Moth or Butterfly?
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. ☺
I’m At that Age Where…
I’m enjoying life to the fullest.
I have worked hard for my money since I was 17 years old. I have been blessed to never have been unemployed. With hard work comes play, right? Absolutely! Honesty, now that I think about it, I don’t believe there has ever been a time in my adult working life that I haven’t lived my best life. It’s just now (or since my mid-30s) that I’ve been more responsible. *wink*
Your approval is not necessary.
What grinds my gears the most is someone’s unsolicited opinion that has no value whatsoever. Not only unsolicited, but also negative. Those who have an opinion about my personal life, attire, finances, the way I move, etc.—mind your business! I haven’t asked you for anything. Not money, not time, and most definitely not your negative, critical opinion that does not benefit me.
What was the point? Why do you care? Are you bored? I’m happy and my family is happy. That is what counts. I honestly believe those that feel the need to voice their unsolicited negative opinions are unhappy with their lives or have nothing better to do. Do they feel better trying to diminish others? I say trying because there are people like me that do not take it personally. I just look at them crazy, ignore what was said, and change the subject. Sometimes a prayer or two is needed. LOL
No explanation is needed.
Say less! I love these two words. Saying less gives me peace and preserves my energy. If you’ve asked me a question and I’ve given you a response, then that’s it. If I’ve made a statement such as “I am unavailable” then that’s all that is needed. Why do you need to know the reasons? Is it necessary or is it that you just didn’t like my answer? Do you want to debate? I’m not here for it. I said what I said. Next subject please or better yet, conversation is over.
Now, this isn’t always the case in every situation. I choose what I want to elaborate on based on whether it’s worth my time, energy, or financial benefit. Employers do not ask why PTO time is being taken, so why would I give additional information to someone who does not contribute to my finances? I’m just saying. Everything does not need to be explained nor do I wish for anyone to explain anything to me. I have peace when I know less in most situations. The way I move and the way I think is my business and no one else’s.
My energy and peace are precious.
It’s all about me. Self-care is important and that includes preserving my energy and peace. I’m in control. I refuse to allow others to take away my positive energy or my peace. It can happen. I set time limitations for those that I love and may need some time to vent. Once time is up, negative energy will be shifted to positive energy. How so, you ask? Take control of the situation. Ask about what good has happened, pray for them, and change the subject.
I’m thinking I needed to get a lot off my chest! Cheers and thanks for reading!