Her cape came off along with her breasts, well actually it was her breasts first, then the cape, but she didn’t know this until after. In fact she didn’t even realize she was wearing a perpetual cape all that time until her upper body came off in that swoosh of surgery marked up with black marker like a Singer sewing pattern in her family’s old textile mill.
There was no warning that the cape she didn’t know she had been relying on would disappear too. She didn’t know this was part of the surgical plan, no one had told her that part until after she awoke from the sleepy haze of too many greedy pushes of the morphine button.
When she did finally awaken though she could feel a shift, a metamorphosis actually. There she stood, shimmery hair blowing in the imaginary wind, feet planted as firmly as a New England oak, thigh muscles contracted ready for battle, arms by her sides. There was no battle, only the battle cry of the war that had come and gone with her life before—her life before the one with her trusty cape always on her back that gave her the false protection she thought she needed.
Rooted, solid, naked -she after two years, three surgeries and major parts of her body removed, there was immense power in the realization that she had kept her superpowers and even that those powers had strengthened was cause for complete celebration. There are major parts of a body you don’t need, those parts can come off and go through the petri dish to be analyzed and poked at, then discarded.
Turns out capes, especially the shiny red satin glimmer ones, have their way of disguising what lies beneath, creating that shell of illusion that the exterior is the abominable strength, the façade that people- both heroines and villains see with their supposed x ray eyes. But they never really know the core beneath the magic flying swirling cape. The core of vulnerability and humility where truth and light really lie. There was a great rawness in the stripping, the unbaring of the literal upper body that shines the flashlight in the dark crevices and fissures where the dirt once lay.
Exposure is interesting, liberating almost. The year of no cape was where her power recharged, like her pal superman getting taken down by a speck of kryptonite, except he needed lots of external help to strengthen, she was taken down so she could rise again with her own volcanic eruption.
And rise again is exactly what she has been doing, rising, blooming, from the volcanic ash of being torn down, the hint of the first green sprout among the barren land began as soon as she could stand again, as soon as the drains that weighed her down came off, as soon as the plastic tubing disconnected from her skin, she broke free from the harness that wouldn’t allow her out until she was good and ready. Being stuck, and brought to a prone position was where the start of her life began again though. She realized she didn’t need a cape, the bold brightness that had become her was one in the same.
She was her own cape now. No more sparkly sequined bedazzled fabric claiming magic when all along the magic was her. She finally asked the most obvious question in the room no longer considering that this exterior was what people wanted to see whether she wanted them to see it or they wanted to see it with their own way of looking, what did she want to see? She was the one who needed saving this time. And she dove into the old cold salty sea to reclaim that which was lost because she had been lost under the cape and never knew this all of this time.
Her superpowers came from the blatant awareness that she got to live, that she would have two new round silicone warrior shields always with her protecting her front from the harm that comes when too many people want a piece. Her coat of arms was a double shield of breasts, tall straight out, like her friend Wonder Woman, but without the points outward. No offense to her friend, but she didn’t need an invisible plane or sparkly gold bangles, she didn’t need a dramatic spin or a starred crown in the center of the front of her head, she didn’t need anything exterior anymore to show her strength or purpose to the world. Rather than the outside in, this new found power was hers from the inside out.
No one needed to see the cape, the cape was folded and placed in the attic trunk for her future granddaughter to play with one day. The magic of its secrets tucked neatly away for later discoveries by the next generation who she hoped she could teach that capes are only necessary as a guide not a buoy or a life raft. Losing breasts and gaining new ones made her a warrior and there was no turning back now. Who she wanted to be was who she is, emboldened with the gift of mortality in question, the cape would always be there for her to play with and look at, maybe to even play dress up with, but that is all it would be for in this next part of her life. So she got into her new bat mobile and drove off to the beat of the sound system that only a bad ass car with a black shiny armor and tinted windows can make. She knew who was driving now.