My faith community (Tribe) did an activity a couple of months back where we staged portraits as our shadow and future selves. Our Future Self is the wonderful, amazing, whole person that we aspire to be under the influence of our Creator. Our Shadow Self is the dark part of our being- the brokenness that keeps us from living into all the goodness that the Creator has for us.
Brace yourself. What you are going to see next is not pretty.
This is my Shadow Self.
My Shadow Self is constantly exhausted, has no joy in her life, and is weighed down by the heavy loads of Responsibility, Duty, and other sundry Burdens. I call her Malignant Mel. This version of Melanie is drained, uninspired, struggles to keep afloat, and is not pleasant to be around.
I hate it when Malignant Mel is living with me, flying a heavy black flag of skull and crossbones above my residence. I thought Malignant Mel had been loitering around in the dark shadows of my Self for about the last 6 months until some close friends gently corrected me, “Ummmm… it’s been more like TWO YEARS.”
Needless to say, it is time for my Shadow Self to PISS OFF.
This is my Future Self.
My Future Self moves through life with purpose and calling. Her name is Magic Mel because she is propelled by a Supernatural Force. She knows what is important to her and she has energy for her passions. She draws from a limitless bucket of love, and she freely ladles out compassion, justice, joy, and goodwill. There is life and beauty around her, but better yet, she is life and beauty herself. A redbird of refreshment perches on her shoulder, constantly tweeting affirmations and suggesting thrilling directions in which to go.
With all of my heart I long to step into my Future Self.
Note- portraits of my entire Tribe were taken by our friend Melody Hansen, who is a fantastic photographer.