Alis Volat Propriis (click for the pronunciation) is Latin for "One flies with one's own wings". The official English definition is "She flies with her own wings" because it is the state motto for Oregon and they changed the meaning to go along with giving feminine pronouns to states and territories.
This phrase has significance to me, not because I'm from Oregon (because I'm not from Oregon), but because of the inspiration I find in butterflies.
Butterflies start their life out as a lowly, little caterpillar. Inching her (or his, but I'm referring to this one as a girl) way along the ground with a real lack of purpose. Then she curls up in cocoon and essentially dies to everything she knows and everything that's familiar to her. I sometimes wonder if the caterpillar knows what's coming and anticipates the change or if it just sort of comes as a surprise. I wonder if it's a shock to have to struggle so hard to get out of this shell with a body that has changed drastically from what she used to have. There are wings that weren't there before, and her thick, grubby body has significantly shrunk in size and she has to fight and squirm to get out of what was her comfortable home for so long.
Ok, so I know that this is just an insect, and I'm humanizing the metamorphosis process just a tad. But let me explain why this is important to me. I went through an illness several years ago that I will share more of later. It's why my last blog was started to share updates with those who wanted to stay informed on how I was doing. Anyway, that illness was one of the worst things I have ever had to go through in my life and recovering from that was a huge struggle for me. My body was changed, my life had changed, and it was hard. I retreated many times to my bed, my "cocoon" if you will, and hid under the covers because that was my safe zone. When you're bed-ridden for a year, real life is extremely scary to get back into again.
But after the struggle, the butterfly emerges, with strong wings because of her struggle to live outside of her comfort zone, able to fly high above the ground she crawled on at the beginning of her life. And in the midst of the struggle to get out of her cocoon, she has to fly with her own wings, not another butterfly's wings. Just like I can't go through my life comparing it to anyone else's and wishing I had their life instead. I have to fly with my own wings and live.
This is a Tiger Swallowtail and it's the butterfly I see the most where I live in East Texas. It's so pretty!
So, there you have another piece of my story and I hope you enjoyed it. There will be plenty more so stay tuned. And coming up next is going to be a random post full of random questions that I'm going to answer. I love random questions. If you're on Facebook, you may have seen my status asking for questions to put on my blog, so feel free to add some more. I'm still figuring out the Google+ thing but you can add some questions on there as well. And there's always the comment section below that you can write anything you feel like. :-) So ask away!