Born like a Bug…

There’s nothing quite like the first autumn rains in the Antipodes to get you in the mood for cosy.  Lying in bed with a book and a blanket, and reigniting one’s love affair with words.

It reminds me of a book I bought for my niece.

It’s the kind of book that you can pick up and feel the scratchiness of wool, smell its musky dampness and be taken back to those cosy afternoons around the pot belly, when Grandma taught you to crotchet.

But that’s beside the point.

One of the karmic traits passed down through my family is a trademark shyness.  Even my niece, little G, who is the talkative one of the bunch, sometimes forgets to speak.

Like the day we visited the Frankston Creepy Crawlies Sand Sculpture Exhibition.

The kids were busy, making art of multi-coloured sand, and I spotted G, eyes boring holes into a group of girls.

“Sweetheart, say hello to the girls,” I say.  They look at her expectantly, then frown, affronted, as she gives them another once over and runs away.

It’s that moment you remember your own discomfort around strangers, growing up.  How do you break the curse?

BugsinablanketBugs in a Blanket, written and illustrated by Beatrice Alemagna, is an endearing, original book about a community of bugs who live in a mouldy blanket at the bottom of the garden.

They have an opportunity to meet for the first time when they are invited to Fat Bug’s birthday party.

From the moment Fat Bug opens his burrow to welcome his guests, he is confronted by the fact that not one of his guests looks at all like him.

Tongue tied and exasperated, he triggers a line of questions passed from bug to bug, each accusing the other of being weird and ugly.

When the circle is complete, all bug eyes are boring into him.  Why is he fat like a hippopotamus?

It’s a comical moment, when Fat Bug realises what a stupid question he has asked.

His answer reverberates with a domino effect around the burrow.

“I don’t know, I was born this way,” they all begin to say.  And with that, the bugs get on their freak and start to dance…

Actually, the book was published before the song, so maybe that’s where Mother Monster got her inspiration from – a few wee little bugs boogieing in a blanket 😉

The message is as simple as a smile.  At least, if we’re going to share this musty old blanket, we might as well accept each other’s differences.  Starting with ourselves.

Do you have a trademark freakishness?  When was the last time you let it loose?


  1. says

    Hmmm..I think too much, I’m shy, conversation in groups makes me want to run… Were you in my head this week? 🙂 I went for a walk with my son this week and we talked about this stuff. Although without the very lovely, bug story. You always make me feel more normal, Alarna. 🙂

    • says

      “Conversation in groups makes me want to run”… Um, I think it’s you who’s in my head! 🙂 Your son doesn’t strike me as the least bit shy – is that true, or is that just the performer in him? Anyway, I’m glad to make you feel more normal, Coleen – we’ll be normal together 😉

      • supernova says

        Yes, she can leave one in awe, some of the scenes she does are too much for me 😯 but she certainly has a talent that sets her apart!
        When I first heard her on the radio I was impressed and when I saw her video I knew she was different and destined for stardom!
        She has some eccentric ways to say the least ha ha!

        Cheers Alarna 🙂

  2. says

    Well as you well know, I was born this way too. Shy. But I think that everyone has something they have to deal with, right? I love the post and the music. I played the song and then read it, great ambiance. Love your thoughts Alarna Rose! I am currently checking out your books!

    • says

      So glad you enjoyed it, Jon – and I hope you do the books, too! Thank you 🙂 We do all have our thing, and hey, us shy people have lots to offer the world, too. Have you read Quiet, by Susan Cain? I can’t rave enough about that book…

  3. says

    What an eclectic post!! The sand sculptures are beatufiul. The bug book sounds fun with a lovely message. And the Lady Gaga video is mesmerizing….Thanks for sharing a message that’s “as simple as a smile”. Kim

  4. says

    This book has indeed a great message. I remember at school, I was standing out in the crowd and I think this is why I was bullied. I was the only one with a darker skin and dark hair. It is so important to teach children at a young age to accept the others the way they are, with their differences because this is what makes this world so interesting.

    • says

      It’s terrible that you were bullied at school. It can be such a cruel environment for so many kids. And yet, kids have so much capacity to love and accept others. More than adults, I reckon. Like you say, it’s in the teaching…

  5. says

    That book sounds divine… I’ll have to get it.
    Look up…’Max makes a million’… It’s my absolute favourite book I’ve found for my kids… and it reads beautifully. Set in NY, sweet Max dreams of one day living in Paris as a Poet. The line at the end of the book is one of the sweetest endings…”off to paris to follow my dreams. Be brave Ida and Morris (his human parents, coz Max is a dog). We’ll meet again in that starry-eyed city. You know I have always lived by my dreams. And now they have come true. Roots and wings. Roots and wings. I’ve got to go, Daddy-o.”…. ahhhh, just brilliant! Roots and Wings Alarna….

