Friday, November 23, 2012

The Butterfly or The Moth?

I will start this blog post with the most epic lines EVER. Ahem.

Best LOST Metaphor Ever
John Locke [gently]: "Come here. I'm gonna show you something."

[John leads Charlie over to a small tree with a cocoon attached to it. He points at it with his knife and asks...]

John Locke: "What do you suppose is in that cocoon, Charlie?"

[frustrated at being force-fed a metaphorical lesson that he doesn't know where it will go or how long it will take because he just wants John to give him his stash back, he answers choppily...]
Charlie: "I don't know... a butterfly, I guess--"

John Locke: "No. It's much more beautiful than that. That's a moth cocoon. It's ironic - butterflies get all the attention, but moths, they spin silk. They're stronger. They're faster--"

Charlie: "That's wonderful, but..."

[interrupting, and pointing with his knife...]
John Locke: "You see this little hole? This moth's just about to emerge. It's in there right now, struggling. It's digging it's way through the thick hide of the cocoon.

NOW, I could help it - take my knife, gently widen the opening, and the moth would be free. But it would be too weak to survive.

Struggle is nature's way of strengthening it. 

End scene.

Why start with this epic scene of LOST? Why the hell not?
Okay. I have a better reason.

Because in the past few months of my life, I have slowly begun my own metamorphosis in many ways. Some of these will remain cloaked in mystery to most of you. Sorry. But the one I know all writers can connect with is writing. So…even though the following is really happening in ALL aspects of my life, one  change is my writing.

I have gone from someone who teaches writing, to someone who writes. I have gone from someone who would never think of not teaching to someone who would love nothing but to stay at home and write for a living.

And there are more life changes forthcoming. Some I know about. Some remain to be seen.

And they are all scary as hell. Why? Because I can't tell yet if I am a moth or a butterfly.

The Beautiful Butterfly
I want to be a butterfly. I want the glory. To be appreciated and loved. Everyone loves a butterfly. They are symbolic of beauty and grace. They float lightly in the air, touching the wind with their wings and flitting about on the breeze. Anyone who sees one, stops for just a moment, to reflect on the beauty of nature and the wonder of it all. Butterflies represent possibility, hope, and new beginnings.

They are insects of the day. Sunshine and spring flowers come to mind. They are coveted. Beautifully perfect in every way.

I want to be a butterfly.

But I'm sitting here, all encased in the thick cocoon around me. And I am struggling. Against myself. Against the life I'm living. Against expectations. Against time.

And I don't know if I am coming out a butterfly.
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The Moth

Moths are creatures of the dark. They are underappreciated. But they are also annoying to most people. They are the underdogs. They search for light because I think somehow, they desperately want to be touched by the sun. They want to be coveted. They long to be beautiful. They want to be THE choice, not the afterthought.

Sure they are strong. Sure they spin silk. They are useful. But ask most people if they had to choose, would they be a butterfly or moth, my guess…is they'd be a butterfly.

Moths are forever in the butterfly's shadow.

And all this brings me back to LOST.

As Locke said to Charlie:
Struggle is nature's way of strengthening it. Me. I have to believe whether I come out of this cocoon a butterfly or a moth, I will be stronger for my struggle. Stronger for having had to change.

I could ask for it to be easy. I could ask for a lifeline. A metaphorical cut in my cocoon with a knife. But easy isn't always better. It's just not. It's only…easier.

So, I wait.

To become…whatever I am destined to be.

Because it really isn’t up to me. Is it?

So, if you could choose…would you be a butterfly or a moth?


  1. Can we pick the species? Because if we can, I'd be a beautiful moth. There are gorgeous, showy moths. Like the luna moth. Definitely not a bad trade-off for the extra strength of a moth. :D

  2. Definitely pick the moth :) Stronger, some are absolutely gorgeous, and I am always a sucker for the underdog.

  3. Love the idea of a chick-lit writer who knows who John Locke is. Yes, there is a place for smart chick-lit writers. Go,Carey!

  4. I totally remember that scene! You will come out strong and beautiful, whatever you are. :) Great post!


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