A Butterfly’s Rage

Recently, I found out that someone I adore dearly was being molested for over a year. Almost every girl or woman that I have been close to has been sexually assaulted in some way. I will not get into statistics here. I will post a link at the end about statistics and what people can do to help others. For right now, though, I am furious. This will be the angriest article I will ever write but my rage cannot be encompassed in words at this moment so I will not talk about it. I will talk about butterflies.

General consensus is that butterflies are delicate creatures. The butterfly is timid and fragile. Touching their ethereal wings too harshly could tear them and sentence the butterfly to an early death. This is a silly notion and an arrogant one at that.

People are born then they are coddled for a good part of their lives. Human babies are known to be the most helpless and dependent infants in the animal kingdom. 0% chance of survival on its own. Still, as unlikely as it is, we are apex predators. It is amazing that we live at all with the way we hurt each other.

A butterfly spawns from an egg as a caterpillar. Alone. No one teaches it how to eat or what to eat. Then, by chance, it does not get devoured. It grows then a chrysalis is formed. The little caterpillar will morph into the tiny winged being everyone imagines as peaceful. No one contemplates what it takes for that butterfly to emerge from its cocoon. In my mind, I imagine clawing, kicking, and, if it could I think, we would hear screaming. I think that butterfly is fighting as hard as physically possible to get free. So hard, that after it emerges, it will have to rest for 3 to 4 hours. I believe the butterfly’s rage is what sets it free.

Butterflies are also a symbol for transgender people because of the metamorphosis trans people go through. Me being a transwoman is common knowledge these days, although I’m still in the process of transitioning. It does feel as if I am trapped in my own chrysalis at times. People are not able to see me kicking and screaming to endure the process but I am. I am fighting tooth and nail to come out the other side myself.

There is another reason why I wanted to write about butterflies. The infamous “Butterfly Effect”. Not the movie, one of the examples used by Edward Lorenz to describe Chaos Theory. The “Butterfly Effect” is generally misconstrued as a butterfly flapping its wings and causes a tornado or hurricane on the other side of the world. In the actual theory the butterfly is only a small integral part of what happens. I like the thought of such a little butterfly causing such a drastic change in the world, though. The belief that little actions can have such an enormous impact is what gets me through each day.

Now, I’ve come full circle. To my anger. My anger is how I survived all these years. And I have so many reasons to be angry and these reasons have names. I will not say the names of anyone who has been sexually assaulted. That is not my place. But the sad fact is that in my world it is more common for a woman to have been assaulted than not. Because I am a transwoman, there is now a 60% chance of me being sexually assaulted. Why not? What makes me so special that it should not happen to me, even though, so many people dear to me have experienced it?

When I first began my transition I would express my anger in the most flagrant manners. I had to get it out. I have grown…and so has my anger. I will not express it as I have in the past. Smaller efforts have a larger effect. People will see me smile more. I do have reasons for joy. On the other hand,when I am enraged, I will still flash a smile. Then I will flap my tiny wings and wait for the hurricane.

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If you need support or are looking to give your support, here are some resources and information.  If anyone thinks of any other places, please comment or message me and I will add them.

Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network

Safe Helpline.

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