I managed to draw this picture over the weekend, spare of the moment, but i’m happy with how my butterfly illustration turned out. On Friday afternoon I had gone out to the chemist to pick up some new medication and then visited a good friend after not seeing them in a long time. When I got back home, my body wasn’t ready to sleep and my Fibro was acting up so I decided to draw this picture to pass some time and distract myself from the pain. I’m really trying to get back into drawing and creating art, as it’s something that used to come second nature to me, but due to chronic illness I find it very difficult… nonetheless it’s something that makes me happy so I motivated myself to, ‘JUST DO IT’.
This week, 2nd September-9th September is Fibromyalgia Awareness Week.
Earlier on this year, I had written a poem on Fibromyalgia Awareness Day, about what it’s like for me personally suffering from this illness – Poem: Fibromyalgia & Me.
Unlike Fibromyalgia Awareness Day, which took place 12th May, this entire week is allotted time and opportunity to raise more awareness of Fibromyalgia, educating what it’s like to live with this debilitating chronic illness and sharing tips with fellow sufferers about ways to simply cope with Fibromyalgia.
At this current moment, i’m typing and editing this post on the same day that it’s meant to be uploaded. I’m laying in bed experiencing the most excruciating full body pain, think of every possible part of your body… Now imagine being set on flames? That’s my Fibromyalgia & CRPS, everday. My head is pounding and the sharp stabbing, fiery sensation in my hands is making it impossible to grip anything and unbearable to type. I’m super glad I was able to draw this picture on the weekend as I know I wouldn’t have been able to do so at this current time. I really hope you have a better time reading this post than I had typing through this chronic pain flare up.
The Brave Butterfly
When you think of the caterpillar you often forget that after cocooning and hibernating for 5-21 days it eventually turns into a beautiful butterfly. In order for this extraordinary transformation to take place the caterpillar fights off prey and then stays in complete darkness all whilst preparing for it’s grande reveal. I’m going to take you through some of the characteristics of a butterfly and how exactly we can all be BRAVE, just like a butterfly.
B IS FOR BALANCE
Balance for any winged insect or animal is absolutely paramount in order for them to fly successfully.
When a butterfly first emerges from inside the chrysalis, it’s wings are tightly drawn in to it’s body and must quickly learn to pump body fluid through it’s veins and then expand it’s wings. After the butterfly has reached it’s full size it must rest for a few hours in order to allow it’s continuous full body forming stage to take place. Once it has rested, guess what? It can finally take it’s first ever flight, mastering the art of balance and being extraordinarily beautiful.
Yep, this is self-explanatory my fellow spoonies, chronic illness and mental health warriors…We HAVE to rest! This may be one of the hardest challenges as you’re in constant battle with what your mind and body is telling you and then what you want to achieve. But if the butterfly was to take off as soon as it emerged from cocooning would it do well in taking it’s first flight? No, it would instantly fail it’s first fight as it’s body wouldn’t be strong enough to withstand the weather, the weight of it’s own body and it certainly couldn’t fight off any prey.
So after I edit and post this blog, i’m shutting my eyes and taking a breather… because Balance!
R IS FOR REFLECT
A IS FOR ASSIDUOUS (Perseverance)
Assiduous? Don’t worry if you’ve never heard of this word before, neither did I until Saturday afternoon. Daniel Moore – a fellow chronic illness warrior, over @ talmandan.wordpress.com shared this new word with me via. twitter, after I had written a tweet about a rather tedious but fulfilling act of perseverance I was completing at that moment. I love the word so much that I just had to re-share it and mention it in this post, because ‘sharing is caring’ right.
So where’s the link? Well, ‘assiduous’ means; to have great care and perseverance. To not quit or give up so easily and battle through a task even if it raises challenges.
Did you know, during a butterflies life span it actually looses some of it’s scales on it’s wings? If you’ve ever seen a butterfly close up before, did it’s wings look a little see through to you? This is because the butterflies wings are made up of tiny little scales formed by layers of chitin, a protein that also makes up an insect’s exoskeleton (the same protein the caterpillar’s skeleton is made up of). These layers of chitin are so thin that you can see right through them but mostly when you get a glance right up close. The longer a butterfly has been alive will show by how it’s wings look, because over time the scales become tattered and fall off their wings, leaving spots of transparency where the chitin layer is exposed. Regardless the butterfly carries on flying, perching on flower to flower spreading it’s little wings of beauty.
