Welcome to my Den of Delights! Please make yourselves comfortable.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Inspiration of the Moment: Imperfectly Beautiful

To banish imperfection 
is to destroy expression,
to check exertion, to paralyze vitality.
~  John Ruskin from The Stones Of Venice
(Writer, art critic, draughtsman, watercolourist,
social thinker, philanthropist)

If you’ve noticed on my blog banner, there are butterflies. My lovely friend Rane Aria created it for me and did an amazing job when I asked her to please incorporate butterflies for me. Thank you again, Rane!

The butterfly has been a symbol of Hope for me for many years in my battle with anorexia, depression and the dreaded Negative Voice in my head. The butterfly is a symbol of transformation from my distorted, wretched mind - from seeing myself as someone fat, short, ugly, stupid, useless and worthless, someone so imperfect that I didn’t deserve to be loved, to someone of worth, who is beautiful because I'm kind and I care about people around me.

The pressure for perfection (and the longing to be loved unconditionally, and not just by my family) was what drove me to anorexia and depression, such that I started starving myself when I was just 11 years old. I also contemplated suicide, many times, and would punch myself in the stomach, where no one could see my bruises. I have come to realise that causing myself physical pain was just a way to release the immense internal pain that I kept hidden away from all those around me, because I feared they would judge me even more if they knew. 

I am now 35 years old and have come a long way from who I was. In recent years I have suffered some painful loses, including the loss of my one and only sibling, my precious big brother. In my deep grief, the butterfly continues to be a symbol of Hope, for me.

I give thanks to God for creating this beautiful creature that starts out life not looking very pretty, that develops a hard shell, and in this chrysalis goes through growing pains, to come out beautiful, but with a fragility, as well as strength to enable it to travel long distances. 

The ancient Greek word for "butterfly" is ψυχή (psȳchē), which primarily means "soul" or "mind”. I’ve always been introspective, but in my journey through overcoming anorexia and the Negative Voice, I continually seek to nourish my soul and my mind. 

Butterflies aren’t just pretty things. The butterfly also serves an important purpose. Butterflies carry pollen from plant to plant. It helps flowers, fruits, and vegetables to produce new seeds. This has always been my desire – to help people. Often times I’ve felt helpless to do so and that led to further self-loathing and depression. I have realised that I can’t heal the world, no matter my desire, but I can make a difference in some people’s lives, and that is what matters.

The butterfly, pictured above, is scarred and imperfect, as am I. But it is still beautiful and it still has a purpose. Every one of us has scars from the grief and trauma we experience in Life. From our scars and imperfections, though, there can emerge the beauty of a meaningful Life.

I have a continuing battle with my Negative Voice, as it does like to rear its ugly head from time to time, especially when I am pressured or feeling vulnerable and it causes me to doubt and hate myself. Most days, I have the strength to tell it to “Shut Up!” Some days, I am so overcome I burst into the tears, and feel battered by this Negative Voice that keeps telling me I’m a failure, that I'm just not good enough, that bad things that happen are my fault, that I can never do anything right. 

Then I keep thinking of the wonderfully created butterfly, and I strive to be the butterfly to the people whose lives I can touch. It brings me out of the deceitful web of lies that the Negative Voice attempts to entrap me in.

So while we strive to be better people and the best we can be, we should never aim to be perfect. Perfection is impossible and the drive for perfection can be self-destructive.

This post was inspired by this blog post by one of my favourite authors, Pamela Clare, titled "Project: Happiness - My new journey" (Project Happiness Link Here).

Pamela isn’t just a wonderful author and journalist who has won awards including a lifetime achievement award. She is an AMAZING person of immense strength, who has suffered many traumas in her life, ones we can only imagine. But more importantly, she has survived and grown stronger from these traumas, and became a voice in her journalism career for those who needed it. Out of her horrific experiences she writes real characters with whom we connect and love. I strongly urge you to read Pamela’s blog post and to follow her and support on her inspiring journey.

THANK YOU, Pamela, for being so courageous and open to share your story and your journey with us. It moved me to tears and inspired me and I know it will many others.

Pamela’s post reminds me that I have been on my own Project Happiness and that it is a lifelong project.

I write poetry which arises out of my darkness, my pain – it focuses inward, but then it somehow starts to free me from that darkness. Through confronting my darkness in this way, I am able to deal with my overwhelming emotions and then release them out into my poems. 

“All great and beautiful work 
has come of first gazing 
without shrinking 
into the darkness.”
~ John Ruskin 

My photography, on the other hand, comes out of my seeking beauty and joy, the light. I look outward into the world around me but what inspires me is not only what I see through my camera lens but how what I see makes me feel; how I can find beauty and meaning in my landscape, in nature, even in the weeds or the gutter, that feeds my soul.

