This morning you asked me if you had ruined everything, forced me to come to America, broken me. Which of course you did not. I am broken because I broke myself, out of necessity. Sometimes when you break something apart you make something bigger out of it, more expansive, more suited to the world it must now inhabit.
I had thought I was a plant - that I was a struggling to grow in unfamiliar soil, that I needed to put down roots. Anais Nin talks about bud and bloom, as if growing is only about opening up your petals. But there is no real risk in that - the real roll of the dice is transforming into something completely different. I should have been thinking lepidoptically when all along I was stuck in the botanical.
After all, didn’t I see the shiver and the wrack of that Monarch caterpillar, hung upside down, trusting to the thinnest of silken threads as it lurched and convulsed itself into something else entirely? I saw the split-skin, the green-peeled line zip upwards and the old creature fall to the ground to leave a glittering gold-studded chrysalis looking so much more flash and important than the bag of soup-like chromosomes it really was. It was disordered, disarrayed. You have to make a mess before you can make something beautiful.
And so, the butterfly, formed slowly, day by day. All the pieces rearranged into a different animal, air where once was earth. I saw it hanging bereft and breathless, the bloody effluence underneath, bulge-big body pumping life into crumpled wings. The effort it took. The pain. You don’t see that in the slow time-lapse of a blossoming bud. Becoming what you are isn’t difficult - it’s becoming the thing you ought to be that’s the challenge.
I don’t know where I am in the process. I always thought it would be hard, but it was like the memory of a pain that you can’t quite catch - “how does it feel, on a scale of one to ten?” They ask, and all you can say is “it hurts” and pain is pain is pain. How do I know how it compares to pain in the past, fuzzed thin and indifferent with time? All I can know is now. So I knew it would hurt but never this much, and I regret nothing but my naivety.
I know that I started this relationship in an unhealthy way - I see that now. I deferred to you and put you first because I was so blinded by you. You’re not a black-hole, like you said, but you are a sun, and I want to orbit you. I want to bask in your light and let it blind away all the times I felt so in the dark. The only problem is, no one sees any other light when you’re around. And I don’t want to be the jealous moon, envious of the fair sun.
I need to learn how to shine on my own, to find my own light, jewel-bright through the wings of a butterfly maybe. But for now I am primordial mush in a human-casing, and it ain't pretty. Be patient with me. Let me find my way. I can do it - I have always been stronger than I looked.
I love you.
Please trust me