Social Butterflying – a flash fiction

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Photo prompt provided by TJ Paris

Social Butterflying

Sheena looked at the mirror a millionth time and scrutinized her face. The curled hair lock looks better on the cheek. She loved her spiky winged eye-liner that added to her mysterious eyes; kind of waking them up. Hope the mascara is not overdone! Is the dress too loud and flowery?

Flowers! This reminded her that she needs roses – real or fake – for it was a theme party. She went out to pluck a rose but stood watching the pretty butterfly sitting on flowery cacti.

Butterfly! The word rang a bell. Only yesterday somebody had commented on her ‘Sheena, the social butterfly!”.  She sensed a hint of jeering in the remark.

Why! What’s wrong if she likes parties and loves colorful clothes? She stood pondering. This world loves beauty. A plain Jane is quite like this butterfly that was once ignored for being a creepy worm till she developed pretty wings in brilliant hues. Nature’s fashionista is never ridiculed for her transformation!

Thus emboldened by the tiny butterfly, Sheena confidently headed towards her college party. She heard her mom’s voice from behind, “Come back before it gets too dark! Will you?


That was my flash fiction/short story in response to this week’s Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers hosted by Priceless Joy

Copyright © 2015 Alka Girdhar

33 thoughts on “Social Butterflying – a flash fiction

  1. Beautiful piece of flash fiction, Alka. Love how you brought the butterfly in as a metaphor, and though it’s a very short story, I feel that there are many layers to it. Sheena who used to be an outcast, Sheena now the party girl, but still also a rather sheltered girl from the sounds of it. Brilliant writing, and it makes me think that sometimes writing fiction is the hardest genre to write (but it really depends on the writer and their skills, I suppose) 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks Mabel! The way you have identified the layers within this story so precisely, you should try writing book reviews. Sheena’s story is about a plain Jane’s transformation, how she justifies and embraces her change and yet she has a protected life as seen from the concern shown by her parents. A growing woman’s multiple facets.
      Comparing various genres, I feel fiction is more of a spontaneous creativity rather than a planned or a well thought out work. Weighing too much can spoil the charm. Well at least I write like that 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Cute story Alka! That’s true about caterpillars. They are ignored for being a creepy worm but they transform into something so beautiful. I like how Sheena compares herself to the butterfly. Seems the butterfly gives her her confidence. Wonderful story!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks Joy! True, and that’s one of the things I wanted to bring out, that this world is like that – it notices things striking and beautiful, at least at the outset and then ultimately it’s the deeper things that matter. Looking at the butterfly she gains confidence but it’s up to her to direct her confidence to her benefit.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for liking it! Yes, there are stigmas involved in every little thing. While our social discourses and rules do carry some positive meaning as they try to make our society more refined and civil, it’s particularly women who are not supposed to be..well..a social butterfly 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Isn’t this a layered post that could convey different meanings to different readers? A girl raised in a protective environment turning into a social butterfly taking cue from nature. Purely logical , nothing wrong and yet the repercussions could vary, which shows through her mother’s concern.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yes Somali, and you raised a good point. Some readers will welcome this change in her, while others may be worried for her, like her mom is. Actually, there are typical phases of growth in every young person’s life; they absorb from their family environment and they form their own personality based on their observations and experiences. But repercussions do vary as we often see too much experimenting can make youth idle away their life. Sheena’s new found confidence will not be enough; some common sense would be needed to make the most of it.

      Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you! Actually many people will share your doubts. Usually young people try out different paths; but get bored esp. if they’re indulging and enjoying life merely because of peer pressure or temporary charm. So yes! If she’s sensible, she will get some exposure, and thereafter decide how much is worth it and how much is not.
      Thanks for your unique perspective

      Liked by 2 people

  4. i enjoyed your take on the prompt picture it is a thoughtful story. I think their is nothing wrong with Sheena liking to dress up and talk to people a lot and party. She is in university after all, and she seems like the person at the party, everyone would love. Great job!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks! Exactly that’s also the point I was making…that if nature too makes creatures beautiful as they bloom towards their peak, then why should young girls/boys be made to feel embarrassed or guilty about their interest in all things pretty and enjoyable. That’s nature too and it’s their age to enjoy. Moreover, some people are by nature extrovert, and then there are others who are great dancers or singers, so how else are they going to express themselves if they do not go to gatherings. A party is a gathering at its simplest form, as long as it’s devoid of hooliganism.

      Liked by 2 people

  5. You have said so much within a few words, Alka! Many subtle comments on people, peer group, society and self-love. Short stories can be so effective if the words are chosen judiciously! Superb.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Social mentality is often judgmental towards youth but at the same time caring and concerned too. Peer pressure is something that youth should avoid and yet pay heed to, if only to assimilate a bit and not seem like a constant rebel or outcast. More than anything else, what matters is that people, young and old, know what actually makes them happy (self-love) as long as it’s not a crime.
      Thanks Balroop! Short stories are fun and effective.

      Liked by 2 people

  6. John Donne once wrote a piece called “A Defence of Womens Inconstancy,” in which he applauded the changeableness in women and compared it to the beauty of things constantly transforming in nature. I got the same sense with your excellent flash fiction. Example is this line “Nature’s fashionista is never ridiculed for her transformation!” ❤ What a great topic to touch on. Just look at these thoughtful comments 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for sharing information on John Donne’s piece. Haven’t read it so at your mention I tried searching…possibly typed something wrong and couldn’t find. Will try to read it soon. But I can sense, Donne could be talking about women in the same tone as Shakespeare did in ‘Frailty thy name is woman’. Actually the character of Sheena is not inconstant or fickle (as in promiscuous) but one that is simply evolving and exploring; for she’s undergoing an inevitable growth or change towards womanhood that every girl naturally undergoes. She has a right to decide what kind of woman she wants to become, whether indulging in beauty or preferring simplicity or some balance. Sighting a butterfly and accepting her own change towards better looks/enjoyment is her current confident situation which may again change for the better or worse.
      Thus, like men, women too are changeable and naturally so. In olden days they were not allowed to think for themselves or change without getting permission from ‘changeable’ men 🙂 And women who dared to do so were labelled inconstant.

      This story randomly turned out nice whereas it was a spontaneous flow of thoughts on my long-time image of a butterfly – that of a worm morphing into a beauty, and getting well accepted for it.
      Glad it got so many readers thinking. Thanks for your insight 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • Yes, exactly. Changeableness and inconstancy doesn’t mean fickle (or doesn’t always mean fickle). It touches on “evolving and exploring” which is a beautiful and natural process that shouldn’t be ridiculed, condemned, or suppressed.


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