A Multicolored Silver Lining (or Some Other, More Creative Title)

The plan is to post once or twice each week. My last post was sixteen days ago. Things are obviously going well.

So here’s what happened. Before I made this blog public, I planned and outlined about eight blog posts, so that if things got busy I wouldn’t have to struggle that much to post at least once a week.

Cut to me writing Post Number Two. Then writing gave way to excessive editing, then to scrapping the whole thing twice and starting over from scratch. Because something happened in my life that was super relevant to my planned post, but I couldn’t figure out the right way to add it in to what I had already written. Because it wasn’t meant to be added in. It was meant to be the post.

So, here goes. Last week I got a job offer, a good one. One that would solve a good amount of my financial problems (and major sources of stress). One that offered me a future. And I got angry.

I wasn’t looking for a new gig. Yeah, I’ve been struggling lately, but the thought of jumping ship and finding a more stable career had never seriously occurred to me. All of a sudden I was standing on the gangplank, faced with this life-changing decision and not very much time to make it.

Elves, fairies, and insects in Richard Doyle In Fairyland (1870)
from In Fairyland: A Series of Pictures from the Elf-World, Richard Doyle, 1870

You know, this post was originally supposed to be about butterflies. No stress there, just a fun collection of facts and lore. Guys, I spent hours researching ancient-to-medieval artwork and myths concerning Lepidoptera. It was a good couple of nights. But none of it translated into a genuine blog post, so I kept editing.

Then I got that job offer.  I took a walk to clear my head, and saw hundreds of butterflies, fluttering about in the wind brought by a storm lazily rolling in. The reason I love butterflies so much is because they always make me think about fairies, and they always make me feel as though the vail is much, much thinner than it seems. I don’t know, it’s a good feeling, like the air I breathe in is filled with hope and wonder, and possibility. I don’t know.

Anyway, the walk was good, even though I was stressed. I didn’t calm down for a few days, honestly. All thoughts of writing this blog post were lost in my mind-battle between my current jobs and a new, singular, job. But then I made a decision, and now I can’t keep this blog post from writing itself.

Did you know that in ancient Greece and Rome, the butterfly was a symbol of soul, and of life after death? Butterflies were closely associated with the idea of Psyche- a human woman who was so insanely beautiful that Venus (the goddess of love, and a craaazy jealous lady, apparently) sent Cupid to go “take care of her” if you know what I mean.. BUT he fell in love with his target (she was crazy pretty, and, like, what else is there?). A fucking livid Venus banished Psyche to the underworld, but that beautiful bitch came back and Jupiter granted her immortality so that she could marry Cupid as his equal.

Two fairies flying through the sky with a butterfly leaf chariot.
The Fairy Queen Takes an Airy Drive in a Light Carriage, a Twelve-in-hand, drawn by Thoroughbred Butterflies, Richard Doyle, 1870

Anyway, yeah, Psyche equals immortal soul and the anguish and triumph of love (ish). So the Greeks and Romans saw butterflies as a personification of Psyche’s death and resurrection cycle.

Butterflies are also (obviously) seen as a symbol of change and personal transformation- hence my life event having a direct connection to this blog post. Full circle, see?

No, I didn’t take the job. But it took that exciting new offer to help me see how truly happy I am with what I’m doing with this stage of my life. It’s so so easy to start feeling shitty about myself for not being as successful as I’d hoped to be by this age, and I get down on myself A LOT. But I’m on the road that I want to be on, and there’s hella butterflies everywhere, so that’s pretty cool.

So I guess the reason for this blog post would be to encourage you guys to think about how you’re measuring your success right now. Money isn’t the ultimate indicator of a life well lived, and it helps so much to remind yourself about the things that you are rich in- love, friendships, community, passion. We all want a future that’s better than our past, and you have to sit down and seriously ask yourself what makes you happy. What is your definition of better? More time spent outside? More books/paintings/poems under your belt? More nights spent out with your crazy friends? Use those things to measure your success (if you, like me, can’t help measuring it by something). It’s all about finding the path that yields you the most happiness, and that path is rarely paved with gold.

But there are usually quite a few butterflies along the way.

In the comments, please feel free to share any experiences/tips about facing tough decisions AND ALSO PLEASE let me know if you’re a kindred soul 100% entranced by butterflies because we should probably be friends.

Until next time.

– catherine rose

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