Portfolio of Hope

white and black butterfly on yellow flower in macro photography

I never used to understand what people meant when they would say that they had ‘butterflies’ in their stomach as a metaphor for feeling anxious.

I understand the feeling

the feeling of being so anxious that your insides feel like they’re being all ‘juggled up’-

chaos ruminating from the inside out,

being in such a state of anxiety that the way you feel surpasses ‘just’ being a mental reaction, it becomes physical, all-consuming



A symbol of beauty and wonder and awe?

Butterflies never felt fitting when, in a state of anxiety, I feel as far away from ‘beautiful’ as one could possibly feel and, ‘wonder’ and ‘awe?’- not even close.

When I’m anxious, my whole mind is just plagued with thoughts of everything that could go wrong and, because it’s *me*, everything that will go wrong. 

So, not ‘butterflies’ in my stomach, certainly. If anything, it’s bats.

Coming out when it’s dark, in the absence of light to instil fear.

Fear of all the things that could go wrong.

Fear of all the things that, again, because it’s me, will go wrong.

Serenity turning into anxiety.

Butterflies turning into bats-

the state of being anxious.

Until, you remember what butterflies actually symbolise-



Now, I just want you to cast your mind back and remember a time that you have felt anxious.

When I do this, when I cast my mind back, an example immediately comes to mind.

The most anxious I have ever felt, even more anxiety inducing (for me) than when I jumped out of a plane at 15,000 feet, meeting someone for the first time. Going on a date…

Getting ready that morning, I can remember feeling so sick. I had a migraine, my stomach was hurting, I kept feeling really hot and, mentally, my head was just all over the place. Like I said, the most anxious that I have ever felt.

Upon getting out of the house and actually getting there, I had to stand outside for a solid half an hour because I was so overcome with anxiety, ‘fight or flight’ kicking in, in which I felt like I just had to get out of there, to escape, to run.

To cut a long story short, I managed to ‘pull myself together’ (in sorts), albeit after half an hour of standing outside, alone, questioning everything, and I ended up having the loveliest time. The anxiety eased and, on that day, I finally understood what people meant when they would say that they had ‘butterflies’ in their stomach as a metaphor for feeling anxious.

Because, as all the best quotes tell us,

‘we grow in discomfort.’

Sometimes, it takes us doing the thing that scares us the most, it takes us pushing ourselves completely out of our comfort zone, for us to feel the sense of beauty and wonder and awe that we associate with butterflies.

When we’re feeling anxious, but we do the thing that scares us anyway, and nothing awful happens, and the outcome of doing that ‘thing’, whatever it is, is actually far better than you could’ve ever imagined, like a butterfly, you transform

You become more receptive to the beautiful things in life. 

You become less fearful, 

less cynical, 

more loving

Like a butterfly, a symbol of rebirth, you return back home, 

to yourself, 

all the more beautiful because of it, 

and ready to fly.

Anxiety turning to serenity,

bats turning to butterflies.

– The state of being…


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