Life > I know what it’s like to be a butterfly – transforming in care

Posted on June 15, 2017

Image courtesy of Pixabay

N discusses embracing change, whilst overcoming harmful and dangerous obstacles

Earlier this year, the charity Coram Voice launched its third annual creative writing competition Voices for children in care and young care leavers. The competition provides a platform for young people in care to express their creative talent and improve understanding of their experiences.

Winner of the Care Leavers category in this year’s Voices competition N (age 24), East of England

I know what it’s like to be a butterfly…the world is large and overwhelming.

Not being sure where you fit in, and how such a fragile, exposed creature can protect and provide for itself, amongst the darkness and the rain that falls.

To be aware that one drop of rain can kill a butterfly; having to be strong in the face of danger. Yet showing beauty and elegance, so everyone around the butterfly feels love. Not realising the real feelings, or emotions the butterfly goes through every day to survive.

The butterfly being so small and delicate, they are under constant threat from predators that will kill them. Not being able to escape the chase from the creature that has decided to attach its vision to the luminescent colours; that reflect and beam from the butterfly’s wings, which makes the butterfly beautifully vulnerable.

There is such powerful control in such an innocent being

The butterfly seems to dip in and out of the air so easily. Almost as if there is such powerful control in such an innocent being, that you can’t recognise how much effort the butterfly puts in to stay floating in the air…

But a butterfly does not start out as a butterfly.

The butterfly has changed. Before the butterfly had changed it was a caterpillar. The caterpillar that started out was greedy, and selfish, and although still vulnerable to other predators, the caterpillar seemed safer than the butterfly. The caterpillar was able to hide and close the world around itself away, finding solace in the silence and the darkness.

The caterpillar was not damaged or killed by rain; the caterpillar just kept eating and eating, getting larger and larger. Filling itself with contentment and sometimes misery.

After a while the caterpillar changed.

It took a very long time, and the caterpillar became slow, and even more delicate to danger. The caterpillar surrounded itself with the walls of its cocoon, and hibernated in silence.

No one to protect the vulnerability of the caterpillar anymore… the caterpillar was changing, and it was changing alone.

For what seemed like forever soon ended, and the walls of the cocoon opened, allowing the transformation of the caterpillar to the butterfly. What the caterpillar longed for was freedom. But when the caterpillar had become the butterfly, freedom was no longer desired. All the butterfly wanted and needed, was protection and love…

Freedom was no longer desired. All the butterfly wanted and needed, was protection and love

I know what it’s like to be a butterfly. I also know what it’s like to be a caterpillar, and how so much change can affect even the smallest things in life, changing the beautiful into the broken, and the tough into the weak. The longing and desires of change, but never being able to protect yourself within the change.

From being alone due to greed, selfishness and lack of emotion; to the longing for that one person to let you know they will be there. To protect you through the scariest and most dangerous times in your journey of life, but never quite making it to that person, before the rain starts falling and you could potentially die.

I know, I have been the caterpillar many times, and I have been cocooned many more times.

Every now and again I am the butterfly. I wish there was another adaption to the butterfly, who could fend for itself, and never be the prey or the predator to others. Just something strong and independent, powerful but majestic in beauty. And seeing the beauty that it could share with others, the rain not damaging or killing it.

Just being able to overcome the alone, the silence and the fragile, to being one thing… Me!

Judges’ comments: “This was an incredibly strong piece of writing and illustrated very clearly the strength it can sometimes take just to get through life – particularly a life which has thrown up so many challenges. The longing to find out who you are and ultimately to be allowed to be yourself was so brilliantly summed up by the closing lines. This was a sophisticated, complicated piece perfectly reflecting how complicated life is and the butterfly – a beautiful symbol of fragility yes, but also of resilience.”

For more information please visit: Coram Voice

Coram
We have not included the writer’s name to protect their identity.

Share

,

One Response to I know what it’s like to be a butterfly – transforming in care

  1. Shakira Dyer June 29, 2017 at 8:46 am #

    This young writer at Coram Voices has written a stunning piece that shows great insight into what it may mean to grow up.

    I love the metaphors found in this piece.

    The caterpillar is the child that the narrator once was. It is seen as ‘selfish and greedy’ because it only thinks about itself.
    This may not be its own fault; as a caterpillar is cannot see or sense more than juicy leaves to eat, and to hide from predators that scare it – it can’t think beyond that.

    The metaphor works in some cases -for example if a child wants toys, games and attention, they may pressurise thier parents to buy or give them what they want; instant gratification, instead of working towards buying it themselves, or making new friends. Often this goal seems to high for a child or teenager.

    (or we may keep ‘eating and eating’ unhealthy fast foods like burger, chips and crisps. We haven’t learnt yet to find or cook our own food….but we can learn, unlike the caterpillar who needs to eat only leaves… to grow big and strong.)

    Side note: what do butterflies eat? Nectar?

    We may bury ourselves in video games or books, because we like them, but forget for instance to do the washing up at home. From some young people’s perspective, this deosn’t seem selfish – we were just doing what we normally do. But to our parents, it does seem selfish, because we are now old enough to help out.

    What about the caterpillar’s need for protection? The caterpillar, and young people, may want to explore and take more risks. Before, we were protected by our parents – in the caterpillar’s case, the leaves of the tree.

    In the writer’s case, this protection may symbolise the love and care they had from their foster home, and having to leave and make their own way in the universe. Not being in care myself, I cannot imagine this situation, but I believe the writer has represented it brilliantly through the metaphor of the caterpillar and the butterfly.

    ‘to the longing for that one person to let you know they will be there. To protect you through the scariest and most dangerous times in your journey of life, but never quite making it to that person, before the rain starts falling and you could potentially die.’ – I feel ya.
    The caterpillar may have seen flying beautiful butterflies, but never being able to reach them before the rain comes…

    However the cocoon is the part between children and adults – we feel too old for teenagers but too young for adults. In the cocoon stage, the young person grows into an adult – however this can be a very vulnerable time, as we are changing like the butterfly, and may not be sure about this change. This sentence says it all – ‘The longing and desires of change, but never being able to protect yourself within the change.’

    And when we do change… what then? Can we dazzle other with our beauty – as this author had done through their words? Will we remain fragile – or something more?

    Thank you so much for writing this, N, you deserved to win! Although you may have faced struggles in your life (even if you don’t feel they are so bad now) – just keep on keeping on!! You are an amazing author.

Leave a Reply

Films

Exposure celebrates the great work being created by young women in...

Exposure finds out what it takes to get into journalism

New video - Exposure connects with the social media based business...