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Butterfly or Moth?

Dear Sista,

Happy new month! What a year! Irrespective of your experiences so far, I encourage you to take on the coming days with renewed hopes for better dealings. In this letter, as always, I’m addressing the evolving you and I hope you think through this read.

As a teenager, I hated moths. I could never have been offended by any but I just couldn’t stand them. In my opinion, they were unfortunate butterflies who pale in comparison to the lucky ones. So, out of sheer disgust, I developed an obsession to kill moths in sight, while I admired and celebrated butterflies. Brutal, but that’s the fatality of ignorance. Today, I know better. Moths are moths and butterflies are butterflies.

Sis, it’s convenient to judge people from a distance and make terrible conclusions about them all founded on inadequate information. In fact, for reasons I’m yet to understand, the human race is obsessed with this and baseless comparisons. We take two different things, assume a state of similarity for them, make comparisons and then, crown one as superior based on observations. Who made our observations a fair measuring standard?

Truthfully, we have no right to think of someone as inferior just because they don’t look, dress, talk or behave like we us. In fact, just because we went through the same stages of metamorphoses with someone doesn’t mean we ought to turn out the same. And the fact they didn’t turn out like us doesn’t mean we are a better breed. In the end, like the butterfly and moth, we are what we are because that is what we’re meant to be. It’s neither luck nor fate, just DNA.

Then, there are fixers. The pity-driven glam squad willing to help the moth become a butterfly because they think “life must be hard being a moth”. So, with their dainty brushes and artificial colors, they paint it up. But, now the butterfly-looking moth must not only bear the burden of a false appearance, it is condemned to an eternity of acting like a butterfly to sustain the identity it now projects. Yet, in the end, this pimped moth neither fits in with butterflies because it is a moth nor with other moths because it now looks like a butterfly.

Sweet sis, maybe this conversation is not about the butterfly or the moth or even how you treat other people. Maybe this is about you, your response to rejection and struggle for acceptance. Maybe this is about your measurement of self-perception against your observation-based perception of other people or their perception of you. Sis, there is nothing wrong with the desire to be loved and accepted, but changing who we are for this cause is a journey that can only leave us worse than we started off.

Butterfly or moth, staying true to who you are is key. There is no standard height, body shape, breast size or shape, nose, skin color, hair texture, or accent. When it comes to your features and how you perceive yourself, you are the standard and the standard only changes every time you become a better you. So, in a world of stereotyping, don’t let anyone force a standard on you! Set yourself free and make the most of you.

Butterfly or moth, own it! Be you!

I love you!

Yours sincerely,

ALLY

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