Saturday, 19 July 2014

What kind of butterfly are you?

As anyone who I'm friends with on Facebook can tell you, I have an addiction to doing silly quizzes, like 'What Disney Princess are you?' or 'What colour are you?' or 'What would your medieval profession be?' Recently I did a quiz to find out what kind of butterfly I was. Bizarre I know, but it was just for fun. The result I was given is that I'm a Papilio Onesimus, and the description of the type of person I'm supposed to be really pleased me. I'm not saying it's true, but it's certainly someone I'd love to aspire to become.

You Are a
Papilio Onesimus
You are a naturally helpful person, and you enjoy nurturing those around you. You sense what others need. You are quite gentle and sensitive. You may be easily wounded, but you can rise to the occasion when others need you.
You value beauty, and you try to have a personal environment that soothes your soul. You have an artist's eye. You may be an idealist, but you are more of a realist when it comes down to it. Your practicality has gotten you far.

This got me thinking.

Butterflies start off life as caterpillars and, in my opinion, caterpillars aren't exactly the prettiest of creatures. But if they could think I'm sure that they'd be very content with their lot, especially as all a caterpillar has to do is eat until it grows large enough to begin the next stage of its life. How scary must it be then when they start to find themselves being wrapped up into a chrysalis and undergoing the metamorphosis that transforms them into a butterfly.

But why am I writing this?

It occurred to me that in a way we all start off like 'caterpillars'. As children we hopefully haven't a care in the world. We take each day as it comes and are content to eat, sleep and do all the other things that children do. But then comes the time when we have to grow up and take our place in the world. Just like the caterpillar our bodies undergo a physical change and that in itself can be quite scary.

Then comes all the problems and responsibilities that come with being an adult. Very few people go through life without experiencing pain and heartache of some sort.  But if we can just bear with it we too can be transformed into something beautiful like the butterfly.

As someone living with Lupus, I can particularly relate to this. One of the symptoms of Lupus is a butterfly rash that can appear on your face. The butterfly is also one of the symbols used by Lupus related organisations. I've never really thought about this before, but living with Lupus and the challenges it brings does have an effect on the person you become. There's been many days when I would gladly have wrapped myself up and become a chrysalis. But hiding away from the world and all its problems, never solved anything.

The caterpillar when it emerges finally becomes what it was destined to be, a beautiful butterfly. I believe that, in a metaphorical sense, this can be our destiny too. So instead of fighting any changes or difficult circumstances in our lives, I think that we should embrace them. We can't avoid these things,so why not try to use them as an opportunity to become the 'beautiful butterfly' you were destined to be. Don't choose to remain a caterpillar, after all, not only are butterflies beautiful, they also have the ability to fly.

Take the quiz for yourself if you want. Just for fun.

Caterpillar pupa photo courtesy of

Butterfly chart courtesy of BBC Springwatch.

Isabel Johnstone ©

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