Some Reflections on a Caterpillar (From a Couple of Years Ago)

[NOTE: This was written during a rough patch a couple of years back. I still have days/weeks like this.]

A few summers ago I adopted a lovely big caterpillar from a friend’s backyard. Luckily for me I have another friend who is something of an expert on caterpillars, and she was able to tell me what kind it was and how to take care of it. I delighted in feeding that caterpillar the leaves of my tomato plants, watching it grow bigger and softer and even more vibrant. At some point it reached a turning point, and began to shrink again – my friend instructed me on how to create a safe space for it to form its chrysalis and metamorphosize. I set up the container, and watched as my big bright creature condensed into a small, hard lump. I knew that inside that lump everything that it had been had liquified, getting ready to re-form into a swooping, fluttering winged thing who’s world would unfold exponentially with those wings.

But it never did. My caterpillar got stuck, and never made it through metamorphosis. It stayed a small hard lump immobile at the bottom of a box.

The last few months have been very hard for me. I have been in pain every day, plagued by immobilizing nausea and dizziness. More and more I have felt trapped in my own body, so often unable to do the things I love, or even the things I feel are necessary. I feel like a caterpillar that tried to metamorphosize, and got stuck as a pile of goo in a small hard lump made of myself.

I grew up thinking I would grow wings and fly.

At this point, I would be happy to be able to reliably walk.

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