From her earliest memories she had only known her one physical form. Starting at her emergence from the egg and maturing through every phase, that steady constant had been a comfort. She had learned to trust in its design and marvel at its adaptability.
At the start she was small and translucent, pale green in the light. Insignificant and unremarkable though immediately purposeful in her actions. Driven by an internal power she could not resist, she feasted upon the platform which she was born. And continued to consume milkweed with a voracious appetite. Eating, in a circular pattern, everything she came upon as if she could never be satisfied. Soon her skin felt tight and ill equipped. And, as though her being knew what was ahead and was preparing her for a journey her mind could never fathom, her fragile exterior was left behind and was replaced by a coat of white, yellow, and black. Transverse bands of colour no longer translucent splayed across her frame; and small bristle like hairs covered the exterior.
The drive to consume milkweed was still present. And her days were filled with traveling from plant to plant; learning how to navigate each challenge with the structure she had been given. She continued to grow comfortable with herself, adjusting to each stage with expanded patience.
Again she became stretched and recognized the signs of new changes approaching.
This time her colours developed more distinctly and and her two sets of tentacles became longer. She noticed more differentiation in her legs and how her tastes had changed. She was now drawn to consume the edges of the plant leaves. This new direction excited her and emboldened her sense of adventure. Though every shift had been increasingly difficult, this journey of maturation had aided her in recognizing inner strength and confidence.
Soon her banding pattern evolved again as though it was an external sign of her progression. An outward expression to others of the work happening inward. White spots started to develop on her legs and her internal momentum had become a constant comfort.
She was consumed with finding leaves to eat and had established a rhythm for each day. When her white, yellow, and black covering molted into its most complex pattern yet, and the white spots became pronounced dots on her legs she handled the change with experience and grace. Feeling as though she had reached the pinnacle she was unprepared for any new challenge to be foisted upon her.
Then a different desire emerged, one she was not prepared for. Her appetite had evaporated and in its position grew this yearning for a safe place. She wasn’t exactly sure what she was looking for, yet seemed intuitively to know what she didn’t want. And in an instant she felt as though she was home. The need to keep moving and searching left and her predilection took over. Choosing a strong branch, she used silk to attached her hind legs and then began to weave. It was a methodical process and it took time before it was recognizable as anything; but soon a blue-green chrysalis encased her. It was opaque and covered in gold dots. It was an exquisite sight to behold and hung regal and defiant on the branch.
From the outside things appeared frozen and unchanging; within she was undergoing her most rapid metamorphosis yet. The form she had always known, the one she had grown up in, was melting away and a new foreign shape was taking its place. She was terrified and helpless as she felt all that she had been mutate before her while she was powerless to stop it. The chrysalis was dark and encompassing. No reference for her on which to begin understanding this transformation. It seemed an eternity as she became formless and then was reconstructed anew. Finally it was complete and the cuticle of the chrysalis began to lighten. The opaque shell became translucent and and her new body was revealed.
Now this is where she hangs, quivering with fear and excitement. Part of her wanting to go back to what she knows, but comprehending beyond any logical understanding that these changes are irreversible. As she ponders every step that brought her to this place she wonders how this new body will work and if she can trust it to carry her through. Yet instinctively knowing that staying paralyzed in her cocoon would be a death sentence. She is still and quiet, peering out of the used up shell. Trying to envision the next moments and anticipate the strength and bravery she will need to take this leap. Wondering if her wings will open and delight the world with their beauty; If she will soar to great heights with her powerful yet delicate frame. Or if they will be too frail to support her or withstand the elements. Leaving her vulnerable to predators and extremes.
So there she waits perched on a precipice. The choice is hers alone. Closing her eyes she feels the warmth of the sun and the wind in her face.
And that is when she hears it. A gentle whisper in the breeze saying, “Come out little one, you were made for this.”