Thursday, 17 January 2013

Butterfly alphabet.

One of the advantages of growing older is that you start to care less about what other people think of you. At least that's certainly been true for me. As a girl and for quite a lot of my adulthood, I tried to be as perfect as I could be, no wonder I ended up depressed! I tried to keep my house spotless and cook lovely meals and at the time I thought that it was because I enjoyed it. In actual fact I would be so stressed out by the cooking that I couldn't eat the food when it was ready. If someone did something in a different way to me, I would change the way I did it! I would accept other people doing things that I'd give myself a hard time about if I did them. If someone complimented me, well I couldn't accept it and would think that they were just 'being nice'. Thinking about it now it seems really stupid and even insulting to the people who did me the honour of paying me the compliment.

This picture really struck a chord with me. Perhaps when other people were saying complimentary things, they were seeing my wings! I know that I could certainly see the wings of others and often couldn't understand why they couldn't see what I was seeing, perhaps this explains why.

One of the most releasing experiences for me has been allowing myself to make mistakes and not worry myself sick about what others  think of me because of them. One of the up sides of this is that I've become a happier person because of it. When you take away the fear of making a fool of yourself or getting it wrong you open yourself up to trying new things and that can be an amazing experience. It certainly makes life a lot more interesting. If it goes wrong; it goes wrong! If you don't like it; don't do it again! This of course is assuming that you don't want to do something harmful or illegal.

Talking of butterflies, I came across this picture of a Butterfly Alphabet. This was produced by Kjell Sandven, a lecturer at the Smithsonian. The story goes that when searching through an attic one day he came upon a box. Opening the box, there was a silvery letter "F" woven into the golden wing of a Lepidoptera, Butterfly to you and me!     
"I looked at the design under the microscope and marvelled at its beauty; it was a perfect letter „F.‟ Not even a calligrapher could have improved on its delicacy."

This inspired him and he set off on a worldwide quest to see if he could find and photograph any other butterflies with letters on their wings. Incredibly, one day when travelling near a place called Manaus in the Amazon, he came across a farm where some seepage of pig manure and urine had attracted hundreds of Lepidoptera. He lay down on the ground and clicked away with his camera. This gave him hundreds of letters, numbers, signs, and symbols from the wings of butterflies; a scene he never repeated but has always remembered. I find this an incredible story! I also think that there's a lesson to be learned here. Not only did he find what he was looking for, but he found it among the stench and filth of a farmyard!

This may seem like a digression, but the point I'm trying to make is that, if you look you may find something beautiful and surprising, not only in yourself but also in others. If Kjell hadn't gone to the Amazon, he might not have been able to make this wonderful alphabet. Next time I'm feeling negative about myself or apprehensive about doing something new, I'm going to think about this alphabet and remind myself of the possibilities that trying new things might bring and that other people might be seeing my 'wings' and if they are liking what they see, then who am I to argue!

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