I think about this person I’ve become, when she was cowering somewhere dark in the recesses of me. I remember feeling her curled in my core as my body coiled in fear. I remember her prodding for release between my ribs as I hid in the sunshine of a quiet room. I remember how she ached for the life she felt owed while the person I was accepted far too little. I remember the day she ran for her life and then I was born.
This time last year I wouldn’t have imagined the way that I have assumed myself. I wouldn’t have dared to speculate a reality in which all of this was allowed to be possible. And yet that fear is still a small part of me. I find myself, from time to time, making myself small again. So very far from where I’ve been and yet it mocks me from that place up on the hill where it stands unassumingly. So very removed, so very scarred over. It’s a faceless fear. It’s just the lasting muscle memory of something bygone and banished. But not for nothing, no one who lives to tell returns unmarked.
I’m simply grateful to be here if not still a little bit astonished. I think my head has finally stopped spinning from the great lengths I went to to provide reparations for my craven choices. I think I’ve finally stopped and the weight of restoring gravity now beats upon my fragile collar bones. Now I must live again, and I must do it well. I fought too hard for the chance.
I wonder if the butterfly remembers being a caterpillar. I wonder if it knew why it awoke in a cocoon. I wonder how it grapples with being one thing and then another. I wonder when the memories of being a simple little thing fall away.