Butterflies, Pregnancy Dreams, and Transformation - Oh Duh!
Last summer, I had recurring dreams of pregnancy and butterflies. It sounds so horribly cliche and obvious now, but then, it wasn't.
I dreamt repeatedly, night after night, that I was pregnant. And though the feeling of pregnancy in the dream wasn't scary, worrisome, or unhappy, I would wake up, sit up in bed, feel my stomach, and sigh with relief that I was not, was not, was not pregnant - I was simply fat - the owner of a spare tire, a pot belly, and even that didn't come close to rivaling the extent of my stomach when I really was pregnant. In my waking life, the thought of being pregnant, at the age of 46, with a 19 year-old son, a 17-year-old daughter, and a husband from whom I had just recently separated - well, that thought was god-awful! Even if I was still happily married - pregnant? Now? HELP! I'm just beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel, see my life open up and have space for ME. To start over? I love babies, but I love other people's babies best.
And then I began dreaming about butterflies. Hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of butterflies, fluttering about in my room as I slept, following my car as I drove here and there (All in dreams, of course - I am not delusional, usually.). I wondered if I was having some sort of insect-type nightmare. Would the butterflies become adversaries? Would they attack me? Would they grow and become giant, woman-attacking butterflies? Deceptively beautiful and terribly dreadful?
I spoke with a friend about all this and she said, "Idiot! What are you panicking about - you're a writer, a storyteller - don't you see the OBVIOUS metaphor here? You're RE-INVENTING yourself, rebirthing yourself - you are pregnant with yourself in your dreams and the butterflies are your transformation." Oh duh.
I purchased a butterfly windchime and hung it on my front porch. Another friend needle-pointed butterflies on pillowcases for me. Sleeping with my head resting on those butterflies, I stopped dreaming of pregnancies and butterflies, woke up and went about my life. I rearranged the furniture in my house, put cut flowers in vases on the dining room table and the patio table. I took down from the walls some pictures my husband had painted for me when we were in love and caring for each, and put them away in the closet. I started buying organic milk and brown eggs. I played Neil Young on the stereo and danced by myself to Harvest Moon.
But have I been transformed? Have I given birth to a new me? I think now that those dreams were the labor pains that dilated my metaphorical cervix; I opened, slowly, slowly, wider, wider, almost without even knowing it, until the labor pains grew closer and closer together, longer in length, deeper in intensity. I believe I hit the transition phase this past fall: the separation from my husband became painful, hurtful, hopeless. I hated the way I looked and how I felt. I yearned for my old life, yet didn't want it really. I wanted something new, something different, something vital. And that aching and pain shifted, suddenly, just like transition in childbirth, I reached the worst part, despaired of ever making it through, and suddenly, there was a pop! And things shifted. I felt lighter, no longer worried, no longer clinging to what had been and what could not be now. I may have given birth to a new me, but I don't know who that woman is yet. She is a work in progress.