Her eyes were kind and I could see her gentle spirit. Her defences seemed to melt as she tried to console me. How many days did I return from school only to spend hours secluded in my room, sitting on my bed, sobbing? Some days Mom keyed into my hurt. She’d sit on my bed beside me as I cried. She caressed my forehead and offered kind words. I wished those moments could last forever. I’d share the latest harsh words and actions of my peers. Each time she explained that I was like the pupa in a cocoon. One day I would be set free like a beautiful butterfly. I barely held onto that silk thread of hope. Mom was consumed with her own worries. It was difficult for her to offer much strength to me but I am grateful for those times our souls connected and her words continue to reside in my heart.
My mom’s analogy holds truth. The purpose of the cocoon is to protect the pupa. Until now, I hadn’t given much thought to the cocoon itself. I intently focused on the end product of an emerging butterfly. As I reflect upon my life, I see several cocoons that have been present throughout the years (excess weight, multitudes of people, higher education, career, faith…). Some of them were not the healthiest for me but they did serve their purposes of protecting me (for seasons) and I honour the existence of each cocoon without judgement and am grateful for their provision.
I consider the pupa that was encapsulated by the cocoons. I pause and remember what resided there. Timidity, an intense belief that I was ugly, obesity, anger, self-loathing, self consciousness, deep wounds from abuse, insecurity, depression, and hopelessness. Metamorphosis occurred over a 20 year period and continues today.
My sorrows and insecurities have been transformed into joy, confidence, and passion. The refining process has been difficult and rewarding. Somewhere along the way, I discovered my voice. I am not hesitant to share my story. My heart is full. I have chosen to embrace the past so I might be an encourager to others. I have deep empathy for women who are struggling, who are uncertain of their purposes and passions in life, who are severely wounded, and who have lost their own identities in a sea of abuse. I have been invited to join the journeys of many and am honoured to take each step side by side with them as they unravel the past, learn to live in the present, and look forward to the future.
Somedays I wonder if the butterfly has completely emerged. When I go through seasons of doubt, I look around and give thanks for the cocoon that now surrounds me. I have been insulated with beauty, resilient faith, authentic communities, and family (some by blood and some I have chosen). The metamorphosis will continue and I truly appreciate who I am becoming.
Have you honoured your metamorphosis? How about the cocoon that has so lovingly protected your transformation? Are you at a standstill and desire change? What steps do you need to take? You are worthy. Take the time to reflect, do the work, and celebrate the transformative process. You have a beautiful story; share it! I promise that others will be inspired by your authenticity. You will be blessed!
I can still hear my mom’s voice as she left my bedroom, “Cocoon, Debbie–you’re in a cocoon!”