Looking in the mirror, I thumb the braille of my history, sliding fingers over the raised narrative I had no part in writing.

Every day I see her handiwork and every day I painstakingly cover it to camouflage, just so people will look me in the eye and not there or awkwardly away. I don’t want them staring at the cover of the trilogy she wrote on me just in case I see a hint of truth in what she told to me.

I have torn out the pages of her diatribe of lies, erased the filthy archives that spelled out broken lives and wrote myself a masterpiece of triumphant recreation complete with colourful characters, spills and thrills, and endless adventures.

My ability to do that, paint beauty to my pain, saves me from living in her library of narcissistic rage. I am neither her victim nor her survivor but rather a creation of my own making, crafted from the pieces of who I was before her hate broke me.

Yet, in spite of inner recreation, I cannot change the cover, can’t eliminate that wrap. I can only hope I’m brave enough to own it as my own, changing it from my hidden fear to wear it as my crown. I ache to feel the sunshine kiss the fullness of my face and whilst I cover that stain I’m also covering my magnificent truth and affording her a part of me to own in shame.


I’m prying it from her knuckled grasp, today I’m taking back what was never hers to hold, that thing she stole from me when I was just two years old.

This is my forehead. These are some of my scars. I am not ashamed.

real me scars (2)

31 thoughts on “Monstrosity

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  1. Your scars are an altogether beautiful part of who you are. I cannot tell you what to feel and not to feel. Those decisions are your own and are hard won. All I can tell you is that I love you exactly as you are (in the most plutonic and respectful way), and others do as well. I see writing as a reflection of self, perhaps a more pure representation of the entity that resides so close to the surface of these ragged for but yet so utterly distant our presence as such. And you writing reveals to me a being that shines through all the dust and debris of all this physical noise, a being of immense value and potent substance.

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  2. This is an excellently written piece, Maggie. It is amazing how adept we become at hiding parts of ourselves, sometimes even to ourselves (clumsy sentence, sorry!). I like how this hints at far more than the physical, and it is important, I feel, that we remain close to our darkness as it fuels who we are. Well crafted.

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  3. I was severely physically abused by my father growing up, and my earliest memory is something vicious he did to me and my mother when I was five years old. This piece hit hard, and I’m glad you wrote about it because we’ll always wear either physical or psychological scars. I guess that’s where art helps us. I find myself getting angry often, and I did rebel against my father when I was seventeen, and today I struggle with BPAD and OCD, and problems with alcohol, but I’ve vowed to never be the man my father was. Thank you for this Maggie. Thank you.

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    1. The young who are peeled early and often either stay raw (like us) or their skin forms calluses – have you ever noticed that the places you have calluses aren’t as sensitive as others? I wouldn’t want to lose my ability to feel so acutely.
      My art affords me the freedom to rage or shatter at will. This allows me a modicum of control in real life. Mind you, I medicate with isolation. It has a bitter after taste though.

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      1. You’re right. I wouldn’t want to lose my ability to feel either. I use my art like you to both construct and destroy, and my art gives me the freedom to write everything out, which brings me catharsis. But I’m working on constructing more than taking my frustrations out. I’m also working on being a better person in real life, and I’ve made progress although it has taken me years. I also choose solitude, but like you said, it does have a bitter aftertaste – especially in the long run. I’m just thankful for the few people in both my life and in my profession who understand where I’m coming from, and care about me.

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  4. This is hauntingly beautiful, the essence of triumph …and it broke my heart. Your resilience and strength are palpable, your writing, powerful. Thank you for having the courage to share your story and offer hope to those of us who have been forever branded, but not defeated, by the scars of our past.

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  5. This is extraordinary in its complexity and truth. It is pain and strength, falling and learning to rise, refusing to hide or run. It is what beauty truly is. It is unbelievably powerful and written exquisitely.

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