Just about everyone I know is aware that I come from a dysfunctional family it was no secret since they all did come out of a dysfunctional family too. Not one of my friends knew anyone that came from a family that was functional, behaved in a normal manner; whatever that means. Even now I know only a couple of people that came from a loving home with two parents. There is no need to talk about living in an abusive home because everyone that resided in that situation knows all the common threads that patch their lives together, gives them a warped sense of humor and an outlook on life that cannot be understood by someone that has not been there.
There was this sad little girl. She was quiet and afraid to speak above a whisper for fear she would say or do something wrong and that no one would love her. In fact, she thought she was totally unlovable just because she was here and in everyone’s way. Her feelings set her apart from others and that made her know she didn’t belong anywhere. Sooo…
Once upon a time there was little green caterpillar that crawled on all of its many legs and just went through life silently without anyone noticing that this little creature was even there sharing life with them.
This ugly little green caterpillar was afraid of everything and always imagined the worst of things. I’m not sure how that came to be, but I only know that’s how it was. This ugly caterpillar shared a house with a mother, and four siblings. Its bedroom was in the attic and a chimney ran straight through the middle of the space. The brother slept on one side of the room and it slept on the other. There was a window in the wall between our beds and there was a huge oak tree in our neighbor’s yard, which they only knew as an acorn tree because of all the acorns that fell throughout the yard. In the summer it provided shade for their swings and that was nice, and at night it looked like a fluffy cloud that gently swayed from side to side as if it were dancing. The ugly green caterpillar loved watching the dance until it drifted gently off to sleep.
In the winter it was a totally different scene on the ceiling of that room. At night in the winter the limbs were bare and when the cold wind blew, the branches looked like crooked arms that danced wildly across the ceiling from my brother’s side to mine. I remember staring at the ceiling for what seemed an eternity, eyes wide open and remembering the Wizard of Oz with scenes of the flying monkeys. Oh, I just knew that they were going to get me and hurt me in some way. So I would stare at the ceiling with eyes wide open afraid to close them lest they come and grab me taking me far away from home. My heart would beat hard and fast while I shook from head to toe. I stayed that way until my eyes would close heavy with sleep too heavy to stay open, then sleep came only to bring on nightmares of what my thoughts had been just a short time ago.
I spoke very softly, hardly above a whisper and I remember people always getting closer to me and turning their heads’ always trying to hear me better. I remember the teacher always saying, “What? What did you say? Speak up; I can’t hear what you are saying.” It was quite embarrassing because everyone was looking at me and they laughed which made me even more embarrassed. Sometimes I wonder how I ever lived through some of those days. I was always wishing I could just disappear into thin air never to be seen again. I suppose every one of us goes through something in their childhood that was embarrassing in some way.
When I grew to be a teenager I fared no better. I did not fit in where ever I went and I’d lose friends as soon as I made them but never knew why. I was good at sports and swimming and was able to beat everyone in my class at all the sports and gymnastics we did. No one liked me because of that either. I just happened to be better at sports than anything else and I enjoyed them immensely. I loved going to gym class and it was the only class I was consistently an A student throughout my school years. By my teens I had learned to speak louder than I did when I was just a bit smaller. It still wasn’t loud enough because people had to still ask me what I just said, and I still stuck out like a sore thumb.
I had no sense of style and was lost in a sea of young adults not knowing how to behave since they all were lost and trying to find themselves within this sea of teens. Oh well, I got to graduate finally and now I thought that I would suddenly fit in somewhere that I didn’t fit in so far. I still was not comfortable in life or even in my own skin. I wanted out of the house. I wanted to be on my own but my parents wouldn’t let me so I resorted to the very thing that most girls resort to so they can leave home. My marriage was no better than the school years and I did nothing but cry the whole first year of our marriage. It only lasted another five years, and I left.
It was then that this little green caterpillar went into a cocoon and hid as if in a safe place to grow and change…Then I did something even worse than marrying the man I just left. I married someone much worse.
I finally started to change, but it wasn’t for the better. I was now driving an 18 wheeler across the country by myself and learning new things and acting quite differently just to survive in a man’s world. Oh I learned how to speak up, stand up for myself, and cuss as loud and as filthy as the next trucker. I’d stand up and stare down anyone who dared to flash me a threatening glance. I was sick of being told I didn’t belong out there by myself and that I couldn’t handle it. I was determined to show everyone I was just as good as they were. So I worked twice as hard to get half the credit that a man gets. I worked around the clock to get this load where it was going at the time the customer was told it would be there. If I had to drive 24 hours straight I got the load there on time.
The little green caterpillar, which had seen herself as being ugly, and unwanted, had gone into a cocoon to hide and change. She felt even uglier than before. She got tired of the life she was leading. Now she didn’t even like herself and she wanted to hide from herself. This wasn’t her at all; she wanted the kind of life she had before. So she became calm, and stayed that way as she began to work inside that cocoon. Once she had changed quite a bit, she married again. She married into a calm life for a number of years. I found that I hadn’t changed as much as I wanted because I was able to manipulate this man into whatever I wanted so I always had my own way. When he passed away after a number of years, I decided I would not need anyone. I didn’t need anyone and I did not want anyone else in my life. My mind was made up.
Not too much time had gone by before one day a man began a conversation with me and in a very short time he just swept me off my feet. I knew that this was different. I knew that with the changes I was now making, the way I now saw life, the way I felt, (35 years younger again), the person he is, just everything was now different than anything I had ever known. This sweet charming man was very different, and she suddenly knew that even though she was nearing 70, she knew so positively that the best was yet to come.
Now, this charming man that found me and swept me off my feet is watching me change further. When I looked in the mirror I could see color. Things were no longer black and white, a beautiful yellow butterfly is what I am and I am ugly no more. I am and will be beautiful for the rest of my life thanks to the charming man that swept me off my feet. He holds me in his hand so gently so as not to crush me for I was very fragile. He looks at me and he is in love with the most beautiful creature he has ever seen. Now I am becoming wiser and stronger as my wings become more experienced. I am happy now and am eager to grab the world by the tail. Now I am embarking on a new life where everything is different clean, and clear. For now I can see color where I could see none before. Yes, I may now be 70, but the best is just on the horizon.