In 2022, my ongoing theme has been purpose. Am I purposeful in my encounters? In my walk with Christ? In my friendships? According to Oxford Languages, purpose is defined as “the reason for which something is done or created or for which something exists.” On an evening stroll on Instagram, I had one of those moments where life stops, or better yet, comes together. Having my heart and mind catechized by a recent loss in my friendship circle, hearing Jerry Flowers Jr. speak about butterflies and moths, commanded my full attention.
To back it up, I have always loved butterflies since an elementary school field trip when my Moms played hooky at work to chaperone. We went crazy for years trying to keep our butterfly bond relevant. It worked in my favor when butterfly accessories became the greatest fad. I had the butterfly hair clips, the whimsical butterfly ring, and even got a butterfly tattoo as an adult. It was that real to me. I recall in 2018 on a trip to the United Arab Emirates, I made a day of visiting the Dubai Butterfly Garden. I took advantage of all the photo opportunities at the entrance. My favorite was standing in between a set of wings with my body being the thorax and abdomen of a giant butterfly statue. The last pictures I took that day were at the entrance.
Once in the gardens, I got anxious, overwhelmed, and then I got silent. I had a true awakening in the garden. I wanted to go back to the hotel and just bathe. I was around my favorite animal, but that afternoon they became bugs, well, moths in my eyes. I smiled outwardly when asked about my experience at the garden, but internally something had changed.
Three years later after hearing Jerry Flowers Jr. share his insight on the caterpillar evolution into a moth or butterfly, I was taken back on so many levels. Having just shared with my Pops earlier in the day that I no longer communicate with a friend, my spirit was vulnerable, and I leaned into this butterfly-moth dichotomy. I did some research and learned that it’s already known whether metamorphosis will produce a butterfly or a moth at the caterpillar stage. More than that, I also learned from a team of scientists at Georgetown University that the caterpillar stage is impactful to the butterfly and moth stage.
Grasping for understanding, I let my thoughts roll. I let myself morph into the caterpillar to allow God and nature to speak to my spirit Woman. I recognized that yes, like most relationships we start compatible and crawling. We crawl together. We crawl apart. We experience life and all it throws at us. Mutually and independently. Then, the cocoon phase happens. Ugh, the cocoon phase. That literal pressure is essential for continued growth. We make it out.
Finally, we emerge, butterfly and moth. We were crawling together a minute ago, and now I can’t seem to find my friend. And I mean friend FRIEND. Since butterflies still hold a soft spot for me (plus it’s tatted on me), I metamorphosed into a butterfly—flying, trying to find my friend. Every morning I’m getting up to see if she’s near that flower, that park, hopefully near Sunday brunch. I can’t find her. She’s lost to me. I hear Mr. Flowers Jr. say, “One major difference between a moth and a butterfly is that one is nocturnal, and the other is diurnal.” And it hits me.
We don’t have a problem. We don’t have a break in communication. We have different environments with its own requirements. We can’t crawl together because we’ve outgrown that, but we can thrive in our own respects. While I was up looking for her, she was resting. And while she looks for me, my rest is just as essential.
I know that God makes no mistakes, and I was always going to be this butterfly. It provides peace knowing that while we were caterpillars, we were the best at it. And I remember and cherish our memories as caterpillars. They impacted me and I’m sure they always will. But I must fly. I can’t waste my wings trying to relive an earlier version of me that only knew how to crawl and experience life from the ground level. I now have a better view and a purpose to fly towards. I understand nothing is worse than being a moth during the day or a butterfly at night. While we come from similar beginnings, our God-given purpose has manifested. As a butterfly, the moth is my sister. We have different roles and different needs we’re both working towards. Trying to hold onto the past will only stunt our growth.
About the Author
Anita is a native of Miami, Florida. A Taurus through and through. She enjoys experiencing life first hand, which is why she is working on filling up her passport with stamps and stories to tell of each addition. As the youngest of five, family is her essence of life. She is highly motivated by the black experience and intent on being Christ-like (although, she understands she’ll fall short). Stay posted to see what she has to say and say HEYYYY NITA when you see her. ☺