I've been compared to a butterfly so many times over the past few years that I've sort of adopted it as my spirit animal. And I get it. Butterflies start out as fat, ugly little caterpillars. Nobody really likes them; they torture them or squish them or are just generally grossed out by them.
So the caterpillar says, "F*ck this" and builds a quiet cocoon with a hard chrysalis shell and it goes to work. It completely transforms itself from the inside out. And then one day it emerges a completely new and beautiful creature. People are now enamored with them rather than put off. They see them as beautiful and delicate and brave and even a little bit magical.
Yes, I see the correlation. I know how the caterpillar feels. I followed in his footsteps. I too said, "F*ck this" and built myself a nice, safe little cocoon. I liked my cocoon too. No one bothered me in there. I didn't expect anything from anyone in there. I rarely got hurt in there. When someone threatened to penetrate my shell, I used one of my many defense mechanisms and before long, they were gone and I could go back to my quiet and get back to my work.
And I worked hard in there. Everyday I worked; finding my beauty and my strength. Eventually my fat little body whittled away and my wings were formed and I cracked through my chrysalis shell and just like the butterfly, I emerged completely transformed too.
But here is the where the butterfly and I differ. Most days I'm more like a bull in a china shop than a delicate butterfly. When I picture a butterfly, I don't imagine that that they have massive emotional meltdowns. They don't destroy relationships. They don't take every comment or observation personally. They don't hold grudges against the people who tortured them when they were caterpillars. They don't get depressed or irrational or angry. When I picture a butterfly, I imagine them soaring with beauty and grace. But not me, I do all of that shit.
I have absolutely been blessed with times when I have soared and I have experienced moments of pure beauty where my wings glistened against the sun and people watched in awe as I landed on golden flowers ever so delicately. I have for sure had a few glorious butterfly moments. I know why people say that. I've felt it.
The problem is that once I land, I usually find a way to fall off backwards and bust my ass in front of everyone looking on. And let's be clear, I don't fall gracefully. Not metaphorically speaking and not in real life. I can put on a shit show like nobody.
And I always manage to tear and scratch and pull some of the petals off of those flowers I land on when I do. Trust me, if I fall, someone else is going to get hurt in the process. It's painful, humiliating and embarrassing and you can't help but feel like the worlds most awkward butterfly when it happens. And it happens more than I care to admit.
I don't know how the butterfly does it. She seems so perfectly simple. She seems so effortless. She just instinctively knows how to be beautiful. I suppose that is why she is my spirit animal. She is what I hope to be.
I read something recently though that I didn't know. There is actually a stage that most chrysalis butterflies must go through right after they emerge. They have to take some time before they actually fly to just sit still. They have let their wings dry and harden and expand to their full size before they can really take off. That concept got me thinking that maybe that's where I went wrong.
I came fluttering out full speed ahead. I never took that time to focus on the new thing that I had become. I was carrying all of the caterpillar shit around on top of my new little wings, so I flailed about all crooked and messy like a drunken moth crashing into a porch light, rather than some magical creature dancing in the air through a field of light.
I think I need to backtrack and take that time. After all, if you haven't figured it out by now, this is all just a metaphor. I'm a simple, flawed human being. I will fail and I will fall and I will fuck up some shit along the way. That is just life. I've been wasting precious time either obsessing over fears of reverting back to who I was in the past or trying to force myself into being what I think other people want, rather than just seeing and accepting myself for who I am in this moment.
I have to let go of all of those thoughts and doubts and limitations I put on myself personally, professionally, emotionally and physically. I have to trust that I am new. I have to know that I did the work. I have to believe in myself and my new wings as much as those that see me when I soar and glisten do. I have to stop fighting so fucking hard. The battle is over.
I guess what I'm trying to say is that I need to be ok with being the world's most awkward butterfly. I need to stop trying so hard to be beautiful and delicate and just be for a moment. Because what's really important and amazing and beautiful is the fact that I became a butterfly at all.
Epiblog: A place for paying it forward and supporting artists, entrepreneurs and people who inspire me. I hope you find some inspiration here too.
This week's epiblog goes out to Darrin Bradburry. Darrin moved to Nashville just over a year ago. And he came loaded with songs. Tragic but funny and true stories about life as a troubadour. I think Darrin knows a something about becoming a butterfly himself. He is just now getting those wings ready to fly. He's done the work and now people are starting to notice. And they should. Darrin is rare thing. He is a true songwriter. He is also in the process of making a new record, so keep an eye out for it. Find Darrin's music here or friend him on Facebook ~