Go Gently, Dear Butterfly.

Butterfly wings are completely transparent. Those beautifully colored wings are mere scales that reflect light in different colored patterns. As butterflies age, their layers grow thin, exposing the proteins that cause you to see right through certain spots.

Growing up, my mom would put my pair of sparkled wings on my shoulders and carry me on her back, calling me Alexandra Butterfly. I’d giggle as I seamlessly floated so high up in the air, not a care in the world.

My great grandmother passed away years before I was born. I quickly learned that any time we saw a butterfly, it was her way of saying hello. Betty Butterfly became a beacon of hope in dark times, often presenting herself just as the storm was about to lift.

When I was ten years old I lost my brother. He was my best friend and my protector. It was just before springtime, still cold enough that creatures shouldn’t be flying about in the cold New England weather. Betty Butterfly came around as a good luck charm as I waited at the bus stop one morning, and suddenly, things felt just a little easier.

In the summer of 2018, I had to put my mom on life support. I wasn’t sure if things would get better, the decision of pulling the plug was at the forefront of my mind. I got the call one morning that she had woken up. Five minutes later, I had thrown my things together in a bag and was getting in the car. Pulling out of the driveway, I saw an orange Monarch; things were going to be okay.

A few weeks ago someone told me they miss the person I used to be. You and me both, pal. He said that I was his little ball of sunshine and that no matter what life threw at me, I had this ability to still be myself loud and proud. He told me to never lose it; I hope I never do.

I know this life hasn’t been kind to me, nor has it been forgiving. In this season of my life I find my body fatigued and my heart weary. Despite everyone labeling me as strong and invincible my entire life, I felt weak and invisible. It was as if my color started to fade away as I got older.

But maybe, just maybe, these hardships are what gave me my vibrancy. I’ve been through the wringer, and it has taught me to walk gently but fight with a damn passion.

Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee.

Muhammad Ali

I laugh in the face of adversity. I pour my heart into what matters. I’d do anything for those I love. No matter what, I keep fucking going. Maybe when the light shines upon my scars, it’s just showing the world my color.

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