Tag Archives: transformation

Emerging as a Butterfly

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emergence as butterfly

Original Artwork

In some previous blogs, I talk about being inundated with butterfly imagery last year, and the feeling of being in a cocoon the last few months.  This past week I have felt like I am starting to emerge.

Part of being in a cocoon is being dormant, not passionate, wrapped up in myself and my own experiences.  I felt a bit of depression as well.  Not that I was completely shut off from other people and not that I was completely heartless (the cocoon was not completely opaque).  I was faced with some gut-wrenching choices that grew from the soil and muck of feeling overworked and the extreme opposite of being appreciated, and a lack of respect by superiors at work.  In the other arenas of my life- friends and family- I am well supported by wonderful people, and I am very grateful for that.

The ordeal at work tore open old wounds, and I was back to re-developing a love of myself and who I am.  I am still in the midst of re-developing it- I’m not completely free of that yet.

Ironically, though I experienced some added ordeals this past week, I feel refreshed as a person.  I feel like I am breaking out of the cocoon.  The skin of the cocoon has thinned and I can wrench my head and upper limbs free, and see and love the outer world.  I’m not sure what it is that did it, or if it was “just time.”  It may be that a recent meeting with superiors brought many things even closer to my inspection and I faced reality even more head-on.

Although I had decided months ago that I would resign from my current position, I hesitated to do so.  I still haven’t done it, though I drafted a resignation letter last week.  I plan to 1) figure out the correct steps to do it and 2) follow those steps in turning it in next week.  It feels a little like the Fool’s card of the tarot deck:  stepping gleefully over the brink of a cliff and into the unknown.  Though this act of resignation doesn’t feel gleeful- instead, it feels ….  resolute, freeing, a little gut-wrenching in the final goodbye of my current position, and final.

I’m not sure if it’s the decision to finally follow through with what I’ve known I need to do for months that is making me feel fantastic, or if it’s that I’m back in control of my life.  It’s ironic, because with this step, I also lose control- I won’t be employed, at least (hopefully) for a short time.  That’s the scary part.  Why, in this economy, would I do such a thing?  I will be doing it because I must.  If I don’t, I feel that I will be failing myself, letting myself stay down the well with steep sides (and jeering hands like in the movie Labyrinth) and leaving myself in a place where I feel worthless.

I want to be clear for any critical and caring thinkers out there that I am applying for jobs as well as working on getting certification as an interpreter, which will likely open up more jobs for me, once I get that certification.  It seems that it will take me a year or less of passing exams and honing my skills to get to where I want to be in that field.  I hope that my perception of that is true! I also have money saved, that I can use toward schooling if that is needed and to live on.

It isn’t always so horrible at work that I feel like I’m in the well- sometimes I’m at the top of the well looking out, and sometimes I’m deeper down;  but it often feels deeper down.  My  boyfriend, who I started dating 3 years ago, says I even felt it then, and that I would be oftentimes extremely stressed.  That’s one wondrous thing about my boyfriend:  he is a gentle reality checker for me.  A gentle person holding up a mirror, ready to hug me and support when I react to what I see.  It’s one of the reasons I love him.

The feeling of emergence is fantastic.  I say ’emergence’ instead of fully being a butterfly, because I don’t want to assume I’m completely finished ‘baking’ yet, and because I have no idea what’s to come.  Maybe the feeling really is more like I’m ready to stretch my wings; I’ve come out of the cocoon and my wings are still wet, so I can’t really fly yet.  I feel friendly, open, passionate, and happy to be alive, and at the same time quite grounded.  I hope this state of being continues.  I am looking forward to flying, and yet am happy to be at the stage I am in.

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Update:  On further reflection, I will 1) talk with my union rep 2) talk with powers that be in HR and 3) make a decision on next steps.  I may be ‘throwing away’ certain opportunities if I resign.  We shall see.

Chrysalis Dormancy – Letting Myself Stop

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myself chrysalis

Original artwork

For a long time now, I have been going through an intense transformation.  Mostly during last summer, I realized I need to live without all the little petty fears that I have been allowing to stop me from doing what I want to do.  That was the start of it.  Since then, I’ve been reevaluating many things in my life and being myself more openly.  I’ve kept a lot of my quirkiness or strangeness inside, have come to view it as beautiful, and have started to express it on my outside, much like a chrysalis being turned inside out to show its beauty as a butterfly.  Butterfly imagery flooded my existence; I saw them everywhere, mostly man-made: stickers, posters, decorations, images shared on the web, monarch butterfly dresses, and so on.  The universe was telling me I was about to go through this change, perhaps gently encouraging me to take the steps in the change.  I didn’t know at the time what all the butterfly imagery meant, until I’m looking back at it now.

