On this community, we encourage our contributors to pick a plant or animal (alive, extinct or mythical) as a visual metaphor or avatar to represent them. For some people like the ‘Mad Unicorn‘, the avatar is a way to represent their true self without revealing their name. For others, like Roseanne, who uses a lotus flower, the avatar is closely aligned with their cultural identity (CALD mental health is big for us).
For me, your Founder and Chair, my avatar for many years is the magpie. I have such a strong affinity with the Magpie that I call it my ‘totem’ which is a word I borrow respectfully from indigenous communities. Magpies have showed up randomly when I have been at my lowest point and I have never experienced a hallucination of a magpie but I have had some intense connections and delusions regarding what a passing magpie means to me.
But weird things happened with magpies nearby since I was in school. In Year 11 at Glenaeon Steiner School I learned about a magpie in Parsival -a holy grail story. The magpie character in this story was a mix of two cultures -balancing black and white like yin and yang.
I am very open about my story but remember when reading any story on this site, you need to adopt some self-care strategies in case our narratives remind you of something in your life or make you upset. If you are in Australia, see our mental health online resources for self-care advice.