" Lupus Erythematosus (LE)—'lupus characterized by redness'—began to be used to diffrenciate this non-contagious entity from other disorders frequently affecting facial skin, and a salient characteristic of the lupus rash was noted: a "butterfly" configuration, arching over the bridge of the nose and winging outward and downward over the cheeks on either side."

--Sheldon Paul Blau, Lupus, the Body Against Itself


I was a butterfly; that's what I used to think. I kept cold words and harsh, sterile clinics far away from my fragile body of hope. And because I was a butterfly, I felt no fear from the garish world around me. I was innocence; I was beauty.

The wind couldn't blow me off course. The frosts couldn't chill my wings.

The rash wasn't as prominent at first, a pale spread of rose across my cheeks.

It worsened.

Within weeks, the mark had reddened into an angry claret; the enfuriated thrashing of a newly metamorphosed creature beating numb appendages against the walls of a glass jar. I felt like an experiment. As though nature had one day decided that it would find out what might occur under said scenario.

I didn't care to memorize the lengthy, scientific words describing what was wrong with me. Their 'butterfly configuration' was my proof of being a butterfly. Their 'disease' was my life.

I had a pretend world. There, I could be graceful, despite my usual clumsiness outside the boundaries of my imagination. There I could be gorgeous; the rash on my face a brilliantly pale alabastor in the shape of a majestic creature.

I was twelve when the world came collapsing down into its own frail rubble. I was made to stop believing in what I willed. I was a 'young adult', and the doctors felt that pretense was not becoming of a young lady.

I fought it; I battled the idea with every breath in my being. But it is known that butterflies have little breath, and little chance against the rough-handed ways of the world. I withered, and I browned, and I became little more than an image placed above the true scenery. I became camouflaged with my brittleness and my doubt.

So I grew up. I came to learn that I have no wings. I have no grace. And which is worse, I cannot say, but I am no butterfly, and I thereby have fear.

The earth can have love for a butterfly, but it can spare no affection for a moth.