If you research the process by which a butterfly emerges into this world there are several points that I found quite surprising. The first is that the caterpillar is completely destroyed, reduced to individual cells before being reassembled into its new form,The other is that the butterfly must use claws on its wings to tear a hole in the softened chrysalis though which it might emerge.The hole is much smaller than the butterfly as a whole so a struggle is required to drag it’s form though that restrictive orifice. If you were to intercede by cutting open the chrysalis in an effort to ease its passage, the result would be that the wings would remain shriveled and useless. That struggle is required to strengthen its wings and prepare it for flight.
Applying this to my life and transition I would conclude that the hole I was forced to crawl though was about the size of a quarter.The trials and tribulations, the joys and total despair I experienced as I struggled to emerge were evidently part of a process to toughen my resolve and prepare me for emergence into this sometimes inhospitable world.
I decided to go to Montreal to complete my transformation for a number of practical reasons, but in truth nothing about this entire journey has spoken to practicality. Although it was incredibly difficult it was necessary for me to go these final steps alone and a lonelier journey you would be hard pressed to find. I went with the best wishes and love of all that know me but in the end I was alone and I’ll be honest it surely tested my resoluteness.
Arriving on a Saturday afternoon, I was whisked away to a beautiful bed and breakfast for the first evening. The nerves were apparent that evening as I met the other two women walking the same path. The luxury of the accommodations balanced by the final preparations for the surgery scheduled for Monday morning. I had by that time spent a lifetime considering what this was going to be like, and the closer I came to the end of the quest the more I realized I had no idea what the reality was going to look like. I went to bed with butterflies in my stomach but slept better than I had ever expected to.
Scheduled departure for check in at the hospital is at 6:30 PM on Sunday, so naturally after a wonderful breakfast the time began to crawl. It was at this point that I had assumed that the words would simply pour forth from my mind onto the page of my journal. Such was not the case, leaving me an abundance of free time to relive my entire life several times, including all the decision points that brought me to this place and all the anxiety, hopes, dreams and fears that naturally inhabit one’s mind at time like this.
Thankfully the time finally arrives for the short ride to the hospital. We all climb into the limo with as much aplomb as we could muster and away we went, small talk and nervous laughter helping to distract us from the enormity of what awaits us.
Actually what awaits us is paperwork, lots and lots of paperwork ,all designed to make sure that I haven’t ended up here by accident. Then a room assignment, hospital gown, a stack of towels, some containers of orange antimicrobial something or other, the obligatory enema bottle, a sheet of instructions detailing what needs to done and in what order. Then quiet, a silence so complete, so profound, so perfect for reflection and introspection, just what I needed.
Then the waiting begins, interspersed with the necessary showers, enemas and a sudden obsession with the clock. Only twelve hours left, Only eleven hours left. I’ll take my shower that will kill a half an hour, and so it goes until it seems to be bed time.
Now for that good nights sleep.