Summer of Authenticity: Fully Alive! [Cigdem Kobu]

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Oh, how I adore today’s guest and the words of wisdom she shares; I know you will, too. Cigdem Kobu has long been a favorite person of mine, for her way with words and wisdom, and her deep knowing that we all have within ourselves what we need to fully realize who we want to be. Let her introvert self share some of that wisdom with you now…


Who Do You Need, Who Do You Love When You Come Undone?

(This essay is to be read while listening to this.)


Mine, immaculate dream made breath and skin
I’ve been waiting for you
Signed with a home tattoo
Happy birthday to you was created for you


I cry a lot these days. The tears well up without much encouragement. And then they trickle down. Geez, I say, is it the hormones? Is this how premenopause begins? And why do I feel so depressed? So much is changing. Sometimes it’s hard to digest it all.


Can’t ever keep from falling apart at the seams
Can I believe you’re taking my heart to pieces


I admit, I just can’t come to terms with the fact that he decided to join the military. My boy who didn’t even use to play with toy guns. My boy, little the bookworm. The kid who painted pictures round the clock. A teen ager who dreamt of becoming an artist or a psychologist. Or both.

I feel bitter and frustrated mostly because I think he’s making this radical change in his path for the wrong reasons.

Before he left, I told him I think it’s a daddy issue. That I think he yearns to belong to something bigger than himself. That he’s looking for a new “daddy” and a new authority who’ll embrace him and who won’t push him away.

He thought for a moment. So you think it’s a daddy issue, he said. Maybe, he added. Then he smiled a big smile and hugged me. Ashamed of what I’ve just said, I hoped I didn’t hurt him.

After our divorce his dad abandoned him. Sort of. Maybe it was my ex’s way of self-protection against his own disappointment or a way of punishing me by punishing our son. After all, I was the one who wanted to move on without him (so I could breathe, so I could stop being dead inside.)

My son left for Parris Island on July 8th. In less than two months, he’ll become a U. S. Marine. He has his graduation ceremony on his birthday.

I wonder whether he has already used a rifle.

My little boy has become a young man. He’s making his own decisions now. And not necessarily ones that please me. He’s taking his own steps. He’s weaving his own life.

Do mama birds also cry after the nest is empty?


Ahh, it’ll take a little time
Might take a little crime to come undone
Now we’ll try to stay blind to the hope and fear outside
Hey child, stay wilder than the wind and blow me in to cry 

Who do you need,
Who do you love,
When you come undone?


These days I tend to perceive myself as if I’m consisting of two superimposed images: one is the “now-me” and the other is the “child-me.” Sometimes the second image is me at age 7 and sometimes I’m older, maybe 10 or 11. And sometimes a third image is added to the mix. The “teen-ager me.”

The 7-year-old me is frail. Thin as a rake. Big, shy eyes on a tiny face. The 10-year old me is a bookworm and is a bit wiser. She wears glasses but feels embarrassed about them.

The teen-ager me is rebellious. She’s angry. She’s a big dreamer. She’s adventurous and resourceful. And a little daring. She likes listening to a song by a British band about coming undone.


Who do you need,
Who do you love,
When you come undone? 

Words, playing me déjà vu
Like a radio tune I swear I’ve heard before
Chill, is it something real?
Or the magic I’m feeding off your fingers


The words “midlife reinvention” sound sexy. As if it’s play. And fun. Well, it’s not. Being at midlife is like being like a teen ager again. Only with a body that’s starting to sag and a face that already has some wrinkles.

And it’s not even about physical changes. Volcanoes are erupting inside of me and a lava river is running through my heart. I sometimes feel I actually need a “midlife intervention” rather than a reinvention.

What Alana wrote here the other day is almost the same as what I’m experiencing these days:

The inner changes are coming hard and fast. I welcome them but reel after every one, dancing unsteadily as I find my feet. I keep thinking each will be the last for a while, that I’ll be able to settle into a rhythm and define myself. Then the ground shifts and I’m answering the same questions all over again. Who am I? What do I want? What am I here to do?

I feel like writing an elegy for my childhood. And an elegy for my youth. And an elegy for my aging body. But after writing all that, I would tear off those pages, and instead, write an ode to my inner, immortal youth, my soulful rebirth and my aging, beautiful body.

‘Cause I want to come undone.


Can’t ever keep from falling apart at the seam
Can I believe you’re taking my heart to pieces 

Lost, in a snow filled sky
We’ll make it alright to come undone
Now we’ll try to stay blind to the hope and fear outside
Hey child, stay wilder than the wind and blow me in to cry

Who do you need,
Who do you love,
When you come undone?


Lao Tzu once said that life is a series of natural and spontaneous changes and that resisting them only creates sorrow. Let reality be reality. Let things flow naturally forward in whatever way they like. That’s what he said.

