What a difference four years can make. Not only was I younger, I was totally inexperienced in the way of becoming an Indie Author.
I look at this photo today, New Year's Day, 2017, and reminisce about the pre-butterfly period, my cocoon stage - the metamorphosis of my life.
I journaled daily, as I do even now, putting together the chapters that would become The Secret Butterfly Trail. Learning how to create a website for myself and establish an online presence using social media was overwhelming. Once I was immersed in it, it became second nature and eventually turned into a website and social media business of my own. My writing style has changed over the years. I have learned to pull out all the stops and allow the raw, real, emotional writing to flow.
In addition to writing, I became a model just a few days after this photo was taken. It was not something I had planned to do. I simply showed up for a friend who was a photographer, and belly-danced in her backyard while she snapped a hundred or so photographs of me. We talked, joked and laughed during the few hours I spent with her, eventually changing from bellydancer to bride, wearing my wedding dress from a year and a half earlier.
My first shoot was therapy for me, struggling and living with anorexia and body dysmorphic disorder since the age of 7. Seeing myself through the lens of a photographer was shocking at first, since I did not have the ability to see myself. Literally, when I looked into a mirror my body looked distorted. I have since found recovery and work at it every day.
Four years and many photo shoots later, with lots of local photographers, I still feel the therapeutic affects from each and every gig. Afterward, I journal and blog about the experiences. For me, it is all about what I am feeling during the shoot - the photos that come later are the icing on the cake.
Who was I four years ago? I was a struggling writer unsure of my future; I was a wife and a church administrative assistant. I am no longer that person, she doesn't resemble me today. I have emerged from the cocoon and arrived as the magical butterfly that I am.
Stronger, empowered and ambitious, my world and who I am, have changed in many ways. I am part of a social justice movement, a prison reform advocate, a girl-boss entrepreneur who has built an empire from the ground up. I no longer live in the house where this photo of me was taken. I am no longer married. I am no longer doubtful of the essense of my being. I no longer give my power away.
The struggle to get to where I am today has put me through hell and back. I learned a few things during the past four years: compassion for every human being on this planet; acceptance - letting go of judgments; forgiveness, not for them, but for my own healing; humility - keeping my ego in check; and recovery - specifically 12-Step Recovery.
Today I look at this photo of myself and smile. She was an awesome young lady. Today, she is a mature, confident, self-assured woman. Thank you, Universe, for this crazy trip you have so graciously given to me.
- Zushka Biros