I’m a Teacher of the Deaf.  Not only that, I’ve taken on the roles of Special Education teacher, and have regular teacher duties as well.  This school year has been extremely stressful for me (and not only due to all the roles- it’s been much more than that).  I’ve been left wondering if it’s always been this stressful and I’m more sensitive to it now, or if it’s truly more stressful than ever before.  I think it’s a little of both.  I poured my guts out to my boyfriend about it recently and in the outpouring came 13 years of suffering, of not feeling up to snuff as a teacher.  I can make mistakes in other areas of my life without any emotional scarring: crafting, interpreting, dancing, are all things I’m not perfect at; but the mistakes don’t get me down, they’re steps to a learning process or part of a creative process.  In teaching, mistakes get me *DOWN.*  I have a major chip on my shoulder when it comes to teaching, and though I’m sure it comes with the territory, I think it’s unusually large.  It’s a toomah, as Arnold Schwarzenneger said in some movie or other.

Many incidents this school year have been ‘nails in the coffin’ of my teaching career, and it depresses me.  Though, I know this is thinking like I’m the victim.  It feels like outside forces are making me want to give up teaching and I’ve gone through grieving steps:  anger at these forces, grief that I will miss what I love about teaching, numbness.  I believe I’m in the numbness stage right now actually.  But truly, it’s always what we do in the face of these incidents and it’s not a victim thing at all.  It just feels that way.  I believe it’s part of my transformation.  The outcome, I hope, will be a person who lives as she wants to live, and does what she wants to do.

During the past 13 years of teaching, I’ve often felt like I wanted to go into a different profession, but I stuck through it.  This year is different;  many things I used to just take, my guts are refusing to take any more.  I could get into what those things are another time- they aren’t the focus of this post.  The focus of this post is my transformation.  It’s doing a number on me.

The past few months, sometimes, when I’m over-stressed, I feel comfort in not feeling or moving, and I imagine I might know how a catatonic schizophrenic might feel.  I can’t say I do though, thankfully.

It might not help that I’m also going through what’s referred to in doomsday tones: The Change.  I may be more sensitive, and it may be contributing to my present emotional affliction- that of having a hard time feeling.  I’m sure that doesn’t make sense that it’s both, but I think I’m responding to the emotions being over the top with trying not to feel anything, if that makes any sense.  Black Cohosh was working wonders on my hot flashes, and I’ve stopped taking it for a few months.  I started again this morning with just a dropper-ful.  That plus trying to be more zen in my life are what I’m going to try to combat this sense of numbness.

When I was about 7 or 8 years old, sometimes after playing in the snow, I’d wind down and just lie in it, feeling warm in my snowsuit, and letting the snowflakes fall dreamily down towards my eyes.  I’d see the snow falling all around me, and be mesmerized by their dancing movements.  I’d lie still and peacefully, and let myself not even be there.  It was comforting.  I think it’s because the world seems to stop; it seems to hang and not move forward.  The busy pace of life which is sometimes fun, sometimes needs to stop. And we need to stop and be zen.

However, it’s become chronic the past few months for me and I need to be human again.  I’ve realized that though my inside seems to have stopped- stopped feeling, or get lost while feeling stressed about the future, I haven’t really let myself stop.  I’ve kept on doing something, almost all the time up until I sleep.  I work, I come home and plan for work, or I watch Netflix or do Facebook, and then as I go to bed I read until I sleep.

I used to meditate, and about 3 years ago, I tried to meditate at least once a day even if it was for just 5 minutes at a time.  I haven’t meditated for a long time.  Maybe a year or more.  Today, as I came home, it was getting darker, and the lights were off in my home.  I was about to turn on the lights, but decided not to, for a moment.  I looked toward the balcony and the small layer of snow out there, and, thinking I’d meditate, finally, again, I went and sat close to the balcony doors.  I looked out the glass and wrapped myself in a soft blanket.  Cars drove by behind a stand of trees in the distance, and it was like I was looking up at the sky at falling snow again.  After several deep breaths, I was able to sit peacefully and not mind the ticking clocks (which tick louder when it’s quiet- it’s a twist of physics we all know).  My mind turned off, to a peaceful zen, for a moment.

I wasn’t able to meditate, however.  But, baby steps.  I’ll try to at least stop for a moment each day and be at peace.  That will be a start. And in the tumult of transformation, I’ll let myself be dormant a bit, so I don’t go freakin’ nuts.  So I can become a feeling human being again.