When the Chameleon Grew Pale

A very personal story of an ATCK

When the little chameleon girl was born, she was completely green, just like her parents. Her colour matched the beautiful garden, and the forest, that surrounded the house where she grew up. On her first day in kindergarten she was shocked to find out that no one else was green, the other kids were mostly purple. The little chameleon wanted to be friends with them, so she learned how to be purple too.

When she turned 11, her family moved from the purple country to a blue country. A country with huge blue skies, and no limits. Everyone else was blue so she learned the blue way in no time. She had become very skilled in switching between the colours, choosing whichever was the most appropriate in each moment. However, she was never able to turn completely purple or blue. Her original green was always present underneath.

Two years later her family moved to a red country — a country vibrant and on fire. She was fascinated by what she saw and dived into being red.

As the chameleon grew, she became intrigued by the richness of colours in the world and enjoyed being able to change hues within seconds. At international festivals, she shone in all the colours of the rainbow at once — she was in her element.

Time came for the chameleon to make her own way.

Since she was born green, she decided to try out the green country: the colour of her passport. It was a lot harder than she expected and she only endured her stay knowing that she would not remain there forever. Everyone was green, like her, but they were not aware of the other colours out there. When the day came for her to pack her bags and discover more countries on her own, she added orange and pink to her repertoire.

This could have gone on forever, but there was a new element in her life: the chameleon wanted to start a family! She was so lucky to find another colourful chameleon with whom she wanted to spend the rest of her life. The chameleons got married.

The chameleons became proud parents of two wonderful little green chameleons. They wanted them to grow up the same way that they had, and took them to the purple, green, orange and blue countries when they were little. But as they travelled more and more, they realised that the child chameleons didn’t like the nomadic life anymore. They missed their routines, familiar faces and usual places. They decided to settle down in their green country, close to chameleon grandparents, uncles, aunts and cousins.

Eleven years later and the chameleons are still living in green country. The children are growing up in a safe and stable environment, the family is nearby, and the parents have decent work and no worries. Their friends are scattered all over the globe but keep in touch very well. Is there anything else they could ask for?

The chameleons are so very grateful for all that they have. But there are times when they feel this terrible emptiness and longing for their nomadic lives. The chameleon Mama often feels terribly guilty for not being happy and fulfilled by her green life. She also misses being a chameleon who changes colours. This skill that she worked so hard on in her youth is now obsolete. She had almost no opportunity to shine in all those brilliant hues she collected over many years.

She tried to hold onto the rare occasions when she ran into other rainbow chameleons at airports, travelling, or when she walked along the isles of international exhibitions, but it wasn’t enough As a remedy, she also tried working internationally and travelling for business just as her husband does, but it came at a very high cost for the family, and it made her feel even more torn.

On a cold winter morning, the chameleon grew pale. In a moment of darkness and hopelessness, she found herself trapped in a cage of renouncement, guilt and grief. She felt hopeless about her beliefs about what’s best for the family, her feelings of guilt about being ungrateful and her grief of having no rainbow chameleon country out there to escape to. She cried her way through all her dark feelings. When there were no more tears, she surrendered.

Maybe what was good for the family 12 years ago was not good for the family anymore. She knew with all her heart that it was time to leave. It was time to shine in many colours again! The Chameleon Mama knew she must go on new adventures, discover new horizons, show their children the richness of the world and teach them everything wonderful that rainbow Chameleons knew!