You may know me as one of the cute, “harmless” little green inchworms that hang from trees year after year. However, since I was but a mere larva, I have known my greater purpose on this earth.
I was never just an “inchworm.”
I, the cankerworm, a defoliating pest of North Carolina trees, have one goal, and one goal only: to f**king ruin you.
Do not underestimate me. You think you’re safe. You think that I will not reach you. You think that you’re careful. But I will not be stopped.
Or perhaps you thought placing a sticky band on a tree this late in the year would hinder me? Ah, but you’re only five months too late! I scoff at you, you warm-blooded, ignorant shit.
My mother, the flightless moth, was not disheartened by this irritation. Tree bands captured many friends and family, but my mother overcame. She was willing to crawl over the trapped bodies of our kind until she reached the foliage to lay her blessed, bountiful eggs.
I am of an invincible bloodline. I was born in these trees and it is in these trees that I will prevail. I will continue to defoliate until the health of all hardwood trees in our immediate vicinity succumb to my power.
I will hang from any tree without regard. I will make refuge on every piece of clothing, in every head of hair, regardless of gender, race, or class. I am unconquered. I am boundless. I am invincible.
And I don’t plan to stay here. I have secreted the silken thread from my mouth in preparation of your imminent arrival. I am already hanging, swaying, watching—waiting for you.
Yes, it is you, the 26,000 inhabitants of UNC Charlotte that must to hear my message loud and clear: oblivion is upon you.
You thought could stare straight into the trees as you walk to watch for me? That you could take a different path around campus to avoid me? Did you for one minute possibly think you could outsmart me? Neither the nocturnal engineer on his midnight outings to Wendy’s nor the frat rat on her walk of shame at dawn can avoid me. I will be there.
I will take the enjoyment out of every spring day. I will bathe in the warm weather and rays of sun, which you so praise. A walk in through the greenway, you might be suggesting to your friend? Innocently trying to go to class? I will be there.
I will find my way into your space of living, whether it is through a roommate’s head or backpack. The inferior room of dormitory in which you deem so safe will be no more.
You may not feel me, but I will be there. I am there.
I have watched as my kind is flicked from head of hair after head of hair. I have felt the hand of an unforgiving human. I may be thrown away and screamed at, but I bask joyfully in your fear of my intrusion. I may be kept as a “pet” until you tire of me, but I haven’t gone away.
You may have experienced my kind before, and you may have known how to rid of them, but I am different.
I will find you.
I will inch my way into your life.
And I will f**king DESTROY you.
Perhaps one day, though it may seem strange and uncertain, if I ever tire of annoying the ever-living hell out of the Niner Nation, I will finally weave my silken cocoon. I will burrow in the soil. I will pupate.
You will see me for what I am, for what I was truly meant to be. I will take on my true form.
And I will rise.