    • says

      Oh, wow! I’ve heard the words.. “Max makes a million” – didn’t realise it was a book. I’ll definitely look it up, it sounds so beautiful and dreamy… You have sent me such a special vibe today, thank you 😉

  6. says

    That song is an earworm! I’ll be singing the chorus all day.

    My freak is introversion and I’m starting to be okay with that. Some of us like to dance on a stage, some like to dance in our chairs. It’s all good, so long as we’re dancing.

  7. says

    Yes, I’m shy and I hate small talk. I can never think of anything intelligent to say! I want to be more outgoing for my kids’ sake, and depending on the circumstances I have been able to come out of my shell. But, it is not easy! I can feel my ears get all hot. 🙂

    • says

      Hehe.. the ears, yes! It must be a challenge as a parent – something I only discovered on one of those Aunty outings, and I thought – who am I to tell them to talk? But like anything… practice, right?

  8. says

    Oh, Alarna…how do you do it every week? You always entertain & fascinate me with your words. I see myself like your G… still today. Thank you so much for allowing us, especially me, inside your beautiful mind every week!
    Love… rain

    • says

      Your words are a writer’s dream, you know? I’m glad you enjoy my threads of thought… And don’t worry, I think there’s a little bit of G in all of us 😉

      Thanks for being such fine company…. xx

  9. says

    “….if we’re going to share this musty old blanket, we might as well accept each other’s differences. Starting with ourselves.” Lovely words these..

    So what could you do to accept the other person with his differences….. his thoughts, beliefs, priorities? All these might just clash with your own…


    • says

      Hi there Shakti… You raise a big question. It’s certainly not easy – which, I guess, is why the world we live in is the way it is.

      But I like to think, though, that it is possible to ‘live and let live’. To put ourselves in someone else’s shoes, and see things from their point of view. We may not be able to agree, but understanding can go a long way…

  10. says

    I think my trademark freakishness is being expressed to some extent in the way I live my life right now — I no longer feel the need to follow “the rules” for how I am supposed to have conversations with people, and now I will just make nonverbal sounds when I like and tell people I enjoy being with them, even though that might be uncool. I want to keep bringing that into my daily life.

    • says

      You know what? That’s one of the things I dig about getting older – you start to care a little less what people think, and perhaps, are more willing to wear your heart on your sleeve. Life’s too short to be all cool and coy and tough exterior. Rules, anyway, who makes them?

  11. Deliberately Delicious says

    Your post has such a lovely message. It’s so important that we accept people – especially children – for who they are. And what a difference when we accept ourselves too.

  12. lynnkelleyauthor says

    The bug book sounds adorable! That sand sculpture exhibit is gorgeous, but just temporary? So all that hard work and it was washed away by the rain and blown away by the wind? How awesome that you got to go there with your niece.

    It seems like many writers are kind of shy. I’m not the most outgoing person, that’s for sure. It’s cool that we can overcome some of our shyness by writing, isn’t it?

    I love Lady Gaga’s “Born This Way” song, but I’ve never seen that video. It kind of freaked me out watching it. I did a post maybe a year ago using a YouTube video of Weird Al’s parody of Lady Gaga’s song, but he changed it to “I Perform This Way.” I still laugh every time I watch it!

    I think you might be right about Lady Gaga getting the idea for Mother Monster from Bugs in a Blanket! LOL!

    • says

      Lynn, you are such a darling for coming here and commenting. I will treasure it even more after our chat today! 🙂

      I do admire artists who create that kind of temporary art. Personally, I’d find that difficult, I think. But it is pretty amazing to see and watch. (The kids got a go too, and they loved that!)

      I know you’re a bit of a fan of Lady Gaga – but her clip is kinda out there, hey? I had never seen it before, but it made me smile! I’ll have to look that parody up!

  13. says

    Finding the happiness in doing something out on my own, where loneliness is all around, and well what I’m doing at the time, that’s happiness to me (but it’s not for everyone, and some just don’t understand it). That’s where my freak rests, when ever a chance permits, an open road, halfway up a mountain, three quarters of a way down a ravine, an isolated stretch of coastline. It’s a bit like what’s in the bush, is inside of me from growing up in it. Another way to sum it up is the song “Watching a Tree”.
    Oh, and writing and conversation, and not just sitting back… What is freakishness anyway 🙂

    • says

      Hehe! Indeed, what is freakishness? We’re all a little bit peculiar 🙂

      Being able to rest in your own company, and in the wild Australian outdoors, is a rare gift, I’d say. Many people I meet say they can’t stand the silence… and find it scary. So you’re an especially chilled soul…

      Best wishes to you for Easter 🙂

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