Initium: From ineō (“go in, make a start”) +‎ -ium, the former from in (“in, into”) +‎ eō (“go”).

When going through metamorphosis are you making a start or are you making an ending?

One of my most beloved passions is devoting my time and effort to the protection of and a haven for monarch butterflies. My yard is devoted to the plants they love to suck nectar from and plants they must lay eggs upon for the proliferation of their offspring. I search for their eggs and very tenderly and lovingly raise them from tiny 1/4 inch long creatures to 3 inch long chonkers. I do this in hopes of increasing the members of the species so that this beautiful and nearly endangered species has a better chance of surviving our brutal world marred and made toxic by human hands.

Watching the metamorphic process the caterpillars endure up close something that is striking to me is how there are many endings before the final beginning of life as a butterfly. Each caterpillar has to focus purely on eating and growing larger. They go through stages called “instars”. Each instar is marked by a change in size and appearance. They have to unzip their skin, remove their face cap and throw them both off to welcome their new stage of growth.

I think humans can go through similar phases/stages of growth. These stages are not always marked shimmying out of our skin and leaving our face cap behind but sometimes the pain of enduring growth and transformation can come with the pain that feels as though this very thing is happening. And I think this pain is what keeps people from pushing themselves to introspect, take risks, grow and go through further transformation. The vast majority of people stagnate, board over the windows of their souls and in doing so halt all transformative possibilities. Growth is pain and transformation is terrifying.

The coronavirus pandemic has been a source of tremendous, unbelievably painful transformation for me as a person and as an artist and for that I have only the deepest, most humble sense of gratitude. Part of this transformation to my next instar is the desire to share the pains of the growth and how my work reflects my personal and artistic growth.


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