The Butterfly Within


If by reading my writings you haven’t figured out that I am far from a flowery writer you haven’t been paying attention. I mince my words with dark strange analogies, and with deep streaks of sarcasm and humour, and sometimes — I’m just goofy. So when the time comes for an idea or subject and all I can muster are flowery ways to speak, I know sadly, it’s meant to be.

It doesn’t get more flowery prose than flippin’ butterflies. That ultimate form of metamorphosis. That critical way of expressing the deep and beautiful change one has gone thru.

Let me start my explanation on why in general I hate the correlation between human change and butterflies. I am in a very small handful of people who do not find butterflies beautiful. In fact – I find them to be very, very — creepy. Their lithe way of darting to and fro, means I never know if I will lightly collide with their velvety soft wings accidentally in my mouth as my head twists to avoid their path.

I must have eaten a butterfly in a previous life. It just feels too familiar.

Plus there was this childhood — experience —- that I won’t delve too deeply into. Suffice to say it involved me, a vampire moth, a group of older teens I was desperately attempting to fit in with, an awkward frenzied flail into the pool and some cooking oil. Naw, no cooking oil involved. I just added that in for the creep factor.

It’s not just butterflies. I find their original form of caterpillars equally as disturbing, and as life would have it, where I live it practically rains caterpillars for a period of about two days in the Spring. They are EVERYWHERE and I am absolutely aghast at this. No matter how much I might hate a bug – outside I have a certain amount of respect for them. I try very hard to never purposely squish one. So, a mere walk to the garage, or to check the mail usually consists of me weaving on the sidewalk, avoiding the littering of two inch caterpillars as they try and make it to a safe haven. Although I don’t want to say it out loud and have my neighbors find me stranger than they have already figured out — during this rain/reign of weird hairy worms,  I very much think Circle-of-Life thoughts and I try to send mental signals to the birds to let them know breakfast, lunch and dinner are being served in abundance, at my house.

I find the comparisons people make when change comes their way and they use the butterfly analogy — to be so dull and unimaginative. Yes we get it. Difficult life avoiding the bird, cocooned into safety and emerged beautiful and strong. Certainly there must be another, any OTHER way of describing struggle, and change that evolves into beauty and peace?

Driving home the other day the mind started to wander to this sort of peaceful place and of course that felt good – a tad foreign, but good. Like anything good in my life I have to sort of poke it and analyze it to see if it will sustain life. In poking I realized I have sort of – transformed and this year by myself – that was my cocoon , and I wondered what analogy I could use in writing about this.

(Butterfly) my inner self whispered.

No, that’s not it I thought.

It’s a …. a … (Butterfly) ….

No, it’s one of those things that is born one way, and then life makes it … (BUTTERFLY. IT’S A FUCKING BUTTERFLY!!)

It doesn’t gently dawn on me, it smacks with the weight of a people sized cocoon (Eewwwwww. Just the thought of that. *shudder*), that there is no other way to completely describe my own transformation, than to at some stages and points involve the damned butterfly.

I mean I went thru life, absorbing and acclimating myself to everything around me. It’s how I think I have always lived my life, outside of my kids. You bowl? Wow, I’ve always wanted to bowl. You love the Grateful Dead? I’ve always been interested in the Life of the Dead.

And so it went. I picked up bits and pieces of my relationships, becoming an expert in some areas, but more often than not a Jack of All Trades. I’ve dabbled in alllll of it. But here is the part that’s so good, I enjoyed it all while it happened. I wasn’t losing myself completely (although suffice to say there were definite times my judgement was so far off, I had to have lost myself), I was discovering myself. I bits and pieces. I just started doing this at such an early stage, an infancy of my intimacy to speak, that I don’t believe that Gina really fully evolved. I really didn’t know who I was when I was younger. I liked music and going out to clubs, but was I a skier, or an off-road enthusiast? Did I like heavy metal or Jimmy Buffet? Hiking, or wind-surfing? Was I a wine or gin drinker? Yes. Yes, yes, yes and YES. And then no. Maybe not so much. Maybe a definite yes here and there, and a hell no once in a blue moon.

The peace came from this knowing, “This is it. This is who I am, and I am not going to struggle to be something else.” Yes I can be a bit lazy at times.  Yeah, I think I’m pretty damn funny, and sorry but from time to time it will be at the expense of you. It will be at the expense of me too. I’m hyper-sensitive when the moon is waning just so. I am quick-tempered. But I am a lot more forgiving then I thought I was. I can get laughing and just not stop. I need peanut butter to get rid of my hiccups. I’m never going to be that Thin Mint again, and guess what? Unless I’m shopping for a formal to wear on my cruise, I don’t care. I still have sex appeal and others find me attractive. I don’t need to embrace my inner musician and learn to love the music you do. Or buy new hiking boots to become the super hiker. But I can buy new camping equipment, and sit in a river for hours with you while we trade listening to our favorite songs.

So when my butterfly emerges – and to be honest I’m not quite certain if I am the butterfly already, or if I am in the … what’s it called? — the pupa stage? I just sort of know, that it was great being a deadhead’s girlfriend, as well as one of many musicians. I embraced the off-road rider, as well as that chick on the back of the Harley. I was the one who began eating meat for you, and the one who loved your cooking. The nasty girl who did this, and the good girl who didn’t do that. I’m sure that I needed to be the girlfriend of the alcoholic, as well as being head over heels about that guy who seemed to dabble just a tad too much in his drug of choice. That allllll of these choices I made, all of these situations I absorbed and acclimated myself might mean I come out with one hell of a freaky wing design, but it’ll be me. Some are going to think I’m creepy and soft, and others are going to see the beauty in me.

I guess part of that peaceful embrace is accepting that yeah – I’m a creepy butterfly, and I’m okay with it.


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