Did you know that some butterflies remain in a painful cocoon for two full years, literally melting into nothingness before emerging?
I’ve never interviewed a butterfly about this process but if I did I think it would go something like this:
Me: What went through your head in there?
Butterfly: Not much since my head was melting along with everything else about me as I dissolved in order to become this. I’d have to say it kinda sucked, but that’s the deal.
While you may not share my fascination with all things pollinator and bug, I think you know where I’m going here. Life calls upon us to constantly change, to transition whether we want to or not, and every, single time it “kinda sucks, but that’s the deal.” If you’re like my young friend who listened to “Eye of the Tiger” for three straight hours or like me who watches obscure BBC shows for five hours per night–distraction and absorption both play a role in cocooning. Be easy on yourself during your transitions both large and small. It aint easy melting away and becoming that new thing. If you’ve been through it a few times before it’s additionally exhausting as in, “Damn it. I thought this was eventually going to get easier.”
In the summer I head to the hills and watch butterflies, beetles and dragonflies for hours, sometimes days, to get through my changes. I feel like they get me. But in the winter I’m stuffed in a solo cocoon mostly figuring no one gets me, life is pointless and unless a bunch of Irish poets are coming for dinner in a week or two I have nothing to live for. It’s all very dramatic in my mind–but consider it’s melting and hurting so that’s actually pretty normal.
This time of year makes it waaaaay worse. Add to a melting mind and body, locked in a chilly cocoon the horror known as “The Holidays”. It’s enough to make a self respecting larvae want to chuck the whole transition and give up.
I sense that you feel the same way. You are seeking solutions to the Merry, merry and “Holiday Cheer” which feels more like a bully beat down to pick your pockets and demand you enjoy it. If you’re not from a painting of a family or particularly geeked about “Jesus birthday” which historians agree was most likely in the summer, then this whole thing is just some lights and cold nights.
It’s okay to not love the holiday season.
It’s okay to admit your mind is melting and you’re transitioning to whatever you will be next and it “kinda sucks.” No matter what Zuckerberg and his jack booted Facebook thugs say, sometimes we are not sitting on a canoe in Venice drinking champagne out of a slipper–sometimes we’re in a bathrobe that needs a good washing eating soup from a can–alone. Everything that makes you human is okay. Every day, good and bad, is still your experience. If it sucks right now–go for broke and let it suck all the way. No need to pretend on my account. Have a PBR, eat some unhealthy food and tell the radio to piss off with all its bothersome old Christmas tunes. Did anyone, ever, really like those songs?
If you love it all, if ugly sweaters thrill you to the t-shirt and you wish Bing Crosby made more albums–well, it’s your moment. Love it. Don’t make me love it–don’t tell me I’m at war with you if I think it’s too far from July or depressing. We all get our day and our un-day. This country was not based on Christmas and God doesn’t dislike people who dislike Christmas. It’s a thing like football, eating turkey and parades. I hate all that stuff. Last year I went to Portugal to escape it only to bump into a fat ass tree on the main plaza with a huge Santa castle. You can run but you can’t hide…unless you go to an island not influenced by Christmas but even then there will be some British guy with a decorated tree, “Hey you, Yank, –want a port and a toast to the holiday?”
So here’s to you grouchy, angry, fed up with the holidays, wishing the whole catastrophe would end and not leave you broke- people. Here’s to those of us in our cocoons going through more transitions and thinking it “kinda sucks”. Here’s to the whole dynamic and bizarre ritual and to all of us who survive it. Here’s also to you who think it’s all so lovely and the bees knees (although I wish you would leave my people out of this).
Do your thing. But do not ask me to do your thing unless I get to pull you from your life in August on the hottest day of the year and drag you up some remote hillside to sit on rocks for days staring at small bugs and smiling from ear to ear. If you like to do both–you’re a lucky person and I’m jealous of you. Don’t tell me.
Some butterflies take two years to become what they are through painful death and new life. Some people take lifetimes.