The first time I “discovered” my love for writing was by sheer accident. Well, not so much writing as discovering the ease at which I could make up fictional stories and characters in my head. I was eight years old, extremely bored since my brothers were off playing and my mom was doing motherly duties. I didn’t have any paper but I improvised with one of our educational books and wrote my very first short story inside of the cover. It was a morbid little tale and after I finished, I read it excitedly to my brother who wasn’t quite as interested as I hoped. Since I couldn’t get anyone to believe my tale, I tucked my over active imagination and my knack for story telling away. Deeply. I went years without feeding this gift, never once realizing it was indeed a gift. As I got older, I found a love for my English & History classes, particularly the ones with a heavier writing curriculum. I kept journals and a diary throughout all of middle school, junior & high school. And by the time I entered undergrad, I was so good at crafting original work out of thin air, people actually paid me to write papers for them. Still I saw this as nothing more than a hobby, at times less than a hobby because I had robbed myself for so long of a passion that ignites my soul. I tried, unsuccessfully, to fill a void I wasn’t even aware existed with other oddities and hobbies but always had paper to scribble words down. You see, for me, the conception of my gift came later (much later) in life, although present at birth but conception came when I was ready to acknowledge it. I couldn’t acknowledge it without first learning the who, what, where and when of my calling. And that entailed getting to who I am because acknowledgement is only the first step. So, how does one go from conception to transformation into who you are created to be? Through a process we are taught in 5th grade science class: Metamorphosis.
As young children we learn the simplicity yet complex process of metamorphosis. What our little minds cannot grasp at that early age is ALL LIVING THINGS WILL GO THROUGH TRANSFORMATION. At different ages and stages in life. All must go through a process of metamorphosis, the shedding of a former skin for a renewed one. What we don’t learn in fifth grade is the degree of difficulty of the process, all we understand is being a caterpillar, hiding out in a cocoon for a short time and coming out a beautiful butterfly. Easy breezy. We tend to take that simplistic approach about life into adulthood. We wait for transformation to “magically” happen or wait for assistance from a higher power, never fully grasping the work it takes to actually transform into greater. We don’t really want to put in the work or our desire is for someone else to do for us. We fight it, gripe, whine about how unfair life is yet we unknowingly possess the keys to unlock the trunk of answers.
Ever wonder what the caterpillar feels? It happily strolls along life’s path, content with who it is and its function, never grasping that change is on the horizon. It then gets locked in a very uncomfortable position: the cocoon. It isn’t even aware of how long it will be inside of what appears to be not new life forming, but a dark damp grave. I imagine several thoughts swirl around it during this time. Will I survive this? What will become of me? What exactly is going on in here? And I wonder does it even desire to be a butterfly? Once the process begins, does it contemplate escaping its hellish prison? The truth is transformation (change) is supposed to be uncomfortable. The cocoon is where everything we know to be true is challenged. Weighed. Balanced. Renewed. It is where we learn, sometimes very painfully, to release the things that no longer serve us in exchange for a big ol’heap of uncertainty. It is where we learn to trust the very moment we are breathing in, not anxiously planning the future or living the past. I’ve learned we go through many cocoon phases in life, only seeing a better version of ourselves once we’ve emerged a different creature.