Anyone who knows me well knows I love butterflies. What’s not to love? They’re alluring with their intricate patterns and amazing colors. Their grace when they fly and flutter about is lovely to watch. They’re beautiful, but that’s not why I love butterflies. I love them because they remind me there’s always hope at the end of every situation.
Everyone knows the butterfly metamorphosis metaphor. It’s a cliché at this point, but I don’t care. As I look back at life, I see the cycle of the butterfly clearly in all the events that have shaped me: caterpillar, cocoon, and butterfly. It’s a cycle that’s repeated over and over again in my life, and that’s fine because I know no matter what life presents, no matter how dark the cocoon, I will always emerge as the beautiful butterfly I was meant to be.
I know that in most metaphors the caterpillar is considered ugly and that this is viewed as a negative life stage, but this is not the case in my metaphor. The caterpillar is the symbol of living life. I believe we spend most of our time in the caterpillar stage just going about our day-to-day business. These are the periods of stability, comfort, and even boredom—the time we spend just having simple days. There are good and bad days in this stage but just your standard highs and lows. It’s just us going through life, crawling around, and doing what we need to do.
This is a good stage. After all, what’s wrong with having a stable, consistent life where you know exactly what to expect? The problem is that if you stay a caterpillar, you never grow. The point of life is to become the very best version of yourself you can become, but how do you do that? Well, sometimes life forces you to do that. It leads you to experiences, circumstances, or even people who force you to begin your metamorphosis.
Everyone at least once will enter the cocoon stage. At the introduction of the catalyst for your change, you start by feeling angry, lost, hopeless, and/or alone. You feel like no one understands what you’re facing. Heck, you may not even understand what you’re facing. Eventually, you begin to go inside yourself to reflect, to strategize, to figure out how you’re going to overcome the mountain in front of you. You create your cocoon and attempt to find hope and guidance within it.
This can be a very dark time depending on what you’re going through, and it can scare the hell out of you. There will be times where you want to scream and times when you cry—a lot. There will be times where you want to give up because it seems like your only option. There will be times where you have no idea how you will even get through the day, but you get out of bed, put on a brave face, and do your best to keep it together. You make it through that seemingly impossible day. Then, you get through the next day and the next day, and as you do, something amazing happens. You start to empower yourself. You start to find your strength, and you start to tell yourself, “I will get through this.” And, you do!
Once you make the decision that you will not let “this” beat you, you begin to break out of your cocoon. You begin to define who you are outside of this experience, and you start taking steps to be that person. With each step, day, or change, you punch out of the cocoon, and then, one day, you emerge as a beautiful butterfly.
My favorite part about being a butterfly is the moment you realize that the very thing that sent you into your cocoon has no power over you anymore. It may have scarred you in some way, but you are now stronger than the obstacle. You’ve learned from it; you’ve grown as a result of it. You’re a different person, a new, better version of yourself. You went through the darkness and now fly in the light. It’s an amazing feeling.
The challenges and experiences that inspired me to write this blog all took me through this metamorphosis. I am who I am because of everything I have been through, experienced, and survived in my life. I’ve made many cocoons, and I’ve emerged from all of them a butterfly. That’s why I included a butterfly on the header for my blog and why I use the butterfly as my icon virtually everywhere. I even have a butterfly tattoo (although very few people have known this until now). It reminds me that no matter what life throws at me that I will overcome it. When the challenge in front of me seems impossible, I will find a way to make it possible. In the darkest times when I feel like all hope is lost, I simply have to remember that butterfly deep inside of me. That butterfly is unfailingly always with me giving me the strength and courage I need to persevere. That butterfly is always going to see me through because that butterfly is always unfailing Andrea.