My poetry and my photography are both meaningful to me in their own ways. At the moment, I am focused on my photography, and am actually very thankful that I have no dark muse to incite any more poems, for now. 

“All great art 
is the work 
of the whole living creature, 
body and soul, 
and chiefly of the soul. 
~John Ruskin 

Pamela’s  "Project: Happiness" post has a powerful parable of the two wolves that her loving sister sent her. It is a battle between good and evil that happens in all of us. I really encourage you to read it. 

Feed the good wolf. Worry not about perfection. Imperfection breathes expression and vitality. 

Today’s quotes are those of John Ruskin who was born on 8 February 1819, and yesterday was the 8th of February here in Australia. Suffice it to say that John Ruskin has since passed, but his beautiful words live on to inspire future generations.  

“Do not think of your faults, 
still less of other's faults; 
look for what is good and strong, 
and try to imitate it. 
Your faults will drop off, 
like dead leaves, 
when their time comes.” 
~ John Ruskin

My Photography: “G-Utter Beauty”

“There is beauty in the gutter,
Where Resilience springs,
A beauty that reminds us to be thankful,
For the depth of Hope it brings!
(From my poem “Resilience”)


  1. Jayne, this may be your loveliest post yet! You're right. I can relate to all of it. And once again, you've made me tear up. Thank you, sweet lady, for once again sharing your beautiful soul with us. XOXO

  2. Thank you, Nissie. *Hugs* Pamela Clare and John Ruskin inspired me. I was so moved my Pamela's Project Happiness post that I couldn't stop thinking about it and then I came across John Ruskin's quotes and I decided to write this post.

    Thank you for so much for reading my post and commenting. It truly means a lot to know I'm not just "talking" to myself! LOL

    You are such a sweet and beautiful soul. Never forget that.


  3. Thank you, Jayne. I'm so happy to know my post touched you. When I sat down and wrote it, I had really no idea where I was headed with it. But that's how things go sometimes with writing.

    Your photography is beautiful, your poetry honest and expressive. And that negative voice — it is telling you bald-faced lies. You are none of the negative things it is trying to convince you to believe.

    I was particularly struck by this quote: “All great and beautiful work has come of first gazing
    without shrinking into the darkness.” ~ John Ruskin

    I think that is very true.

    Thanks for this lovely post! I hope we can support one another to make 2012 a year of coming out of butterfly-worthy transformation.

  4. Thank you, Pamela!

    Your post truly touched me and got me thinking and writing this post. Thank you for sharing so much of yourself! You have a beautiful soul.

    I'm really enjoying my photography. Hubby and I have joined a camera club and I'm trying to stretch myself.

    Your Negative Voice a.k.a Grima-Pam-Tongue is telling you bald-faced lies, too! Don't listen. You are an amazing writer and person.

    Yes, that quote really struck me, too. I believe you have done that countless times. Bravo! It is why your characters are so precious to me. I connect with your emotionally traumatised characters and I admire their strength and resilience. They are a reflection of you, and you facing that darkness in your writing, is why your characters are so real and honest.

    Here's to a transformative 2012 and also continued lifelong success against those liars in our heads!

  5. My dear sweet friend:
    I'm always amazed and deeply touched by your honesty! The courage to share your inner thoughts and feelings is a very difficult task.

    This is a beautifully written post. Thank you for sharing your intimate and heartfelt thoughts.

    Your soul is beautiful Jaynie! And now I'll always think of you when I see a butterfly and remember your lovely words describing their transformation and the Hope it symbolizes and brings to your heart!

    May you always know the Negative Voice is a liar and my wish for you is a lifetime of knowing what a JEWEL you really are!


  6. Thank you, my dear friend, KatLynne.

    Your comment really touched me. You always have such thoughtful and encouraging things to say, dear lovely KatLynne. You are a beautiful soul.

    I hid my anorexia, and my distorted mind, away from the world to cry in silence for many, many years. But to prove I have overcome and to encourage others, I needed to be brave to talk about it.

    Pamela's "Project: Happiness" post, and her sharing about her battle with HER Negative Voice, inspired me to share how I battle mine. And that is to focus on the butterfly, my symbol of Hope, freedom, and change. And also to face my darkness through my poems and to surround myself in light and joy, and to focus on that through even the simple things in life. Viewing the world through the lens of wonder and gratefulness inspires me through life.

    I know the Negative Voice is a liar, but sometimes it is so persuasive. I must fight not to listen to it, as I encourage everyone to fight their own negative voices.

    Thank you for your precious friendship, KatLynne!

    *Hugs* XOXO

  7. What a wonderful, touching, and heartfelt post, Jayne. Thank you so much for sharing this with me this morning. I will share this with my son and pray it impacts him in some positive way. Thank you so much for becoming my friend and sharing your soul with me. I truly appreciate it