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     C-PTSD, yet still dance, write, train, live the way you do?"

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    This Is My Story

NSFW, 18+

  • Writer's pictureBella Dancer

STRUGGLE - Watching Nature Persevere

A few weeks after my big car wreck, my dad sent this to me. It became one of the main metaphors of my recovery from severe whiplash, TBI (Traumatic Brain Injury) and all the older traumas I could no longer push to the back of my mind after losing the functionality of my bashed frontal lobe.


Date: 01/16/01 8:24:44 AM Central Standard Time

From: Dad

To: BellaDancer

Subject: Fw: Struggle

Love you, dear!



A man found a cocoon of an emperor moth. He took it home so that he could watch the moth come out of the cocoon. On that day a small opening appeared, he sat and watched the moth for several hours as the moth struggled to force the body through that little hole. Then it seemed to stop making any progress. It appeared as if it had gotten as far as it could and it could go no farther. It just seemed to be stuck. The man, in his kindness, decided to help the moth, so he took a pair of scissors and snipped off the remaining bit of the cocoon. The moth then emerged easily. But it had a swollen body and small, shriveled wings. The man continued to watch the moth because he expected that, at any moment, the wings would enlarge and expand to be able to support the body, which would contract in time. Neither happened. In fact, the little moth spent the rest of its life crawling around with a swollen body and shriveled wings.

It never was able to fly. What the man in his kindness and haste did not understand was that the restricting cocoon and the struggle required for the moth to get through the tiny opening was the way of forcing fluid from the body of the moth into its wings so that it would be ready for flight once it achieved its freedom from the cocoon. Freedom and flight would only come after the struggle. By depriving the moth of a struggle, he deprived the moth of health. Sometimes struggles are exactly what we need in our life. If we were to go through our life without any obstacles, we would be not become as strong as we could have, given a struggle. Face your challenges head on. Give every opportunity a chance. Leave no room for regrets. Learn, grow, become stronger.

It's almost my dad's birthday, so I made a present for him and drove it over on a whim last night. This earned me a lovely surprise dinner & movie with the Parentals. On the way home, I was called to the sunshine and the woods. It was a wonderful walk, hot and muggy enough that I had the trails almost to myself until the end.

It gave me tons of time to bask in the light and shadows, look at fascinating things, and drink in the nature scents that practically make me high--one of the benefits to being an HSP, and why I would never give it up.

Along the trail, I came across two trees. They towered side-by-side, showing how long they had shared an intertwined life. But one was dead. I stood and pondered this pair for a time, hunting for any obvious signs like an infestation or a lightning strike.

It got me pondering about the seeming randomness of it all--why does this one die young and that one doesn't? Why does this one have a lifetime of illness and injury and that one doesn't? Why does this one wither and that one flourish in the same environment? Why is this sibling a hypersensitive orchid and that one is a hearty dandelion? IS it truly random? Or is it one of those strange numerical phenomenons at work through the foundations of the Universe and our delicately interconnected planet?

Did you know that dust in the Sahara feeds the Amazon rainforest? So cool. 🤓

So after taking a path I had never walked before--because...Sagitarrius...that's just what we do. I really can't not. Well...except when I'm in my woobie-rut-mode. Both forces are equally strong with this one.

So I headed back, but was stopped in my tracks. Now, you have to understand, when I spy strange things dangling in midair along the side of the trail, naturally, my first instinct is to stop, move in, and gawk. Again, it's that Sag Explorer thing. It's also my catly curiosity. I swear, if I was in Harry Potter, I would be Crabbe & Goyle with every floating cupcake.

First, I wondered if I was witnessing that famous act of Struggle that had inspired me for twenty years--the moth breaking free from the cocoon. I looked closer and saw: no. Not a moth head.

I next wondered if somebody hungry had hijacked a half-baked butterfly. I looked closer still. Nope. Definitely a head, not a tail. I lightly blew on the dangling cocoon just to see what would happen.


The head disappeared and all motion ceased.


I waited.

And waited and waited. People passed me and gave me the standard "weirdo" looks. I grinned back. Kids wanted to stop and gawk, too. When they rubber-necked me while being tugged along by their destination-oriented parents, I flashed my smile of, "Never lose that curiosity, kid!" The children appeared troubled, caught in a tug-of-war between their curiosity and the "freak" alarm vibes from their parents.

I went back to watching.

Finally, the shivering began again. The little squirmy-wormy head emerged, the cocoon spun and danced, and the struggle ensued. I watched. And watched and watched. I felt pretty certain about my third hypothesis: that the larva had been building its transformational cave but got knocked out of the safety of the tree.

Bit…by bit…by bit…by bit…by friggin’ bit…by tiresome bit…by millimeter…by bit…I watched this tiny creature haul its bulky cocoon back up toward the secluded branches on one silken thread.

Because it wouldn't be a post by me if I didn't share which song I seek out for this mood: Enjoy. And fly! Or wind your threads. Or snooze in your cocoon. It's all a crucial stage of Metamorphosis.


--UP NEXT: I get hacked off about anti-helpful memes, comments, conversations, censorship, and avoidance maneuvers on social media because my story is about Honesty & Perseverance, not Hollywood Triumphal Overcoming slathered in Positivity Group Selfies. So I take my revenge by making a list of SURVIVAL SKILLZ FOR MILD-TO-MODERATE TBI LONG-HAULERS. (I know. I'm so vindictive.) 😈🤣😈

--OR: if you like this shiny, geeky nature stuff, there's more HERE.

--OR: if you're here for more of my healing metaphors & tactics, you can find that under the various HEALING categories, as well as throughout all the art therapy I do in dance, martial arts, writing, and more:


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