I called it my “midlife crisis,” a succinct synopsis of a year that saw my entire way of being shattered and slowly rebuilt. In conversation, I needed use only those words for receipt of understanding nods from most. A good thing, as explanation would require the reassembly of emotional dreck into some illuminating narrative.

Once upon a time, it began with a moment that shook the ground at Richter Scale magnitudes…

…facades imploded, one then the next and the next, until I barely recognized the world in which I was living.

Slowly, and with little alternative, I tossed the familiar onto a pile curbside: the relevance of work, the attachment to agendas, the solitude of illusions, the complacent ennui…

…until time came, with Ecclesiastical allusion, to build up a new life. A new way of being that honored truth and authenticity, passion and connection, joy and creativity.

At a business luncheon, many months later, I sat in bold, new life regalia — the monotone conformity gathering seagulls in some past-life wasteland.

“Are you an artist?” the Senator asked as we shook hands across the table, and I smiled at the cursory classification.

“No, sir,” I wanted to say, “I am a butterfly.” But I held my tongue and nodded politely.

From the archives, while I work on finishing my book. Words and mixed-media collage, ©2008, Jen Payne.

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