My good friend and I spent a long weekend together in Chicago this past weekend. A running joke we had all weekend was that I was trying to be a butterfly all weekend and my friend would tease, “You aren’t ready, yet get back in your cocoon!”
After a memorable and fun filled weekend my friend sent me a very sweet text saying:
You know after spending another long weekend with you I realized all the amazing things you have to offer the world, and when you finally start to defend that and own it you’ll become an amazing butterfly
The text moved me and reminded of a reflection I had several years ago. I was a fresh out of college and desperately looking for work and stumbled upon that television series “Ugly Betty”. It was one of those amazing moments where you just happened to stumble upon the exact thing you needed in that very moment. It almost felt like divine intervention.
The show telling a coming of age story of Betty Suarez, a promising college graduate from a close knit family. Sound familiar? As I binge watched season after season I saw so much of myself in the naive but driven Betty. As Betty caught her stride and grew through the seasons (sometimes falling on her face-both literally and figuratively) I knew that my story was just getting started.
Now for the butterfly reference, during the final season the show used the metaphor of metamorphosis of a butterfly to describe Betty’s tremendous growth over the course of the show. The comparison was a real “AH HA” moment for me and has stuck with me to this very day. For those of you not familiar with Ugly Betty please find the quote from the show below:
Betty Suarez: I don’t think I’ve ever seen a butterfly come out of it’s cocoon before.
Olivia: Everyone talks about the miracle of birth. I think re-birth is even more of a miracle.
Betty Suarez: Oh, I think he’s struggling.
Olivia: Oh, he can handle it. I suspect caterpillars stay in their cocoon’s a little longer than they really need to. It’s got to be scary… to change into a whole new thing.
Betty Suarez: Wow. He’s so beautiful. Oooh… but the caterpillar’s just… gone.
Olivia: Aw… he’s still in there. Other people just see the wings… and the colors. I’ll always see the caterpillar.
At the time the comparison really resonated with me and the crossroad that I was at somewhere between student and adult. I remember thinking to myself so what happens to the caterpillar when it becomes a butterfly? I thought at the time of myself as that caterpillar staying in my cocoon a little longer trying to become the butterfly without losing sight of the inner caterpillar. In a sense I was trying to find myself without losing who I already was.
Flash forward 7 years later and just how this memory still applies. Another case of what almost feels like divine intervention I feel like I can add to the metamorphosis metaphor. That yes, change can be scary but as long as you don’t lose sight of who you are or what you came from it can also be quite beautiful. But additionally, it is only when you can be yourself unapologetically and defend yourself to the world (both the caterpillar and butterfly parts) that you can truly grow as an individual.
So here is to being myself without apology and defending who I am to become the butterfly I a know I am.