A Butterfly’s Rousing Journey
Butterflies know precisely when to leave the safety of their cocoons, gloriously unfurling an exquisite new form and fearlessly trusting those untested appendages. When I sprouted my post-college “wings” and headed starry-eyed to the City of Angels, I did so with slightly less gallantry. My mode of transport was an Olds Cutlass Sierra, and my trailblazer spunk came with a convenient disclaimer: If things didn’t pan out, I could skitter back to my midwestern “cocoon” — no questions asked. How different that departure might have felt had I known there was no return option? And what if my destination required me to abandon my comfort zone completely, trekking to a destination foreign in every way, with little more than the clothes on my back and a hope-laden heart?
How much would you sacrifice to seek freedom and opportunity?
For Shermin Nahid Kruse‘s parents, who emigrated from Iran to Canada in the late 80s, the answer was — everything. Today, their accomplished daughter attributes her success to a baba and maman who gave up livelihood, family, and country so she and her sisters could pursue dreams unencumbered by their homeland’s oppressive regime.
From the tender age of eleven, Shermin embraced her new environment with grit, grace, and adaptability. Now, in addition to a resume that leaves me wishing I could package and sell such ambition, she’s written a compelling book that interlaces mother and daughter perspectives of Iran before, during, and after the Islamic Revolution.
Her novel, Butterfly Stitching, makes one feel like a privileged friend, granted special access down a hidden corridor to a colorfully complex and otherwise inconceivable world. She skillfully drops her readers into tenacious Persian women’s shoes, swaying at once to the tight-knit cultural beat with our senses delightfully piqued. We shop at bustling markets, prepare and savor ethnic meals, host secret parties, dance to illegal music, recite forbidden poetry, paint heartrending emotion, suffer a passionless arranged marriage, find and lose true love — all while somehow maintaining positivity against a backdrop rife with fear, repression, betrayal, and bloodshed.
If you’re like me and routinely invent excuses for postponing goals, her rousing journey will replenish your soul’s gusto, transforming yesterday’s paper-thin excuses into possibilities. Thanks to this inspiring author and dear friend, I shall never utter the words “I can’t” again!
What leap of faith have you taken to achieve your dreams? Tell me about it and possibly win a signed copy of Butterfly Stitching!
(Photo from our latest travels: The Dark Hedges in Ballymoney, Northern Ireland)
Just Beautiful – an insect with two pairs of large wings that are covered with tiny scales, usually brightly colored, and typically held erect when at rest. Butterflies fly by day, have clubbed or dilated antennae, and usually feed on nectar.
Thank you Mihran! What a lovely picture you paint of this beautiful creature. And to think those wings are held erect even at rest! Oh how I aspire to emulate their soul-stirring blend of elegance and strength, gracefully surrendering to each miraculous transformation…
Beautiful post Shauna. You paint a lovely picture of Shermin and her family’s adventures. Too often I opt for doing nothing. Maybe I need to read her inspiring tale.
I’m right there with you, Brad. 🙂 A big part of the reason I travel is to force myself out of my safe cocoon. And I always return home inspired by the fortitude of people facing hardships I can scarcely imagine. Meeting Shermin and reading her story was just another one of those exhilarating gifts.
What an enticing and gorgeous discussion of a compelling book and vibrant way to live, LL! Your friend’s delicious, gutsy and inspiring tale intrigues me–thank you so much for the recommendation. A leap of faith? Switching gears at age 39 by leaving lawyering to pursue my lifelong passion for dancing. Here’s to gusto, baby! xoxo
And what an incredible impact your leap of faith has had, Dear Chloe! How many you’ve galvanized by living/sharing your passion. Cheers to possessing the moxie to follow your heart!!! 💞
“Dancing is the loftiest, the most moving, the most beautiful of the arts, because it is not mere translation or abstraction from life; it is life itself.” ~Havelock Ellis
Thank you so much for your kind words and this wonderful quote! xoxo
Intriguing post and beautifully written – definitely want to read more here….
Thank you, John! This book is truly transforming and continues to resonate with me even though I read it six months ago…I cannot recommend it highly enough!!
My leap, not nearly as dramatic, but I left a secure job of sixteen years to explore working from my heart rather than my head. As a single pragmatic woman it was quite large for me. I’m still finding my way, but it’s my way and I have no regrets!
I love your leap, Cindy!! Bravo for your courage! And now I have another book to read. Thank you for sharing your beautiful soul with the world! ♥
Very nice Shauna. Life is not a dress rehearsal so you have to give it your all and make changes to allow for happiness.
Amen, Joe! So happy to have you here — thank you, Dear Friend!!!
Magnificent in every way. You are a true inspiration.
YOU are such a beautiful presence in my world…Your loving support leaves me speechless. Please know, you are dearly cherished and I’m ever grateful! 💝
Now I have to read this book! A few years ago I read another book about a woman during the Revolution- I wish I could remember the name something like”Letters from Iran” but I do remember how hollow I felt reading it- but always the tales of immigration fascinate me, especially since my parents were immigrants themselves. I think often about the courage it takes to leave seeking new life… Thank you fabu Shauna!!
Aww, Sophia, I’m always happy to see your name here! Thank you. Whether the virtual book club comes to fruition — or not, Sher’s story is a profound must-read. Although I read it last May, it has taken up residence in my heart. Yes, we have issues in this country, but I cannot begin to imagine the oppressed existence still endured in Iran today. It’s infuriating and mind-boggling!!! Their hardship reminds me I have ZERO to complain about and should count my blessings daily…
I’d love to hear you and your parent’s story sometime! xoxo
I haven’t read the book, but I can certainly relate to the immigrant experience! Resiliency, drive and tenacity are really key to surviving and thriving in a new land.
I could not agree more, Sheryl! I love your journey to “wholefullness.” Thank you for the pleasure of your visit!
A lovely piece. Exactly the kind if book I love. I’m going to read this book ASAP!
It means the world to see your name here, Martha!!! YES, read this fabulously moving book, and then we can have a fun book club meeting at my place. 🍷💞
It sounds exhilarating. I prefer reading books because perusing such books is one of my joys in life. I will definitely take a good look. Thanks for illuminating it for your readers.
The Castle Lady
Thank you so much for your sweet visit, Dear Castle Lady! Your timing is impeccable. Shermin’s book just hit Amazon’s #1 Spot in the Middle Eastern category and is currently available at an incredible bargain. xo http://www.amazon.com/Butterfly-Stitching-Shermin-Kruse-ebook/dp/B00K1U71YM/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1417744546&sr=1-1&keywords=butterfly+stitching
Just finishing “Flight Behavior” by Barbara Kingsolver. Great read!
Thanks for the recommendation! At $3.99, “Butterfly Stitching” is a fabulous addition to your library! May your Holidays be Merry & Bright!!! xo