flight of the butterfly

flight of the butterfly

Dear body-

I’m sorry you can never make me happy. Really, I feel badly about this. You work tirelessly, 24 hours 7 days a week, and yet I still complain. You pump the blood and breathe the oxygen and help me reach for things when I’m hungry.

You operate a motor vehicle, foot pedals and hands on the steering wheel and the temperature control, all while keeping watch on the road and maybe even listening to some music from the radio, and yet I still find fault in you.

You allow me to feel the warmth of the sun and witness its majesty as it rises and sets around us, and yet I look away at the sight of you. You bestow the smell of spring, lilacs and wet grass and pine trees in the forest; you enable me to inhale it all and remember something long forgotten, and yet I still think of you as substandard, something to hide.

You carry me on long walks and burst out in uncontrollable laughter when someone I care about—heck even a stranger—says something funny. Because funny is funny, and you do seem to know funny, body. Above everything else, I do believe you love to laugh.

Laughter is your favorite thing of all.

Laughter is my favorite thing too, yet I think you and I, body, we have nothing in common. Most times I do not want to be associated with you.

If I could, I would leave you at home when I go to work every day. On the days that I have an important meeting I would drop you at daycare before dawn and pick you up just before closing at night.

I loath when you call attention to yourself, body. I cower in the corner with embarrassment. Yet. You. Always. Call. Attention. To. Yourself.

Why? Why do you have to do that to me, body? Can’t you just let me live a quiet life? Why must people see you? Your ill-fitting clothes and your frizzy hair and your left foot that turns in when you walk, pigeon-toed as you are.

And what about those shoulders, the way they hunch forward, especially when you walk. Body. Honestly. Stand up straight. And you’re not fooling anyone when you try to hold your head up high and look straight ahead and say this time will be different. I know different. I know what you’re doing. You’re trying to be someone you’re not. For once in your life accept who you are: awkward, square, plain, benign, asexual.

No wars will start over you.

You can barely get a stranger to hold a door open for you.

There I go again.

Nature is perfect. Even in its imperfections. The natural world and all who inhabit it are part of a far reaching, invisible, asymmetrical, per-ordained, haphazard, intricate order of things. Nature.

You, body, are a part of nature. True. Your wrinkly skin and your hunched haunches and your flabby knees. So, why is it that I can languish in the vast beauty of the natural world with all of its broken branches and animal bones and muddy trenches, yet I cannot see the same beauty in your barren, prickly, awkward edges, body?

Why must I criticize you so? As if you are not a part of anything and destined to be cast aside and separated from all of it. Isolated and alone.

As you age, your wings tear and your edges contract. You require less space as you fold in on yourself. You limp off the edge of your last flower towards failed flight. You’re in retreat; you are fading. Except you don’t know it yet. Perhaps then, no one will notice you, body.

Perhaps then I will finally call out for you.



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