It’s been a while since I’ve written. I feel a little bit like I’ve lost my way over the past several months. I’ve learned that in many ways, the most challenging part of my return to New York was the voices that live in my head. There has been no distraction from the doubt, insecurity, and judgement that lives there. It makes it hard to move from that place.
I’ve been acutely aware that this week that I hit a year of being back from Grand Cayman. A year since I my international life adventure came to its conclusion. A year since that person, excited, anticipating a new life, returned. And in that year, I’ve felt stuck, uncertain, lost.
One of my favorite podcasts, Radiolab once did a piece discussing the process a caterpillar goes through to become a butterfly. This metaphor, the caterpillar spinning into its cocoon, and emerging into a butterfly feels like a classic tale for change. I’ve been hearing it since I was a child. It always seemed pretty basic to me: caterpillar goes into shell; caterpillar grows wings; caterpillar is now butterfly. What I learned from listening to this podcast, however, was that this process is not how I always believed it. When the caterpillar is enveloped by the cocoon, it actually becomes mush. When a cocoon is cut open, it shows no signs of the caterpillar that once was, nor does it resemble the butterfly it will become. It truly becomes a gooey substance, resembling not much of anything.
That said, they were able to see that the newly emerged butterfly still held some of the memories of the caterpillar. If looking at this process, one might guess that going through this mushy process leaves the butterfly as something completely different. But it still holds a part of itself.
And that’s the image I’m currently carrying with me. This year has felt mushy. I’ve tried various odd jobs, some of which I’ve loved, and some of which I’ve hated. I’ve interacted with people old and new, which have led me down unusual, and sometimes disheartening, sometimes beautiful, paths. One year ago, I didn’t have a vision for where I would be in 365 days. I’m still working to find that vision. Somehow though, marking this year anniversary, a part of me remembered that strength lives within me. While others have assured me of my strength for months, I’ve somehow felt that obvious strength was not so obvious. I’m startingç feel a glimmer of hope that lives within me, and I want to foster it, and let it grow.
During this year, I’ve seen a new cast of characters emerge in my life, some offering listening ears, some offering new insights, some inspiring me with their abilities to be true to themselves, and in turn making the world a better place. And seeing that reminds me that that’s what I want for myself. I want to reconnect with my true self, my strongest self, the self that adds to the world, simply by living my truth and touching others along the way.
And with that, I again sit and write. I start to sort through the mush, and hope that with that, I can once again begin the process of growing wings to fly.