I wonder if he ever said anything about coming undone.

If a strap or a knot or some other kind of binding comes undone, it opens by accident and no longer binds anything. If a plan or a scheme or a plot comes undone, it’s unknotted. If a piece of clothing comes undone, it becomes unfastened. If a gift package comes undone, it’s untied, unwrapped, and you can see what’s inside.

At midlife, when you come undone, you crack open and all of your pieces spill out, untied, unwrapped, and everyone can see what’s inside of you.

You first feel hollow, empty, and lost. But then you start feeling lighter and free. Liberated. Reinvented. Reborn. A reincarnation of the self. By losing more and more, you find yourself. Again.


Who do you need,
Who do you love,
When you come undone?


The summer is almost ripe now. Who do I need, who do I love, who do I want to be when I come undone? What do I need, what do I want, what will I claim to feel alive?


Who do you need,
Who do you love,
When you come undone?


My Beloved asks me why I always talk about being an introvert. He’s also introverted but he doesn’t keep saying he’s an introvert.

I wonder whether many people find it odd to talk about being an introvert. I guess being one isn’t considered that cool. Maybe people think “introvert” is a word that should only be whispered and never said out loud. It’s like there’s an unspoken veil of unease or shame around being introverted. People don’t own it with pride but rather carry it like a load.

I love being an introvert. I enjoy the gentle, quiet, deep, fine, exquisite, artistic, contemplative nature of my introversion.

I’ve recently shifted my business to serve other creative introverts. I came out as an introvert and raised my voice (gently of course, the introverted way) about why we, introverts, should be proud of our own unique brilliance.

I’ll tell my husband that if I had the chance to be born again, I’d still want to be an introvert. And he’ll ask me why I keep mentioning I’m introverted. And I’ll say because I’m proud of it. And because some introverts must raise their voices and clear the way for other introverts so their brilliant voices are heard even when they’re whispering gently. In a world that never shuts up.

I wish someone had talked to me about introverts and extroverts when I was a kid. It would have saved me much heartache and stress. I would have found out right there and then that nothing was wrong with me.


Can’t ever keep from falling apart
Who do you need,
Who do you love,
When you come undone?


Who do I need, who do I love when I come undone?


I need me.

I love and will keep loving the “quiet me” along with the “child me” and the “midlife me.”

I’m not done or finished. And when I come undone, I’ll be the only one I want to be.

Exposing and claiming my introverted self and committing to help other quiet-loving folks, I’ll come undone.

Surrendering to the fact that my boy has become a young man who shapes his own path and makes his own decisions, and accepting that this is okay, I’ll come undone.

Learning to love my aging body and the wrinkles on my face, I’ll come undone.

Accepting that it’s okay to not have everything in my life figured out and that things will continue to unfold in ways I cannot fathom, I’ll come undone. This is how life is. And it’s okay.

Finding a place deep in myself where all of my evolving selves from birth to midlife (and perhaps later to old age) superimpose to create a beautiful multidimensional apparition, a totem of my truth, I’ll come undone.


Who do you need,
Who do you love,
When you come undone?


This hasn’t been easy.

Not at all.

But it was possible.



Who do you need,
Who do you love,
When you come undone?


What about you?

Who do you need, what do you want, what will you do to come undone?

What will you let go deeply? How will you surrender?

Will you let yourself and your life be?

Will you fall in love with yourself all over again?

Will you feel as ripe as mid-August and as alive as the summer breeze?

Will you come undone?


Cigdem Kobu asks: Who Do You Need, Who Do You Love When You Come Undone?Cigdem Kobu is a writer, business coach and teacher who pursues peaceful triumphs in life, work and art. She runs a peaceful haven called the Progress Lounge where she helps introverted women solopreneurs build a sustainable and joy-filled business that fits them like a glove.



Part of the Summer of Authenticity: Fully Alive! series, now available as a free eBook!



C. A. Kobu August.20.2013 at 7.56 am

Dearest Dian, it’s an honor to be hosted on your blog. You always ask the most instigating questions for the raw truth to come out and trickle into a contemplative piece. Thank you for the invitation my friend.

Dian Reid, CPCC August.22.2013 at 10.54 am

You’re welcome, my dear. You are always welcome in my space =) xoxo

Jackie Walker August.22.2013 at 12.03 am

Oh my goodness Cigdem, these words are so beautifully chosen and arranged. It is such a complete undoing, one I wasn’t aware would happen, and only now looking back do I realise what did happen! Like you, I turned in, to my self, we learned to love and be at peace. Thank you for helping me see how.

Cigdem Kobu August.22.2013 at 1.46 pm

Thank you, dearest Jackie! I can easily say that I learned a lot from you and your wisdom has been very helpful in the process. Sending big love, my friend.

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