Catching Butterflies

You are the guardian of your own happiness.

I used to be so affected by everyone’s opinions of me. I cared about what my parents thought – I thought that they knew what was best for me, that their opinions and knowledge were always absolute and sound. I cared about what my friends thought – whether I was just a sidekick to everyone else’s evolving lives. And I cared, without reason and without limits, about what strangers thought – what were their first impressions of me? Was I fat, ugly, and stupid?

I lived feeling like I was dropped into a world that was so dense, so hard, and so immalleable. I was putty, being shaped and molded by whatever everyone else around me was doing or saying. It was exhausting – I could never be happy in my own skin. I was always hopelessly chasing butterflies. I would be right on the cusp of catching my own, but let it go whenever I saw another one that some other kid was chasing. I’m always too busy looking at the other kids.

As I’m growing up and growing old, I’m finally beginning to realize that I need to live life by my own standards, my own means, and my own goals. People who love me give me their ideals of what they think is best for me. People who hate me carelessly throw words my way, hoping that I am weak enough to let them affect me. Either way, I need to learn to accept these opinions with kind graciousness.

And then I can turn around and do whatever the fuck I want to do.

Nothing is absolute. No one has a set formula for success. People have their own reasons for going down a certain path, and everyone’s circumstances are different. I need to set my goals with reason and with certainty. This way, when I’m swayed by whatever my surroundings are, I can easily recall my own purpose and continue along my own journey. I can be motivated by my own decisiveness to work harder and to learn more. I need to chase my butterfly with almost a tunnel vision, stopping only to study others’ techniques. And who knows, maybe one day I’ll catch a monarch.

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