The Circle
Published in

The Circle

The butterfly.

Does a caterpillar know it is going to be a butterfly?

Imagine if it does.

Imagine the stress, of knowing what was going to happen?

To know that everything was going to change. That who you were, and who you were going to be are so different, that you would be unrecognisable even to yourself.

To understand the fragility of what was about to happen. That to change, not only were you leaving behind a life known, and a life survived, but that the change had no guarantee of success.

To not know how long it will take. Or what it will feel like. Or what others will think.

To close their eyes, and hope.

And to enter into this metamorphosis with no practice. No knowledge of what you were doing, or how to do it.

Except for a feeling.

A feeling that it was right. A feeling that this was the future. A feeling that it must be.

Have you ever felt like this in life? Like something weighs a thousand tonnes, but you can’t quite figure out what. Just that there is the itch of change in the air. An itch for a new future.

But that a change feels so right. That there is a future that we cannot see, but we know must be different. That we must become something else.

Sometimes, a change can be forced on us, and like nature itself we cannot control it. We find ourselves reprioritized, or downgraded, or rejected.

The future we thought existed, evaporates in a phone call, a text message, or a conversation that ruins a meal. Or the lack of any of these.

And when we feel this, we know that we have to leave the map. We have to turn away from the destination, and accept that we don’t know what the new one will be.

We have to accept that our new destination may be harder to reach than the one we left behind. We have to accept that those who were on the previous journey with us, are no longer willing, or able.

We have to trust that survival might be the goal, until the walls come down and the path becomes clear again.

And step by step, the future becomes the present, and we are closer to where we need to be. The present will becomes the past, and we will start to know, because we start to feel.

We will start to understand, and to build the new muscles for this new journey. It will start to become our journey.

For those who we leave behind, we must be strong. We must have the strength to turn away. For those we pick up, we must also be strong. Because we may have to carry them to the new place. And for those who stick with us, we need to be grateful for what they can give us, not what they cannot. They are going through a change of their own.

And step-by-step once more, the new future arrives.

Given all this, it is no wonder that we resist. We cannot predict the future. Or the length of hardship of the journey.

So we stop. We ignore the feeling. We stay on the map, because it is easier. Or we falter along the way, and we take a safe path, because of how it might look to others. Or we give up, before we know what the future could have been.

And we can be forgiven for that, because if you were a butterfly, why would you? Why would you put yourself through everything, not knowing. Why would you not be overwhelmed by the things that might happen, or fixate on the things you will no longer have.


What if you were a butterfly, and if you did know? You knew it was going to be hard. You knew that it was frightening, and that it might not work. You knew there was going to be many new feelings, doubts, pain. That it was a step into the unknown.

But you also trusted that if you can just nudge things in the right direction, with persistence and resilience, you could create the right conditions for a change. If you knew that it was a process of destruction before creation, chaos before healing. But that is was not hope, it was real.

What if you knew all this.

And then at the end of it all, you knew you could fly.

Isn’t that worth it?



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Ian McClellan

Ian McClellan

Writing for meditation. Reading to learn. Independent writer. Aspiring human.