This is my answer to the constant question I get now a days ” How are you feeling today?”
Today I feel like a Chained Butterfly!
What does that mean? you ask. Let me explain.
A butterfly goes through three phases in its lifetime and I have always felt that my life broke down into the same three phases except now I have had to add a fourth stage which will be uncovered in this journal entry.
The three phases of a butterfly’s life are: First phase is the inch worm phase where it is stuck on the ground and can inch its way down its path to hopefully find its destined tree, it may veer off its path but seems to always find its way to the tree where he prepares for the second phase of its life.
Second stage is the cocoon phase where it is time for him to reflect on new goals and begin its transformation into what God has guided it to, the new path it was meant to have taken all along.
The butterflies’ last but most inspired phase is the transformation phase. This is where it is has finished its transformation and has turned into what everyone knew it could and should have been a one-of-a-kind beautiful butterfly that can now spread its wings and fly, able to explore the world and see everything with a new view and everything it does instills a sense of pride in its self!
The past couple years I have felt like my life was a lot like that of the butterfly’s life cycle. When I was in my 20’s I was inching along in life like a caterpillar. I had no direction, no goals, no wants except to have fun and get drunk and party. I spent one year in college directly after high school but I had to work a full-time job to be able to afford my car and insurance and books. It was just too much for me so I didn’t go back the next year and moved in with my dad who lived in another state and I hit the ground running and didn’t stop until I got pregnant at the age of 24. I was married at the time but we were both just living our best lives and doing everything and anything we wanted so it wasn’t much of marriage just an amazing partner to have my back when I needed someone and vice versa. Once we got pregnant things for me changed but not so much for him. He wanted to continue the same lifestyle and I didn’t want that for my baby. So, when my daughter was 2 months old, I moved back to my hometown and started the life of a single mom, that didn’t last long before I knew it, I was back with my middle school/ high school sweetheart whom we had been off and in on with throughout the years we were apart (something I am not proud of) but don’t regret. This man stepped up and cared for my daughter as his own and worked so that I could stay home. This is not the life i wanted for myself, depending on a man. In the coming years I ended up with 2 more children, both boys, and I still didn’t feel satisfied with my life. I was finally looking for directions.
This time in my life I refer to it as my cocoon stage. I decided to go back to school and get a degree and have a profession that would give me the independence I had so badly wanted. Going back to school with three babies was harder than I thought it would be. Me and my husband were all the support each of us had and there were several times my instructor would tell me “Arin, you need a backup plan to your back up plan.” My thought to that was well lady I am my back up plan and I am also my back up plan to my back up plan, there is nobody else. I was late some days and some days when the kids were sick, I couldn’t go at all. Finally, after a lot of struggles I graduated with an associate degree in Allied health with a minor in Surgical Technology. I was ready to start my life in the working world. I am ready to come out of my little shell and spread my wings and fly.
Now, this is the stage I call my beautiful butterfly stage. For six years I have been working my way up the surgical technology ladder and am at the point in my career where I can do any case, I can be thrown in anywhere and excel at my position. I love my job and the people I work with. Working 7 days a week because my husband doesn’t want to work but I still love getting up every day looking forward to what my work day is going to be like. I love the adrenaline rush of trauma cases and the ease of scheduled cases. We had moved to a house in a private beach neighborhood (which has always been my dream). I would run 4 miles a day on the beach and just living what is really MY BEST LIFE. I was so proud of myself and didn’t care if anyone was but I knew this was something I did on my own with the help of only one person, my husband. We had no one to thank but ourselves and that just filled us with a sense of pride no words could explain. Until that frightful day that I explained in my last post happens and everything falls apart.
At this time in my life, I am classifying this as my Chained Butterfly phase and can’t wait till the day I break free of the chains and am able to go back to the life of the beautiful butterfly. When I was going to school, we were living paycheck to paycheck and living off of food stamps and any government assistance I could find. I swore that after I finished school I would give back as much as I could and would never go back to that phase in my life again. Fast forward to March 2021 and I get assaulted at work and put on workers compensation. Little by little things start getting worse to the point where we are evicted from my dream home and forced to move back to the town, I swore I would never live like that again. I am reluctantly on food stamps and asking for government help. A turnaround that happens this quick really does something to a person. I went into a depression and didn’t leave my bed for a month and when i did I was 50 lbs. heavier and when i would try to walk (not even run) my back would hurt so bad that at one point I had to crawl back to my porch and I only made it two houses away. I am devastated and there is nothing I can do but wait to see if worker’s compensation will start paying me again so I won’t have to be so poor that me and my husband will go days without eating so that our kids can eat. Not eating is easy for me because I have no appetite but I still gained weight. This is what I would say the term “The Struggle Is Real” was meant for because I am beyond hopeless. All I truly have is my relationship with God and my faith that this is something I was meant to go through and he wouldn’t have given me more than I could bare. I am sure there is a lesson in here but I have never taken what I had for granted and thanked him every day for what we had. I still thank him for what we have because we are all still here and my kids are healthy and somewhat happy, and this is all that matters to me at the moment. My chains will be broken at some point and when that happens, I am sure we will be on our way back to having a better life for us and our children.
Thank you for taking the time to read this post and my others it’s means more than you know to me to have someone know that I am here trying every day to make life better for my family and won’t give up no matter how hard or how much worse this gets before it gets better. I also want to say to anyone in my situation that education is freedom and will get you to the point where you are your own beautiful butterfly and when you get there cherish every moment because it could all be taken away in the blink of an eye!