About six months ago, I met someone. I had incredible butterflies. I was sure he was IT. I dove in with both feet. It was just too exciting and I didn’t want to slow down. It was magic. I just had to do it!
Guess what? It exploded as fast as it started … and that’s when I started working with Jen.
Now I understand what she’s been telling me about the butterflies—what they are and what they do. They are possibly the most poorly understood and dangerous emotional tools I have. I always thought the flutters in my chest and brain were good things. That they meant someone special had arrived in my life and that he’d make all bad things disappear. Life would suddenly and magically change. And that’s how I’d find love…if I was destined to find it at all.
Lots of really smart ladies like me secretly wait for magic. We think that magic is the only way we will find love or a partner. The regular ways have never worked and we’re positive they never will. And honestly we’re probably right about that. But we are wrong to wait for magic to happen. We crave “big love” and we want to keep romance alive as a possibility. And here’s where the big mistake happens—we think the feeling of butterflies means that we are in the presence of magic.
Butterflies are magical, sure, but I finally get that they are not the kind of magic I thought they were. They are not indications I am in the proximity of possible true love. They do not mean that I near someone who can escort me immediately past all the dull and huge impediments to ‘true love.’ They do not mean this guy will give me a special front-of-the-line pass, and that this ‘magic’ is the only way to get through the impediments.
I’ve decided the flutters are not from butterflies. They are from pixies—pixies that are fluttering. But they are not fluttering with happy excitement; they are fluttering nervously because they recognize that I’m in the presence of a man who isn’t good for me. They recognize that I’m near someone who is triggering irrational hope for a free pass, for a trip to the heady heights of true soul love. The pixies know that I THINK I’ve finally found it, or it’s found me.
The pixies are my own little emotional bodyguards. They herd the bulls that run rampant in my emotional china shop. The bulls were put there by people way in my past. They are old thoughts and old needs. They are desperate wishes that things had been different. They are mad that I don’t feel fulfilled and they are my depression. And when the bulls get stimulated, the pixies take flight.
What I thought were butterfly wings have always been pixie wings—just like when you feel a tickle on your arm and think it’s a butterfly, but it’s actually a wasp. The tickle feels the same, but the reality is very different. This tickle, the chest butterflies, the magical sparklers I’m feeling, are upset pixies. Sure they are flying, but they are trying to fly away. They are warning me. They feel like they are signaling magic. Nope. They are indicators I’m about to get stung in a major way.
So I’ve decided to recognize my pixies as pixies—my own little emotional bodyguards. I’ve given them combat boots, sparkling diamond helmets and golden wings. When they take flight I’m going to listen to them. I’m going to recognize what they are saying: DANGER. BEWARE. This person is messing around with your herd of bulls. The bulls are getting nervous. This person can only make your bulls mad. This person can’t rid you of your bulls. Flutter, flutter, FLUTTER DAMMIT.
I’ll hear you, pixies. I will heed your warning. Narcissist nearing! Emotionally unavailable man approaching! Someone is reminding you of old wounds! Someone is making you feel like suddenly everything can, will, should be different … and the logical part of you is conveniently forgetting the fact that you just met this person. How on earth does it make any sense that you are giving them credit for changing your life?! It’s nuts. It’s upset bulls. It’s worried pixies. It’s not butterflies.
So thank you to Mr. Six Months Ago. Your short presence in my life has finally helped me feel the pixie/butterfly distinction. The bulls I’m handling in therapy. The pixies are my friends, the way that smoke detectors are my friends.
Thanks for being toxic smoke, and for moving so fast. The air is feeling much more breathable now that I’m past you. And thanks Jen, because I never would have gotten here without your insights and help.
Full disclosure about me: I’ve known Jen for over 10 years. I watched as she dated the wrong men, then got fed up and focused her amazing brain on changing her own love life. I was one of the many voices encouraging her to turn her ideas into what has become DateWise. However, I avoided doing her Seven Steps to Love Plan like the plague. I’m a rock star professionally and a dating loser. I just wasn’t ready, was scared, or whatever. I got over it and I became a client. I’m just starting Step 3—still nervous about actual dates, but I can feel things shifting. Maybe my herd of bulls is on the move.