Rigor samsa.


Mara Fendrick

It was impossible to hide. “I tried time and time again to conceal them, to cover them with a jacket or backpack.”

The day never ends as it once began. Nevertheless, I must persist as though it did.

At first, I didn’t notice my scars growing around me, caging me in; it started small. Every rejection, every low score, every fight began to pile up and condense into an armor. It wasn’t until my first true heartbreak that the trauma broke through my skin like sprouting wings.

It was impossible to hide. I tried time and time again to conceal them, to cover them with a jacket or backpack. I didn’t want to wear my heart on my sleeve. Unfortunately, it wasn’t my choice to make. They became more and more visible with every embarrassment, leading me down a rabbit hole of shame.

I once came home after an especially detrimental heartbreak. My mother took notice, as my wings had grown so massive I could barely get through the door.

Mara, she said, why hold onto all of that? What will it give you?

What I wanted to tell her, more than anything in the world, was that I didn’t know where I could put it down. It was my story, my definition of myself, that made me feel I finally had purpose. Without holding onto the lessons and pain that I’d learned, it would’ve been for nothing.

I thought that my wings would take me places, that I could use them to get somewhere better, somewhere I wouldn’t need them anymore. My first attempt proved me wrong. I tried in the same fashion as I loved, or as I tripped running downwards in Tuthill Park: head over heels. Right before the face full of gravel, the shredded kneecaps against the pavement and the sting that would linger for eternity, I could’ve sworn I was flying.

Instead of the armor I thought I was creating for myself, I learned I was turning against myself in an act of Fibrodysplasia. It’s a feeling experienced but not well described, the realization that you’ve betrayed yourself. I’d become so safe, so comfortable in the act of shielding myself from the world that I hadn’t thought to see what lay outside. The solution was simple for me: I cut them off and set them down.