March 4, 2011, a little before 5:00 am, I am sitting in my living room in Montreal, with fountain pen in hand and a writing pad in my lap, ready to start a conversation with myself before my husband wakes up. We have this ritual that we started when we got married in 1983. Every morning we wake up at 5:30 to have coffee together and read the paper until 6:30, when it’s time to get ready for our different schedules. On the days that I wake up earlier I try to write a bit, sort of have a conversation with myself. For those of you who haven’t come across my previous writings, let me just mention that I love pens, especially fountain pens. I belong to the old school, I write with fountain pen first and then type and edit on the computer. My muse comes with the smell and the flow of the ink on the blank paper. I am crazy, I know, but who among us is not passionate about something in one way or another? Anyways, things are not going well for me lately and today morning as I turn my pen in my hand I notice the chrysalis carved on the nib and it hits me. Right now, at this moment in time, I am that chrysalis.
The New Lexicon Webster’s Dictionary defines a Chrysalis as ‘the pupa of certain insects especially butterflies and moths at the state between caterpillar or larva and fully developed imago,’ while in the Reader’s Digest Universal Dictionary a Chrysalis is ‘a pupa, a state of development, a transitional state.’
And finally, according to the Oxford Learner’s Dictionary a Chrysalis is ‘a form taken by an insect during the torpid stage of its life (between the time when it creeps or crawls as a larva and the time when it flies as a moth, butterfly).’
I have lived most of my life in Lebanon and Dubai. In 2006, I left the Middle East for good and immigrated to Canada, with my husband and two teenage children. Four and a half years later, my kids both well into their studies in university, I still don’t have my dream job. On top of that things happened to me, to us, that I never imagined or dreamed of. But hey I am alive, I have my family and I have a country I can call home and I know that whatever happens on the political level, I will still be able to live with some dignity and freedom. And until I find what I am looking for I would like to think of myself as a chrysalis in a metamorphic stage, undergoing internal changes. After much creeping and crawling, I believe that the day will come when I will emerge from this uncertain state as a beautiful butterfly. And as William Du Bois put it:
“A budding writer could not emerge from his pupa too soon.”