Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Rainbows and Butterflies

I don't know where this came from but I'm random at times. I was just thinking about Butterflies. I guess there are obvious parallels to transsexuality and once I started getting serious about transitioning I grew to care about them more. And I liked them for their beauty and metaphors. During finals period when I was researching a paper and reading My Gender Workbook by Kate Bornstein and she had an anecdote about how sometimes when life is hard and you wish you could get through the transition quickly and painlessly but, she goes on with a similar story to this:

Once upon a time, a young girl was playing in her grandmother's garden when she noticed some butterfly cocoons getting ready to open. She watched the first butterfy trying to come out of its home. It struggled, and took a long time. By the time the butterfly got out, it was exhausted. It had to lay on the tree branch and rest awhile before it could take flight. The little girl felt so terrible for the little butterfly, who had to go through so much of a struggle just to get out of his little cocoon.
When the little girl saw the second cocoon getting ready to hatch, she didn't want it to go through what the first butterfly did. So she helped open the cocoon herself, and took the butterfly out. She laid him on the branch, and saved him from the struggle.
But the second little butterfly died, while the first little butterfly who had fought so hard took off into the sky.
Distraught, the little girl ran to her grandmother, crying. "What happened? Why did the second butterfly die?" she asked.
Her grandmother explained that butterflies have a liquid in the core of their body, and as they struggle to get out of the cocoon that liquid is pushed into the veins in the butterfly wings where it hardens and makes the wings strong. If the butterfly doesn't push and pull and fight to get out of the cocoon, his wings won't be strong enough to fly, and the butterfly dies.
"Without the struggle, there are no wings," Grandmother said as she stroked her grand-daughter's hair.. "Just like it will be with you, child. In life you will go through hard times. But it is the hard stuff, the struggle, that will help you grow, and help you learn to fly."
"But won't it hurt?" asked the little girl.
"Sometimes, things will hurt. Sometimes, things will be hard. But one day, it'll all be worth it. And you'll learn from all your struggles-- they'll teach you how to fly!"
When I first read that I was like "wow;" it just seemed so perfect, so poetic and inspirational...and it still is. I thought a butterfly, as cliche as it is, would be my totem. Then I found out that butterflies, for all their beauty and freedom, have on average about a two week life span. Which is not okay, especially because in my freaking out moments I remember some study where 50% of trans people die before 30. So though I still like butterflies and still plan on including it integrally in a tattoo I've decided my totem should be something more everlasting. So I think I'm going to stick with a phoenix as my guide. I mean they go through stuff too, its just far between and after they've lived for a while; seems a good enough price to pay. Now that I remember, I did have a phoenix on my high school class ring, so that may have already made it official.

And once again I don't know where this post came from, but whatevs.

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