Up Close and Personal : So Apparently I Am A Butterfly
So apparently, I just found out a few minutes ago that there was, in fact, a word for someone like me. The word is – you guessed it – butterfly.
I never felt the need to encapsulate all the beautiful and chaotic mess of particles that I am into words. Into labels. But since it will make this whole thing easier to explain, label we shall.
A butterfly, in this sense, is not the insect butterfly. Instead, in this case, it means : a person who never settles with one group, interest, or occupation for long.
And indeed, that is I.
Now, let me rewind a little bit to two years ago so that you have a better understanding as to what brings me – and you – to this point right here, right now.
A TRIP DOWN MEMORY LANE
If you don’t already know, I am currently studying abroad. As in, doing my studies in a foreign country. Far away from everyone and everything I used to know. And when I say, that shit is daunting as hell, you better believe I am telling the truth. I mean, sure, on the outside I might act all macho. Dusting off my shoulders with fake bravado acting as if nothing bothers me. As if nothing about this 180 flip on my life is a big deal.
And act as I might, at the end of the day, it’s all play pretend. The truth is, your girl was scared shitless.
But that is all in the past now. I have been living abroad for a few years now, and I have – I hope – more or less figured out how to make things work. So I have now gone through the hurdle of having to settle down in a new country, all by myself. And by all means, isn’t that what studying abroad is roughly about? Surviving on your own and don’t die?
Well, if you are asking me to summarize studying abroad in 7 words, then yes.
But if you are looking for a more detailed answer, then my answer would be, no.
While all the moving and settling in and getting used to things has been a trying process, I can tell you that it has nothing against everything that is to come after.
It was such an overwhelming and eyeopening experience, so much so that I made up a name for it. I call it the growing up phase.
This part is brutal. I mean, shit. I have been studying abroad for 3 years now, and everyday I still find myself learning something new about myself. In this phase, it literally felt like I was going through puberty all over again. And if I know one thing about puberty, it is that it sucks ass. But there I was, going through that emotional rollercoaster of rediscovering and re-understanding myself all over again.
The boundaries I put around myself before? I realized that I was actually more capable than that. My limits that I ignored? I found out that after crashing and burning into a thousand of different pieces, and having to slowly put myself back together again that I have to heed my own warning. Because subconsciously, I know how far I can push myself. I know how fast I can go and when to stop.
So here your girl is, being excited to learn and discover new things about the world and herself. Until about a few months ago, I hit a wall. A giant read brick wall. And fell flat on my ass.
After all the self-enlightenment that I had gone through, I realized one thing. I had the attention span of a goldfish.
Okay. This definitely sound way worse that it did in my head. But that’s the truth. I really do have the attention span of a goldfish. As in, I get excited about everything new. Be it a museum that I have never been to, an activity that I have never tried, a sport that I have never done. You find anything that is a new experience to me, you’ll probably be able to get me as excited and hyped as a 5 year old.
Although, that doesn’t last long. As soon as I start exploring and start getting used to said activities or experiences, if things started to get predictable, then I would have already lost interest faster than you can blink.
At first, I did not think much of it. Sure, I find myself getting bored more often than the average person would. But I think I can live with it, right?
I find that as time goes on, this start to leak into my relationship with acquaintances and friends. Into how I perceive people and my surroundings. And eventually I realized, everything has a pattern and everyone is following that exact pattern.
Here, think of it this way. I will give you a standard example when you first meet someone – as a college student or someone in that age range.
You go to a cafe, and meet someone new. What is the first thing you will ask? Their name(s). And then cue small talks – that we all loathe. Talk about the weather, how they are doing, what they do for a living. Afterwards, you start to get to know them – whether it is because you are genuinely interested, want to get on their good side for future projects, or just to fill in the silence. You asked about their hobbies, what the like to do in their free time, the things they are currently working on. Yada, yada, yada.
Even if it is with adults, the pattern is still the same, only the context that is different.
Sometimes, it makes me wonder. Does anyone even care about hearing the answers? Or are they just nodding and agreeing to whatever you have to say so that they can continue down their bullet list of questions to ask?
Do the people you think as your friends truly care about who you are as a person? About what makes you, you. Your failures, your successes, your sorrows, your most embarrassing moments, your happiest moments.
Do they want to know your core. To know the you that you hid from society. The you that you decide is better kept hidden than shown to the world?
After all, isn’t that what friends really are? The one who will stick with you through thick and thin? The one who – sometimes – knows you better than you know yourself?
Or are they just living life as they see how everyone is living them? Bland, dull and colorless. Going through people as if they are disposable. We all would love to think that we are special. That we are different, unique. That every single one of us have something to offer that no one else can. But when you really think about it, we are all disposable. One in 7 billion, what are the odds of finding someone exactly like us?
So maybe because of that, we decide that it is better – easier – to just put on a mask and adopt it as our own skin. Since everyone and everything is temporary, isn’t it better to be fake and dull than to feel and be hurt?
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