I feel like I’ve told this story a million times, but TODAY when I told it, it was met with,
“Have you written about this?”
No, actually I haven’t. Perfectionism and fear have kept this one waiting in the wings for far too long. It’s such an easy story to tell, when I’m talking, but when it comes to putting pen to paper, I just can’t seem to make it work. But it’s just my story, a bit of my history, that means a lot to me and deserves to be told. Yet still, as I’m typing these very words, I just don’t know how to start, how far should I let you in? Maybe this is a bad idea?
Screw it. I’m not sure how this is going to end up and I’m not even going to proofread it for fear that I’ll trash the whole damn thing. Delete would be too easy. Somehow I feel like the harder this is for me, the more I’m supposed to do it? Get over yourself Amanda.
Many years ago, how many isn’t really important, but long enough ago that I was still very much a child, yet trying desperately to be a grown up. I was doing the things I thought I was supposed to, yet, so much of me was miserable and I began doing some things I shouldn’t have. There’s blame to lay on both sides of the table, but MY sins are mine alone to atone for and those are all I’ll discuss.
I was terribly insecure and unsure of my place in the world as a whole. I was a wife, mother, business owner, yet every day I struggled to see my worth. The problem with that was that I didn’t value myself. I didn’t know how. I looked everywhere except inside of myself for validation. Pro-tip: DON’T DO THAT!
Enough back story. The reality is, I fucked up in my marriage. A lot. When I decided to end it itt wasn’t an easy decision. In fact, I questioned it for quite a while. I felt defeated, lost, and BROKEN.
One day, while I was in a particularly fragile emotional state, wondering if leaving was really what I was supposed to do, questioning everything I’d ever done to get me to that point in life, I heard it….
MOM, MOOOOOOMMMMMM COME HERE AND LOOK!!!
And there she stood We both just stared at that beautiful butterfly as it crawled up her arm, over and through her hair and settled onto her shoulder. Almost immediately I noticed that its wing was damaged. I didn’t have the heart to tell her that surely it would die soon, there was no way that it could fly to safety. My heart sank a little deeper into my gut thinking that butterfly, much like me, was meant to soar, but for whatever reason, it had become mangled, broken and at the mercy of its current circumstance. Then it happened.
That glorious creature spread those wings and flew. I watched it flutter back and forth between us as if it was some divine message reminding me of the strength I had within. Beautifully broken wings CAN fly. It was in that moment, that I realized no matter how broken I felt, no matter how damaged I appeared to the rest of the world, no matter what I did or didn’t do that landed me in my current situation, if I made the decision, I CAN FLY TOO. The only one stopping me was ME.
Now, I’m not trying to say that I immediately became perfect, making all the right choices and became instantaneously flawless. Hell no. Not even close. I’m still a flawed, broken mess, but at times in my life where I need to make a big choice or need some reassurance that I’m on the right path, it never fails that a butterfly will cross my path. I feel like it’s God’s gentle reminder to not let my brokenness consume me. That I just need to spread my wings and believe that I can. He’s not done with me yet, and just as a butterfly was once a caterpillar, my life is in a constant state of metamorphosis.
My very first tattoo is a tribute the never ending cycle of evolution. It symbolizes Who I WAS, Who I AM, and Who I have YET to Become.
Today a friend said he was feeling down so I invited him to run with me. The sun was shining, lungs were burning, and we started talking about hitting the gym for a minute. As we turned to head back to our vehicles, there they were, two butterflies. I stopped dead in my tracks to watch them. A huge smile came across my face as I started to tell him about my butterfly and he said,
“Have you written about this?”