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By: Clementine Xane

My short story portrays my journey of living with PTSD. Various stages in the arduous journey highlight specific emotions in the healing process. It is intended for the viewers to experience time passage after each section. I chose the idea of transformation for my story because change allows growth, and growth gives new life. Butterflies inspire me because they evolve so much that they transmute their form, similar to how mental health recovery methods can transmute a fixed mindset.

2nd Place · Adult Writing (2023)

XXXXXi. I’m in my chrysalis.

A perfect blanket of isolation wraps me whole. The world passed me by again, and I’m okay with that.

Sometimes I’m a spectator in my own life. There are glimpses of what it could’ve been. There is an understated presence in the smallest of details. Lately, I haven’t been able to vocalize the importance of them, though. There’s a lump in the back of my throat.

Something about connection used to get to me. I used to like it when strangers shared practiced smiles with me in the grocery store. I prefer the absence of people now. I’ve changed since then in a lot of ways.

XXXXXii.  Right now, I’m in my chrysalis.

I wasn’t like this before. Someone clipped my wings. My therapist said that I have PTSD. “Sometimes, good people go through bad things.” I guess butterflies sometimes lose their wings. Sometimes, it just envelopes me. Sometimes, I have better days. I can tell when I’m making progress. Everything becomes a little less blurred.

XXXXXiii. I’ve got growing pains.

Two steps forward, one step back. I’m starting my new life. I can move on. I have to cut out old ends. Repeat. I’ve started going out again. I’m opening up. It hurts. Repeat. I’ve shed my skin more times than I can count.

XXXXXiv. Something is emerging, though.


Maybe I never had ruined wings in the first place. And maybe, I’m meant to be this person right here, right now, and it was going to be okay all along. I think I’m ready to come out of my shell. My edges unfurl. Today’s the perfect day to soar. It took so much time to get to this point. I’m a bit of a late bloomer. Better late than never.

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