There is nothing cute about caterpillars.
They are stubby, ugly and pretty worthless, even in the bug world. However, deep inside of every caterpillar is a sort of yet-to-be realized potential. After a few short weeks, hidden away in a cocoon, the once squish-worthy caterpillars reemerge as vibrant butterflies.
To me, this seamless transition from something dull into something beautiful was inspiring.
I dreamed of a similar metamorphosis where I would grow from a bumbling child into a graceful and composed young woman.
I imagined how great life would be if only I could fall asleep one night as an uncomfortable little kid and awake the next morning totally transformed. There would be no awkward transition, no braces no unintentional high-water pants.
Then again, I also believed that my dad had the power to turn me into a mermaid.
To put it simply, my expectations were a little high.
Morning after morning, I awoke as mostly the same person who laid down the night before. There was no dramatic metamorphosis.
In time, my expectations of an instant transformation faded.
I rolled my eyes in mortification as I shopped for my first bra. I spent two years with wires and teal-colored bands on my teeth. I even grew six inches over the course of a summer—which was actually the closest I ever came to “instant transformation.”
Even when I finally found a bra that fit, got my braces removed and learned how to deal with dating boys my same height, I still wasn’t content.
“When will the butterfly come out?” I wondered.
Desperate to speed up my maturation, I adorned my face with sparkly make-up, wore a few low-cut shirts and skimmed the pages of fashion magazines.
I had always been more comfortable in tennis shoes and t-shirts. But I reasoned that I would eventually adjust to my new fashion choices.
My transformation wasn’t limited to my appearance. I also spent time listening in on the conversations of popular girls and tried out new, cooler hobbies.
It’s true I was changing: I was becoming someone unrecognizable, even to myself.
When I began cross-country in high school, I found a group of girls with whom I really connected. They appreciated me for me… Dirty fingernails and all.
I realized molding myself to a certain image meant nothing if I sacrificed the things that made me unique along the way.
I read somewhere that you can tell that a girl has grown up when, “she stops being and starts seeming.”
It is my goal to rebel against this idea.
Butterflies may be beautiful to look at. But, seeing one of each kind is like seeing them all…
I believe that by accepting my quirks, embracing my personality and loving my body I am more beautiful than any cookie-cutter mold.
My transition may not have been as smooth as that of a butterfly, but the lessons I learned along the way made it worth it.
Plus, everyone needs a few embarrassing brace-faced pictures for her mother to scare off potential boy friends with…
Question: How did you imagine your life would be when you were younger? How have your goals changed?