Wings: The Perfect Accessory

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If you follow Live Art.fully on Facebook, you've no doubt noticed a theme over the last months.


What does it mean when I say Use Your Wings, Rest Your Wings, Put On Your Brave Wings?

A couple of months ago, I had a week where my sacroiliac joints (the joints that connect your pelvis to your spine) were really flaring. They were swollen, which made them feel as if they were trying to jut through my skin. The pain was impressive. It was a week of Keep Going, just like almost all weeks -- do the laundry, do the dishes, clean the house, vacuum the floors, drive daughter to dance, pick up daughter from dance, take other daughter to the library, get groceries, rinse and repeat. 

Sometime during that week I realized that it felt like giant metal wings were trying to grow out of my back. Perhaps that's graphic, but as a writer and as someone with chronic pain, it often helps me to put my pain into words. I find it helps separate the pain from my self, if that makes sense.

As you can imagine, having metal jut out of your body isn't a good feeling. I've had this description crop up even in my sleep. Once I was having severe chest pain in my sleep. I dreamed that I was in a lot of pain, lifted my shirt and there was a bunch of metal that had erupted through my chest. In the dream, I very calmly noted this wasn't good, went to a doctor, told them I had Ankylosing Spondylitis and showed them my metal/chest. Ha!

So back to the Giant Metal Wings week, I realized that if instead of thinking, "My back is in such pain!", I thought of the pain as Growing my Wings, I could handle it better.

I wrote a little poem that day which included a line that said "my back grew wings." It was a symbolic, positive way of expressing my pain without spelling out the horror.

Famous artist Frida Kahlo was severely injured in a trolley accident in college and spent the rest of her life battling severe pain. She's quoted as saying, "Feet, what do I need you for when I have wings to fly?"

That quote has become one of my favorites. When I'm having trouble with my mobility, I tuck that in my proverbial pocket and choose to "fly" for the day. It then doesn't matter if I'm in pain or if my feet aren't working properly or my hips or my knees, because I have wings. It's a mental game really; it's how I {Rise Above}. I find these mental games, and word phrases and images are a vital part of my pain toolkit. Maybe it's because I'm a writer and words hold such power for me, but I find that if I can just determine the right way of looking at things, I can soar.

Now when you see things in my art about flying, soaring, or wings, you'll know what it means. For me, more than anything, it's realizing the power of a positive attitude, and putting on that attitude like armor.

I may wear lounge clothes, a dress, or jeans, but I often add an invisible accessory, my wings!


  1. The metal wings trying to grow from your SI and the dream of metal from your chest wall had me thinking Frida Kahlo before you mentioned her. Mental games and attitude are so very important! I don't see how we could make it without them. I think it's powerful that the specific image of wings is so helpful to you since you have loved butterflies long before pain took over your life. Thank you for explaining this beautiful imagery. Love you!

  2. What a beautiful metaphor for some real and gutsy living! I will forever more have a visual of you with metal wings both helping you to fly and also continue to be the amazing mother and wife that you are! Blessings and love to you today!

  3. What a great way to look at things! Keep soaring, friend. You are doing a beautiful job! And you are encouraging others along the way.

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