Memoir of a Caterpillar.
Two-time MEA alum Pat Whitty has been leading a 12-week course based on Julia Cameron’s book, The Artist’s Way. While doing his morning pages exercise, this poem just appeared, as Julia predicted, and I started writing it down.
He writes, “I’m sending it as part of my Artist’s Way commitment to shut down my inner critic and open up my creative channels.” How could we all leave the cocoon by quieting our inner critic?
I like being a caterpillar.
It’s good to have 16 legs
And all the leaves I can eat.
Scaring kids is fun.
Makes me feel powerful.
But the elders tell me
That one day I will dissolve.
Quite an unpleasant thought
I do not want to do this.
I’ll just try to be a better caterpillar.
Maybe it will please the caterpillar Gods
And they will spare me this horrible fate.
They tell me that something wonderful
is waiting for me after I dissolve.
But, I don’t believe it
And I’m not going to do it.
I’m just going to be the best caterpillar I can be.
It’s getting harder to be a better caterpillar.
These legs don’t work like they used to.
My fellow caterpillars are treating me differently
And I feel as if I’ve been expelled from the caterpillar community.
I am lonely
I am angry
I’m not the same caterpillar I used to be.
OMG! I’m dissolving.
The elders told me this was going to happen.
I can stop it if I can work harder.
I’m going to the caterpillar gym
and get those legs back in shape.
I’ve always been the best caterpillar
And I’m not going to let go of that now.
What are those annoying creatures flying around with the colorful wings?
I may be a good caterpillar, but I can’t fly.
My parents told me that all things are NOT possible
So, I’ll forget about that
And keep trying to be a better caterpillar.
Why am I hanging upside down from this tree limb?
It’s dark in here.
After all that work in the caterpillar gym
I’m losing my core.
My beautiful abs are fading away.
My abs have always defined me
Admired by so many
Made me feel superior to the others
The girl caterpillars loved my abs.
I used to tell them they had great legs
They loved that.
That was my pickup line.
Worked every time.
But they don’t look at me the same way now.
What is happening to me?
Have I died?
I think so.
I don’t like it in here.
I’m trying to get out
But I can’t.
I’m losing a sense of who I am.
I think this is the end.
It wasn’t supposed to end this way.
Is this how I’m going to spend the rest of my life?
Do I even have a life?
What happened to all of the dreams I had?
I was going to become the best caterpillar tap dancer of all time.
Not going to happen
With these feet.
What’s left of them.
I’m waking up.
Maybe this has been a bad dream.
I feel different.
Somehow I feel like I’m not the same caterpillar.
Not even a better caterpillar.
What are these things on my back?
Maybe I can shake them off.
This is hard.
But, I’m getting the hang of it
As I look down at the other caterpillars
foraging for food on the leaves.
I want to tell them what they have to look forward to.
I want to tell them not to be afraid.
I want to tell them to relax
And allow the transition that is their destiny to flow through them.
People are holding out their hands to me
And beckoning me to land.
And little children squeal with delight.
I am not lonely.
Pat Whitty is a certified health coach, workplace wellness consultant, twice MEA alum, and Modern Elder Whisperer from San Antonio, TX.