‘flat out’; all creep in to my vocabulary as if they never left. The opposite happens when I am back in Europe when all my vowels are rounded and a slight British accent arises in an effort to be understood. Likewise when I hang out with my American friends my ‘r’s’ are pronounced with emphasis and I end every sentence with ‘right?’ I can hear my own voice when I speak, it changes, it morphs, and sometimes I can’t control it, it just happens, thus the life of a chameleon.
I notice my energy and vibration shift depending on whom I am around. Some people light me up and it turns me on. I become more vivacious, more sensual and because I feel safe around them freedom enters into the arena followed closely by creativity, openness, spontaneity and fun. In contrast when I am exposed to mirrors the darker shadows in people reflect I am left somewhat guarded, cautious and often discombobulated. Just like flowers whose petals shrink as the sun descends I too turn inward protecting my nectar and not leaving my vulnerability open for exposure and attack.
My chameleon tendencies stretch far beyond my intellect, vocabulary and vibration being noticeably evident in my choice of clothing. It’s no wonder my wardrobe is so diverse. A friend once saying to me “your wardrobe is schizophrenic”, which confused me at the time yet now when I look at it, I agree.
When I am home in Bali I wear yoga pants, mala beads and comfy cotton briefs to comply with Asian tropical humidity. My face is always bare surviving only on organic coconut oil and occasionally a brush goes through my hair. High heels are forbidden, bra optional.
Put me on a plane to Paris however and this alternative “a la natural” hippy chick does a swift 180 channeling another version of herself wearing Chanel, red lipstick, eyeliner, heels and underwear that barely covers her bits, and that’s only daytime attire.
I don’t know what happens to me, it’s something instinctual and of animal nature.
It becomes as act of survival, of safety and security. For me this is not about pleasing other people. As I entered my thirties I decided that I am not wasting any more time running around to make other people happy and I exchanged my people pleasing persona for freedom in being unapologetically myself, no matter what. As I go through this transition I enter each moment of my life with less baggage and an understanding of what people think of me actually has nothing to do with me, yet the chameleon inside of me still dances to her own tune and changes colours, textures and accents as we travel around the world together.
The chameleon has been with me since a very young age.
I remember going straight from soccer practice to ballet class when I was a kid, being the only girl in the class with scabby knees and blood seeping through my pink stockings from where I stacked it on the soccer field only minutes before. I remember walking into the ballet studio taking a breath and saying to myself ‘now I’m a ballerina’, I was 7.
I remember going from an important job interview where I was dressed extremely corporate impressing head honchos with my traveling repertoire and Spanish language to emerging from public toilets after a quick costume change arriving as a young party girl ready to hit the night life in London with a short skirt, stockings, big boots and big hair, I was 19.
I remember being on the streets of India in amongst homeless and sick children giving beggars food, covered in cow urine and the smell of incense adding to the Indian layer of dirt that you cannot scrub off your body or clothes no matter how hard you try, to flying first class to an exclusive spa in Thailand for work and having to choose which pillow I would like from my pillow menu on my bed as 3 people waited to turn down my bed that evening all within a matter of hours, I was 30.
Thank God I have been committed to the same man for most of my adult life; I cannot bear to think of the chameleon escapades that would have arisen had men been more actively involved.
My chameleon is subtle, very subtle and in fact it is my husband who witnesses them all and calls me on them when they arise so I am aware. Some people don’t have any chameleon tendencies, like my friend Tommy who when he needs to feel safe and secure simply puts on a pair of underwear and away he goes, nothing else changes, in any situation. It’s quite remarkable. But from my observation most of us do.
Carolyn Myss’s work on archetypes resonates with me in that fact that we all have different ‘roles’ that plays out in our lives. And I guess like the different hats we all wear day in day out, my chameleon is able to jump from one thing to the next quite dramatically and quite quickly in order to survive and keep up with the diverse life that I lead. I find it fascinating this behavior in myself that is small scale compared to the creative lives of transvestites, entertainers, porn stars, army personal, addicts; to name a few.
I have discovered that it is not about fitting in, being accepted or trying to prove something.
To me it’s about feeling safe and secure in my own skin, expressing part of my personality and showing up prepared for the situation I am in and going with the flow. It’s about being authentic to all parts of myself as a whole.
People may argue my chameleon nature is not allowing me to be true to myself however on the contrary there is always balance present to keep me sane. When I am dolled up to the nines in Paris I will still have crystals in my bra and when I am at the organic market buying vegetables at 7am in the morning fresh after pranayama I will still be wearing Chanel No. 5.
So I wonder…
So do you have a chameleon nature?
What drives you to change you language, appearance or behaviour?
Where do you feel most comfortable and what’s the constant balancing factor within you?
Let me know I would love to hear from fellow chameleons!
Much Love to you