Trigger Warning: self-harm
This fiction piece is a metaphorical short story about generational trauma and how internal wounds are just as painful as physical wounds. The message leaves the reader with a lasting impact through gruesome detailing of the narrator’s depiction of depression within her family and how it has affected her.
“Where We Store Our Flesh,” is an unsettling piece due to the gory detailing, however, that unique detailing is what pulls the reader in. For example “If I’m being completely honest, it was embarrassing to have a skeleton for a mother. No matter how she dressed herself up, or how wide she smiled, it was painfully obvious. Our mother was dead and everyone could tell.” Her mother is literally dead but her mental state has so clearly deteriorated in the author’s eyes that her mother might as well be a skeleton. Another example is, “None of us talked about our mother’s missing skin, not even dad. We let her go on cooking dinner, washing dishes, doing laundry, as if she wasn’t deteriorating right in front of us.” Here is when the image of her mother pulling herself apart links back to her depiction of depression. We again notice that bad mental health is ignored in this family. If it’s not spoken about, then it isn’t happening. By seeing her mother harm herself, she eventually got curious. The speaker states, “There was a brief period of time, when I sought the peeler from where it rested in the drawer of our kitchen.” The peeler is a symbolism of self harm which contributes greatly to the metaphor of generational trauma.
While this short story is filled with many details that are frightening, the metaphor of how depression appeared to the narrator and the effects it had on her and her sister– is beautifully written. We follow the narrator and her thoughts throughout her dealing with her mother’s depression which makes the piece emotional.
Trinity Matias, lead Creative Nonfiction editor
Read this piece in Issue 7 of Levitate Magazine!