A young writer's struggle to follow a path others find unacceptable
|There is a butterfly in this university classroom. It sits quietly on the long, grey table; its unassuming brown wings still. Not a quiver of its antennae betrays its presence to the rest of the class… except for me. I ponder its meaning. How it got here, I don't know. The how doesn't really matter. It's the why that counts. Surely there can be no coincidence. Here, as I am determining my path at this fork in the road, sits God's little messenger. How extraordinary that the Almighty would send such a small creature, but the truth cannot be denied. A butterfly--so small in stature, yet so great in symbolism. It is the grandest symbol I could possibly imagine for transformation. To go from being a humble caterpillar anchored to the ground by gravity to being able to defy gravity, beat its silky wings and fly, speaks volumes to one such as myself.
For some time now I have felt anchored to a life that others have built for me. Out of misunderstood love and obedience, I have accepted their instruction and traveled this road of stress and misery, all the while believing that they must know what is in my best interest because they are good people who care about me. As time has passed, though, my little caterpillar body has begun to experience wants, needs -- desires even -- that a caterpillar cannot attain as a caterpillar. I began to dream of flying. Yet, still, I have toiled on as a caterpillar, doing what caterpillars do, because that was "what was best" for me according to those who cared about me.
Recently, however, I could take it no more. I felt there was no choice but to shut out the world and simply dream, so I drew myself up into a cocoon, probing my heart to discover if I truly had it in me to fly. There I slept, wrapped in warm memories of those times when I had been happiest following my own desires, dreaming my own dreams of a future far different from the one I was living. Yet, one cannot live on dreams alone. One cannot dwell on past memories of happier times. The dreamer must awaken, either to release the dream forever and live in perpetual misery, or to chase the dream in earnest until it becomes one's new reality. I chose to pursue my heart's desire, but…
But… there's always a "but," isn't there?
My "but" was that, even though I have emerged from my cocoon as a little butterfly, those I had listened to for so long still see me as a caterpillar. Perhaps it is that my wings are still wet, crinkled and bent close to my body. Perhaps, they cannot see them yet. In time, though, I know they will. And so here I sit in class, admiring my little messenger and all the symbolism it represents. As it flies away, its task performed, I smile. Someday, I think to myself, I will join you, my friend, and that will be a happy day