Today has offered me a brief reminder of the concept of self. The photo on this post is of a Viceroy butterfly. For those that don’t know what makes that beautiful creature so special, I’ll give you a small biology lesson before I jump into the existential stuff.
The Viceroy butterfly has a color scheme that mimics the poisonous Monarch butterfly perfectly. This makes the Viceroy’s life a bit easier. It blends in with the poisonous bugs so predators leave it alone. If it weren’t for a thin black line, you’d think the butterflies were the exact same species.
It may be a leap for some, but most people live as Viceroys. We cloak ourselves in colors and expressions that don’t naturally belong to us in order to find some semblance of safety in our society.
“I don’t like college basketball but those four guys do, therefore I will pretend I do to fit in.”
“I don’t like these people but my friend does, therefore I’ll pretend I like them to keep the peace.”
“I have anxiety but all those people are extroverts that think I’m weird, so I’ll just pop this Xanax and play the part.”
There are very few Monarchs left. There are very few people who feel comfortable enough with themselves to just be! They fear that they will never just be enough. So they play these parts and read the lines as the characters they want to portray.
I prefer to be the Monarch I was born as. I will flutter about in all my bitter essence poisoning the masses that attempt to nip at me. I will scare away the would be predators. I will “be!” As Shakespeare wrote, “to thine own self, be true,” and let me tell you, little Billy Shakespeare was on to something. #BitterBugGang
“Now if you take the sun and multiply its heat, ten times over then what you find is me.” — Mims (This is Why I’m Hot – Remix)
I actually never heard of the Viceroy Monarch Butterfly, until my boyfriend told me about it. This is spring after all and all the life that was stifled during the winter sloughs off and butterflies emerge from cocoons, birds come and nest and trees and flower bushes get their zest back. But isn’t all life precious, no matter the name we give them, whether they use certain means to survive, it doesn’t make them less of a creature created by God(s).
We can also use this creature as a metaphor pertaining to society and even apply sociology being that sometimes we don’t quite feel as though we belong, so we try to fit in as we see that the Viceroy uses its gift of imitation in order to the class itself in the food chain. Isn’t that similar to how society is today when we feel like we have to disguise our true selves in order to fit into a particular group or class to survive? Thank you for sharing this post. It always excites discussion.
Exactly! That’s the point I was trying to say. The idea of that creature going through its entire adult life hiding as something it’s not just to make life a bit more safe and comfortable is something that a lot of us can understand.
Admittedly, I always looked at the Viceroy as something evil or fake. I hadnt seen it as the delicate victim of social conformity that it actually was. That dead butterfly showed me a lot about life.
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