Think back, my friends, to early elementary school when you studied the life cycle of a butterfly. You probably remember the basics, and, for what I’m about to say, that’s all you need to know.
As you remember, there are 4 stages to a butterfly’s metamorphic life. Stage one: egg, self explanatory. Stage two: larva, this is the caterpillar stage, when they wiggle around being adorable and eating all the leaves. Stage three: pupa, the chrysalis stage, the reason we’re talking right now. And finally, stage four: adult, mother fudging butterfly stage, free to fly the earth being magical and sexy.
As many of you know, I’ve been going through a bit of an upheaval here of late. In August, I became separated from my husband of 21 years and we began “untying the knot”, so to speak, disentangling the lives we had built together and going our separate ways. It’s been 4 months, 2 weeks, and 2 days, and I have to say that a lot of that has been spent thinking, overthinking, questioning, crying, building myself up, then tearing myself back down, then trying to build myself up again. And I have taken a long hard look at myself many times.
I didn’t realize until recently how much of my self-worth was tied up in my relationship. I haven’t really liked myself for a long time. I have believed I was ugly, fat, boring, annoying, etc. But I was always able to end my sentences with “but at least one person loves me”.
“I may be ugly to everyone else but at least Nick thinks I’m beautiful.”
“Other people might find me boring but at least Nick thinks I’m interesting.”
“Blah blah blah but at least Nick…”
I didn’t like myself, but I figured it was okay because at least one person did.
Four months, two weeks, and two days ago, that all changed. I couldn’t get my self-worth from “at least…” anymore. Now, I was stuck looking in the mirror wondering if anyone would ever love me again, believing myself to be fundamentally unlovable. (I’m an Enneagram 4. Look it up.)
Today, I had a thought that changed all of that.
Once you become separated from your partner of many years, the question of whether or not you will date again and WHEN you will date again comes up often. It’s something you think about yourself and something a lot of people ask. Some advise getting back out there right away, while others advise taking time for yourself. Either way, you begin to wonder what the dating market has for you and if you have anything to offer anyway. After so much time not liking the person in the mirror, I believed I had nothing to offer anyone. Do I want to date again, find love again, settle into a comfortable monogamy once again? Hell ya. But not right now. It’s so scary. “And besides,” I’ve thought, “no one is going to want me.”
But today, I realized something. I realized that I am going through an effing metamorphosis right now. I thought of all the things I don’t like about myself and the subtle changes I’ve been slowly making over the last 4 months to improve myself. I thought of what I will be like in a year’s time. And I am delighted to report that I have no idea what I will be like in a year’s time. Everything about me is in a state of flux right now, right down to my hair, which I have decided to stop dyeing for the time being, and let the grey grow back in. Clean slate.
Theydies and gentlethems, I realized today that I am glorious goo.
You see, at the pupa stage, when the caterpillar turns itself into a chrysalis, the whole mother loving thing turns into soup. An outer shell forms and hardens, and the insides become glop. Glorious green slushy goodness. And it is from this slop, and only from this slop, that a butterfly forms. The caterpillar must shed its skin and dissolve its former being in order to transform into its final stage: adult, butterfly.
It’s true, I don’t particularly like who I am right now. I like myself, don’t get me wrong, but I still feel ugly, boring, annoying, etc. But I no longer desire to attach my self-worth to anyone else with an “at least” ever again. I’m taking steps now, concrete steps, to become a person I LIKE. I will become my own “at least”. I will become a person I admire, respect, love, and think is hella foine.
But right now, I’m in a chrysalis. I am goo, glorious goo. I’m dissolving my former self so I can become an effing butterfly. And there is absolutely nothing wrong with being goo. This is part of the process.
It’s actually exciting to me to think I have a chance to reinvent myself. I’m actually super excited knowing that I have no idea what my life will look like in four years when I’m, hopefully, graduating from college. (Eep!) In fact, I don’t even know what my life will look like in a year and that’s amazing and wonderful!
Something else from the world of lepidopterology, butterflies retain memories from when they were caterpillars. I love that because it ties in so beautifully with the rest of my metaphor. Though I be goo, I will not forget what I have learned from my life as a caterpillar and when I am finally a winged beauty, soaring through the sky, I will have learned from my mistakes and won’t repeat them.
My life is shifting, evolving, transforming, and utterly gooifying itself. I am on my way to a life floating on spiced summer breezes, sipping nectar and whispering to the sky.
But for now, I am goo, glorious goo. And I couldn’t be more delighted.