The Metamorphosis of Ayo….

“The privilege of a lifetime is being who you are.”~  Joseph Campbell

Metamorphosis? I guess you are wondering why I would put up such a word that is usually related to insects. I have always been interested in butterflies. The bright colors and hues have always attracted me and I thought that when I do finally get into gardening, I would make sure that I have a butterfly garden- yes I can see the sceptical expression:it’s a garden of plants and flowers that attract butterflies. Even when asked which animal or bird I would like to be, I would always say the butterfly even if it’s not an animal or bird. Hahaha!


So why a butterfly? It’s the complex stages that it has to go through from an egg to become that beautiful specimen we see gracefully flying around. That process is called metamorphosis which means ‘great change’ and I believe we all go through such a process as humans. I for sure went through it or to be more accurate,I am still going through it so that I may finally emerge the Ayo I so wish to be and have always been.



Eggs are laid on plants by the adult female butterfly.These plants will then become the food for the hatching caterpillars. This is the first stage that I went through when I was birthed some thirty odd years ago. I began to grow in my identity,an understanding of who I am in relation to my beliefs and culture and of course my family with experiences that were unique to me. Some were good and some,well some were bad but they were mine. I can’t share them here for now but stay tuned…..


The next stage is the larva. This is also called a caterpillar if the insect is a butterfly or moth. The job of the caterpillar is to eat and eat and eat. As the caterpillar grows,it splits its skin and sheds it about four or five times. Food eaten at this time is stored and used later as an adult. Ooohhh this stage, I feel like I lived here for years,not quite knowing who I am. Accepting each and every definition of myself. I was defined or more accurately,I defined by myself through the eyes of my peers,media,family. What they said went! I had no concept of myself,where I was going,what I truly wanted to do or be. Sure,I said that I did but at the core,it really had nothing to do with me. I wanted to be accepted and liked and thus I was the proverbial people pleaser.


This stage is also known as the transition stage. Some species have a pupal stage that lasts for two years. It may look like nothing is going on but big changes are happening inside. Special cells that were present in the larva are now growing rapidly. They will become the legs,wings,eyes and other parts of the adult butterfly. Many of the original larva cells will provide energy for these growing adult cells.

I am right now in this stage of transition. You could say that I had an epiphany. It is said good or bad things come in threes and that’s exactly what happened though it was the later: It was heartbreak, health issues and death of a loved one that culminated and pushed me into thinking about myself in a different light. I just knew that I could not continue living the way I was and I needed a change. I needed to find myself,however long and painful it was. I had lost my identity in the scramble to identify with everything else but now I am rising up to be who I am meant to be. I am letting go of the extra baggage that is not me.

       “Let it go, The cold never bothered me anyway
        Let it go, let it go, And I’ll rise like the break of dawn
        Let it go, let it go, That perfect girl is gone
        Here I stand in the light of day, Let the storm rage on”  Let it go~ Frozen~ Indina Mendel


It’s a process. I am not yet there but slowly by slowly,I am getting there. I have learnt to let go of the illusion of ‘perfect’. I am not perfect so why did I think that I needed to be a perfect friend,sibling,daughter? No,no, no perfect is now overrated in my books. I am embracing wabi sabi- the Japanese philosophy for a perfectly imperfect life. Yes! That is what I am embracing and becoming. Because that’s who I am. Perfectly Imperfect. This is me!

SO WHO ARE YOU? Maybe we are in the right season for you to find out. You never know. You might just soar like a butterfly…..


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Written by Patricia Opio (0)

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  1. This is a wonderful wonderful read. Redding you I come to think of Zimbabwean novelist Yvonne Vera. Probably you have met her writings before. She was obsessed of butterflies. Some of her novels with butterfly allegories are Butterfly Burning, Stone Virgins and Nehanda

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