Friday, August 2, 2013

Favorite Characters: Camilla The Chameleon

One of my favorite characters in my River of Imagination Book Series is Camilla the Chameleon. In this bold and colorful book, she invites readers to enter her magical world of transformation. Unlike regular chameleons who merely change colors, Camilla transforms into any shape she desires! I wrote this book over a decade ago when my little second grader Devyn (now entering his junior year of high school) came home with a DK Science book about lizards. We learned a few facts and created some "what if" questions together. It was then that we "met" Camilla through a science book.

Ten years later, Camilla is still showing us the power of transformation while remaining true to  character. I've recently lost 40 lbs. in the course of a year and a half through a diet program and exercise. Midway through my weightloss journey, I discovered that I wasn't doing this for the purpose of appearance as I first thought. I just wanted to be comfortable in my own skin. I was doing it to feel good about myself because I was testing my limit. How strong am I? How resilient? How goal-oriented? I've transformed my body, yes, but I have also transformed how I think. Man push-ups? From, "OMG, I can't," to "Let me just try three today and see how I do." I also know that just because I lost weight doesn't mean that I'm done with the work. Nope. Just getting started. I still have goals I need to meet to keep me going. To keep me alive.

Camilla shows readers how she developed a thicker skin when she is confronted with choosing her identity. Although she transforms into any shape she desires, there will always be a part of her that will remain the same. The real question Camilla considers isn't at all about which shape suits her best. It's more like, "Am I looking at my flaws, or am I looking for my strengths?" We all need to choose. We cannot be complacent. To the casual observer, Camilla is just another cute children's book about a cute little girl lizard. To the careful reader, the passionate educator, or the strong parent, Camilla empowers everyone (not just girls) to be ambitious, assertive, and individualistic without having to succumb to any cultural phenomenon.

I really love that my own little girl Zoe, who sings the theme song for the book's soundtrack, is learning her true value from Camilla's example. It's not her beauty. It's not all the standards of what a little girl should look like. It's not her niceness nor her politeness. It's her own discovery of truth. This summer, she discovered something while recording this song in the studio for the very first time. I don't know exactly what she discovered, but I know it was something important for her.

I love you, Zoe.
P.S. =  I can now do ten real push-ups everyday. That's quite a big accomplishment for me.

"You Should Be Happy Being You"
Lead vocals: Zoe Pulido; Harmony: Cecilia Salazar
Violin: Gregory Linzen
From the River of Imagination Book Series
Music and Lyrics by Michael Pulido

I'm changing
Uncomfortable in my own skin
When I can be anything
Strange how we're all different but still the same
Uncomfortable in our own skin

Even with all the magic in a wizard's hand
You'll see across the land
Grass is still green
And the skies are still blue

So if you're happy being me
You should be happy being you

In the midst of being who I am
Someone lied
Said the grass is greener
On the other side

But those thoughts I believe
To be untrue

So if I'm happy being me
You should be happy being you
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