When my dad committed suicide, my entire right wing was severed.
I was flying crooked, out of control, knowing only that I was going down.
When I was 20-years-old, I was in flight. I forged wings with my own hands, the hands that picked me up and pulled me out of my troubled teen years and from my broken childhood home.
My wings were strong and thick and suited me.
I knew I couldn’t fly with them forever. That someday I’d craft new wings. What I didn’t know was that I’d watch my wings catch fire, free falling deeper into the ashes from which I built my first set of wings.
Then a man showed up. He mended my left wing with ribbon. My wing had been so tired from compensating—it was deteriorating. I’d been so focused on staying in the air and navigating that it was nice to have someone mend me.
But the help was a façade—he loosened the ribbon each time I didn’t acknowledge his gracious craftsmanship.
I spent the next six years in this flight pattern—at the mercy of a gentle breath blowing me any direction. I was more tired and lost than ever—until I decided I couldn’t fly anymore.
I quit. I crashed. I burned. I sought help.
I had PTSD and Complicated Grieving. The PTSD wasn’t from my dad’s suicide—it was from the mender of the left wing—my then husband. My diagnosis was the first hole punched in the black cloud I’d been carrying above my head.
I started rebuilding my wings, feather by delicate feather.
It took years. Years of parenting, undergraduate school and my second pregnancy, holding onto something I knew I didn’t want just so I could let go at the right time.
I placed the final feather in my new wings sometime in mid 2014. I tucked my new wings away, they intimidated me and they didn’t seem real. Who made this, me? When did I set aside time to do this and now what am I supposed to do about it?
Their strength couldn’t be suppressed by my disbelief and fear.
They grabbed my spirit and set it free. They spread out wider than before and they covered me in feathery fluff that made me bigger than I was.
That’s when he finally got it, he moved out, I was set free, I was alone. It was just me and my old friend—these wings were so old and so new that I was conflicted. Me? Free? To take flight once more?
Yes! Let’s f*cking go!
Then my champion showed up—a man unlike any I’d known before.
He jotted my name and number down on his rounding sheet at 3 a.m. after our tedious discussion about that damn optical illusion dress and after falling for each other for hours in the dawn of that day. Our first phone discussion was of a sour cream donut. He made my heart leap and soar. I loved him—but the love that exceeds movies and books and poetry.
It was a love that felt like I’d know him for 800 years—and he’s finally here. He’s here to break my heart into one million pieces because it’s his time again.
His lessons would be invaluable.
Soaring was something I hadn’t done in a long time.
All I’d known was caged attachment. Over time I trimmed back the edges, tucked in some loose feathers, and tightened the seams to hide the flaws in the winged princess he first fell for.
Me? Free? He didn’t know I wasn’t. I didn’t either.
I trimmed back so much that I found myself unable to fly again. I attached myself to the earth, when I knew I belonged in the clouds, dancing and laughing, advertising sour cream donuts. He felt how conflicted I was—he felt my unease with being a wounded bird—he gently and painfully set me free.
I didn’t have the same appeal anymore, he didn’t want this version of me. I didn’t either.
Now I’m pulling back out the imperfect seams and loosing those stray feathers, I might even accidentally get some glaze on the fluffy parts.
I’m free again and I’m never coming back down. People see me and sense that I can lift them up—it’s a disservice—weighing them down because I’m too afraid to love freely, feel freely, expose my soul freely.
The last loss was the worst, because he unknowingly set my heart free again, he wanted me to soar but I couldn’t. Though in another life or another time I always would for him, for another 800 years.
So I’ve lost them all—my dad, my husband and my transient soul mate.
I’m hovering now, at a comfortable height—just high enough to see, but not high enough to initiate my fear of heights.
I’m happy here. I’m scared as hell, but I’d rather fall again than do any more “adjustments” to what keeps me, me.
I’m free. Loving myself—loving my patchwork wings.
Author: Haley Amezcua
Apprentice Editor: Jennifer Guthrie/Editor: Ashleigh Hitchcock