The Dragonfly Life..
Dragonflies are born in water, and they spend the majority of their lives in that water. They remain in their larval stage, a nymph, for up to five years. They swim, and eat, and enjoy themselves in the relative comfort and serenity of their aquatic homes. Occasionally glancing at the surface of the water, at the big, scary world outside.
The world on the other side is quite terrifying indeed. Once nymphs decide they’re ready to sprout wings, it’s a constant battle for survival. To power their wings and maintain their amazing aerial dexterity, the dragonfly requires not just heat, but must also feed often to recover the calories expended. As if having an insatiable appetite isn’t bad enough, the dragonfly is not anywhere near the top of the food chain. Plenty of birds are keeping a vigilant eye out for our feisty, four-winged friend. But wait, there’s more! Male Dragonflies all believe themselves king, and as such will have a fight to the death with any other male dragonfly in his territory. They must eat, they must not be eaten, they must not get killed by some young punk, fresh out the pond, AND they must find a mate. It’s no wonder some nymphs decide to chill in the pond for five years, they know they won’t last more than six months as an adult!
The good life..
When we’re young, we’re allowed the good fortune to be idiots. We’ll forget many of our mistakes, and we’ll not give a second thought to those we’ve scarred. We’ll play the same games, we’ll keep telling ourselves that there’s plenty of time ahead. Then one day, out of the blue, we’ll look around us and realize we should have made that left turn at Albuquerque. If we’re lucky, we’ll still have time to fix things. If we’re blessed, we’ll be forgiven by those we’ve wronged. If we’re strong, we’ll be able to push through the wall of despair. If, however, the chips are stacked against us, we’ll be hated, resisted, impaired, or forgotten. We will find ourselves weak, alone, and dying at a rate paced quicker than we’d like.
It’s all relative..
My youth wasn’t fun, not by any means. I had to fight the current, defy authority, and prove that my way was the better way. I escaped the fate that was sure to kill me. Many took credit for it, and I was quick to correct them. No one helped me.. I stood alone, I fought alone, I succeeded alone. That’s what I would believe for well over a decade. My life now, it’s so far removed from the world from which I came that I find it difficult to even remember the feelings I once swore I’d never forget. Back then, I was not alone. I had my cousins.. Iris and Betsy, we were always close. We relied on each other to be the gauge of sanity as our parents tried to tell us that the sky was black, when we knew it was surely blue. I also had my two best friends.. Vexx and Xentinel. My sword and shield. Vexx was younger than me, perhaps that’s why I felt the need to protect him and educate him. I wanted him to succeed, to win, even with the hand he was dealt. He had talent.. a great artist and a hungry mind.. he kept me grounded. Xentinel, he was older than me, and strong. He was a tree.. With him beside me, I felt invincible. Those two guys kept me real, they kept me moving forward. It was easy to take chances, knowing that they would be there without hesitation. Four individuals that drove me to be a fighter.. but wait, there’s more.
I come from a long line of uneducated individuals. College was never a path presented to me by my parents, even High School wasn’t. Education was a waste of time.. a man is only worth the sweat of his brow, not the thoughts in his head. I was encourage to drop out of school and get a job. School was a waste of time. Peggy Laurencelle, my English teacher.. she went to bat for me, she tried to point out to me that my thought process was greater than I was lead to believe. Mr. Naugle, or “nugget”, as I would call him. He was my Biology teacher. Always amazed by my ability to miss tons of class, hang with the bad kids, spend time in class.. drawing, yet STILL ace my exams. I regret almost giving him a heart attack when I pretend-mugged him outside a movie theater one night. Mr. Vasalo, my art teacher. I had his wife, Mrs. Vasalo, for History the year prior. I was so mean to that woman, I never listened, I mocked her, insulted her, and all-around made her life hell.. but still aced the class. Art, however, was a class I was eager to excel in. Mr. Vasalo was so impressed by my enthusiasm that one night he couldn’t help but brag to his wife about the great student he had. Once she realized it was me, she proceeded to remind him that all the bad evenings he had to deal with the year before, when she arrived home after dealing with her worst student’s shenanigans, were due to ME! Needless to say, I received many slaps from him after that. Those instructors, they put up with my disrespect, my ignorance, my culture.. they saw through the street kid, forced to bare his teeth. The reached for the kid inside that wanted to learn, under his own terms. I owe them the world.
All growed up..
I’m finally an adult, My days in the water are long behind me. Now I have to flap my wings for dear life. The world is against me, and I no longer have the safety of the water. I’m left alone, to fend for myself. I must fight to survive, I must fend off the young guys, always eager to dethrone me, I must stay alert, so this life doesn’t eat me alive, AND I must find a mate. Let’s hope I last more than six months.
..and knowing is half the battle.
I apologize for the massiveness of this post, but it HAS been a while since I’ve written. But hey, now you know more about me, and maybe you’ll be a little nicer to those cute, little dragonflies.