Butterflies (originally published 19 February 2018)
Butterflies. I have butterflies. That's how I'd describe my stomach these days. There are big changes in store for The Purple Raven Boutique this year and for me. Excitement and anxiety have a lot in common, butterflies being one of those things.
Butterflies have a great deal of symbolism attached to them. Like many people, I've associated them with transformation and the realization of potential. They are so very beautiful at this stage it is easy to forget about the patience, perseverance and healthy does of luck that helped them reach that stage.
As larvae, they crawl along in the world, eating voraciously, single-minded in purpose and largely relying on camouflage to go unnoticed by predators they can neither outmaneuver nor overpower. Once they enter the pupa or chrysalis stage of their development, they withdraw from the world to do the magical work of transformation, while life and death go on around them.
Pursuing a creative career is much like being a butterfly, except you don't transform just once. Transformation opens up new horizons, but then you are drawn back to earth, to begin the process of absorbing new experiences, materials, influences and inspirations as you prepare for another chrysalis. Sometimes you can be quite single-minded in your approach, much to the chagrin of family and friends, but you know no other way.
When you are finally ready, you carve out a space in time where these "ingredients" can percolate and combine inside you, becoming greater than their individual parts and changing you in the process. This process can be joyful, but also painful and lonely. You are your own midwife, overseeing the labor of creation.
Later, when you finally emerge, you will stop to behold what you have brought forth. And in that same moment, you may feel the butterflies inside, already daring you to dance with them again.
Anyone who thinks makers aren't risk takers, aren't driven to create and sometimes at great personal cost, well, they've never danced with the butterflies, have they?
And I can't help but feel a little sad for them.