Now, let me draw a line of comparison to relate this to you; my fellow chronic pain and mental health warriors. The trials you face can become unbearable, even on a ‘good’ day it seems as though you’re fighting to keep your head up and persevere. Just like the butterfly you may be wearing thin, so to speak, but it’s not something people may be able to see unless they are up close and even then they may not understand. Despite your trials and challenges you still get up each day and try your hardest to persevere through your weaknesses and carry on walking in your light and beauty.
V IS FOR VICTORY
E IS FOR EMBRACE
Did you know that butterflies can see their own wings? These beautifully winged insects are nearsighted, but have the ability to see and differentiate a lot of colours. A butterflies eyesight is rather good (can’t say the same for myself), and they have the capability to see within the range of 10-12 feet.
But, how can we embrace our wings of beauty, just like the butterfly? Well, think of it like this; You HAVE and illness, BUT you are NOT defined by it! So yeah it’s hard to accept the unfortunate for what it is, but we can accept all of the things we can accomplish whilst battling every single day .
It’s so hard as a chronic illness or mental health warrior to embrace the reality of the struggles that your mind and body is giving you. In fact it takes a lot of energy to even accept any of it in the first place, no matter how long you’ve suffered.
Although, you see, if the butterfly was to be upset at the fact that every time it tried to see something past 12 feet would never enjoy the beauty of it’s seeing it’s own wings?
So I encourage you, (and speaking to myself haha), to embrace yourself, look at the good things you CAN do, maybe you have to relearn, stop and educate yourself but once you do, spread your wings so far that you become a master at and happily accept your own identity and uniqueness just like the Brave Butterfly.
So there we have it, 5 ways we can all be BRAVE just like a butterfly.
A couple of ways I plan to be BRAVE during this month:
- Going out with my cane – a big challenge for me as I feel really vulnerable and self-conscious, but I will try to do it more often as I actually need the support because my body is weak
- Socialising with a group of people or doing something for leisure – I’m challenging myself to be a little more sociable (at least once for the month), a massive task because besides the pain I experience, my anxiety makes me want to lock myself away and avoid crowds as much as possible… but as I say, ‘One Spoon At A Time 🥄’ I guess.
How will you be BRAVE for the month of September?
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8 thoughts on “The Brave Butterfly”
The words just flow from your mind an heart ..it’s a true gift something you should prize ..now put this to poetry in a poem
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Great blog post, well done – fab picture and imagery. xx
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Thank you so much!!x
Loved the poem! And this post was so great not only because it was informative and impactful but because you had to push through a lot of pain to make it happen. I imagine this will be inspiring to others going through a tough time or a chronic illness. Take care 😊
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That really means a lot to me, thank you so much!! 😳🌟
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A lovely piece xx
Fellow Spoonie don’t be afraid to go out with your cane. Many years ago I started with just a cane (today it’s a mix of wheelchair or crutches for me depending on ability) but my Cane became my shield – it gave me strength and supported me outside of my safe environment. In a lot of cases I would get help with doors, great when my body isn’t wanting to work, and people tended to be more patient that I wasn’t as fast of them. I know a lot will be shouting that you shouldn’t have to make an invisible disability visible for others, but that’s not really the point I used it for. It was like putting on a coat for when I was cold, my cane was there to keep me warm I:e keep me comfortable, it meant if I needed to be slow in a fast paced world it allowed me to stop and lean for a moment rather than have to move through people to a railing risking being knocked over. I don’t know if my ramblings have helped but I hope you can see your cane as your friend not your foe xx
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Thank you so much for the encouragement. It’s a challenge for me but I was able to go out with it on Friday & I’m so happy I did 😁 I’ve even named my cane, ‘Nala’ after Lion King’s Nala as that’s the first outing I went to with my cane. Thank you for reading xx
[…] glad I decided to be BRAVE, push through the pain and get out of the house to see The Lion King – at the Lyceum Theatre. […]