Shireen Fashion Blog
45 days & nights of Black Butterflies
Posted by Shireen Sandoval 02/15/13, 2:41pm
I'm naked. Standing in the middle of a room. Nothing's there. Just me. My pale skin's aglow. My brunette hair, unruly, cascades below my waist. Suddenly, my body begins to heave. I clutch my stomach, fall forward, landing on my knees. My eyes flutter with fear and my mouth flies open with force. Violently, thousands of Black Butterflies pour out of me. Flapping from my lips, they freakishly flood the entire room. Alas, they've finally made their great escape, flittering about. Then, poof! In perfect unison, they disappear. I wipe my face, stand-up and start floating. Hovering, ever so slightly, above ground. A bright light starts shining behind me. I linger in mid-air. Weightless. Suspended. At peace. That's the reoccurring dream I've had for the last 45 nights (yes, I looked at my calendar and counted.) When I looked back, I noticed...
45 days ago my neurologist walked into my examination room. He sat down on a twisty stool, glanced at my chart and without looking up said: "How do you feel?" I gave him my typical response: "I'm not dead yet." Mind you, I've been asked this question numerous times over the past few years, after developing Guillian-Barre' Syndrome. He chuckled. I like it when he laughs. I love my doctor. He saved my life (diagnosing & treating me, after so many others had given up, including myself.) He reviewed what he had written down and we talked about my recovery from my sixth (and final) IVIG treatment (Intravenous Immunoglobulin.) A standard treatment for GBS. He checked my reflexes and said: "You're doing well." I ignored him and explained that "sometimes" my lower spine still hurt. He listened and said thoughtfully: "It's time, Shireen. Time to start healing yourself. Rebuilding your body and your life." I looked at him, with tears in my eyes and said softly: "I'm afraid."
Butterflies symbolize change, transformation and luck. It's because they're short-lived. They only have a few months to grow up - metamorphosize - to understand their ultimate purpose. Imagine, living your entire life in just 8 weeks? Time would be fleeting, it would fly by and you would feel lucky to have each and every second. Seeing a Butterfly, in full bloom, complete in its maturation, is said to bring good fortune. They only spread their wings for about two weeks. Then, they drift off and die. A sighting is magical, mysterious and has captivated mankind for centuries. Native American folklore says: if you want a wish to come true, capture a Butterfly and whisper it your desire. Then, you must set it free. Even though it can't talk, The Great Spirit can. It sees and hears all. Upon giving the Butterfly its freedom (letting it live,) it flaps its way into the spirit world, where your wish is granted.
I've kept my reccurring dream of Black Butterflies to myself, at least until now. It scared me. I thought it spoke of illness, death and despair. Interestingly enough, I found out (from a dream specialist,) the dark flurry of beauties represent strength. Strength one carries into a new self-chosen journey; developed after a long suffering transition.
It was dark outside when I laced up my Black running shoes. I hadn't exercised in two years. I was busy dying and now, well, I had to get busy living. Doctor's orders. Of course, I didn't follow them until 45 days and one dream intrepretation later. I guess you could call my recovery a stroke of good fortune. Like my Black Butterflies. I knew others with GBS did not share my same fate. The moon was glorious that night, illuminating my new path, shedding light on my second chance at life. I walked just a short distance (with a friend,) but it didn't matter, because I had already come so far. I was no longer afraid of "What Dreams May Come," (yes, just like the movie.)
The thing is, if you aren't ready to look, you won't see. Dream or not. After my fifth IVIG infusion, I received a beautiful Butterfly ring, from a jewelry designer with a sweet soul. After my sixth treatment, someone I love surprised me with a pretty, vintage-inspired Butterfly pendant. That's not all. When I took a good look around me, I realized over the course of the past few years (while I was wrapped in a cocoon of healing,) my family and friends had gifted me with many gilded wings. I just didn't notice, until my dreams (45 days and nights of Black Butterflies) woke me up.
One of my favorite things; is my Emmaline Butterfly Ring from www.jillzaleski.com When I decorate my finger with the fanciful flight, it keeps me soaring and moving in the right direction and that's what my new self chosen journey of healing is all about.