The first pin is pushed in the day you are born.
Did you know you used to be a butterfly?
Well you did.
A little blue one, out the corner of mother nature’s eye; She spotted you and swooped you up and caught you in her throbbing net of life with all the other little unborn things accidentally in your vicinity – an ant, some dirt, a four leaf clover – and together you were placed in a jar for safe keeping til the day you were ready to Be:
Documented into History.
Made to be Remembered.
Added to The Collection.
Did it hurt? I bet it did. But you didn’t know it was coming so you probably don’t remember all that well. After all it was the thing that brought you here, which was a while ago.
And that first night as you cracked your eyes open in the nursery and peered out at yourself and all the others, lined up in rows (butterfly-moth, pink-blue; Mother Nature doesn’t label, but-we-do) you probably all looked around at each other in shock at the sharp bright pain in your little chests.
Your first breath was what secured you deepest into the velvety backdrop we call life. Now you’re here to stay.
What is this thing we feel?
…you and the other babies cried all that first night. The nurses were beside themselves.
Is this life or are we dying?
…you all demanded to know – the nurses nearly lost their minds.
Name them and take them away!
The nurses cried the next day. After all, this wasn’t in their job description. Imagine! Having to tell a baby life was the same thing as dying; no one should have to do such a terrible thing.
But I’ll do it, I’ll do it right now:
Dear baby, you are dying and you have been for a while.
You’re numb to the pain of it now, because it’s happened so many times. Each time you smell a flower, find a home or laugh til you cry, it actually hurts a little bit, just like that first breath did. You just can’t tell the difference between the pain of life and death anymore. (Don’t worry, It’s not your fault, the nurses didn’t tell you. Because it wasn’t their job.)
Fall in love, hold a hand, make a wish. These are the million tiny pins, pushing through your delicate dusty wings, securing you deeper into place. They are the million tiny promises saying that you are here to stay, nestled deep in the velvety black.
Probably one day – it happens to most of us – you’ll wake up so secure in your many pins, that you’ll say you never want to leave. You’ll be fond of your label, mounted carefully below you
Homo-sapien-autonomous-ticus (or some other nonsense)
and you’ll believe that being secured to this plush velvety frame on the wall is the best thing that’s every happened to you; perhaps the only thing that’s ever happened to you.
Or maybe you’ll be one of the ones that wake up in horror one day and see the pins for what they are, and frantically pull them out one-by-one, leaving your fragile little wings exposed and broken, falling apart at the seams. Like those hospital patients in movies who come-to after a major surgery and try to tear all the life-support tubes from their body.
Oops! That one was keeping your heart pumping. (Sometimes nurses do know what they’re talking about.)
Anyway, baby, the point I was making was just that you don’t have to worry about it all too much. Its okay for it to hurt, and its better if you let it and admit that it hurts then pretend that it doesn’t. The truth is that someday no matter how we spend our time in The Collection – whether we are held down by a million pins or one, let them stay in us or rip them all out in a panic – eventually we all crumble into a pile of once-upon-a-buttefuly dust.
And here’s where it all gets a little fuzzy, and I’ll admit that I don’t actually know the actual, absolute end of the story. But here’s the story I like to believe, the one I’ll tell you, baby, because this is the story of how you are a butterfly:
I believe that all our little piles of once-apon-a-butterfly-dust eventually end up back in the earth. And that the earth turns into the grass, turns into the caterpillar, turns into the butterfly (yes, a little blue butterfly!)
A little butterfly out the corner of Mother Nature’s eye.