Werewolves and Wanting to Change

An editor for Cream Scene – Maggie Conlee – reveals (and explains) her love of werewolves.

Art & Writing by Maggie Conlee

Werewolves and Wanting to Change

In my small bathroom, I am in the fetal position on the cold tile floor. My entire body feels alien to me. I look at my hand and clench it and close it, remembering a poem by Naomi Shihab Nye where her mother tells her that you know you’re dying when you can no longer make a fist.

Having a human body is weird and, after a little over two decades of having one, I haven’t quite gotten used to it yet. In an attempt to cope with the strangeness, I’ve always been heavily invested in werewolves. To be a werewolf is to transform the body in which you normally reside. The human body that you’ve inhabited for your whole life holds on to so much for so long and sometimes all you want is to just start afresh.

Imagine a naked body hunched over and pulsating with change, like if you could see the beating of the heart inside your chest. The little nubs of the spine are almost poking through the skin of the back. The transformation looks painful, but underneath your fear you’re a little jealous because it looks incredibly cathartic. This body produces a guttural scream as it falls to its knees. Bones crack and break themselves as they rearrange to fit something new.

One of my personal favorite werewolf movies is Ginger Snaps, where a teenage girl obsessed with macabre starts begins her transformation into a werewolf along with her period. I watched this movie for the first time in my prepubescent years. I never got “the talk” about how the blood would be flowing and the hair would be growing. My scope was limited to a book about puberty that my dad bought me from a yard sale and this illegally-dowloaded werewolf movie where a girl turns into an unrecognizable beast. Excited with the anticipation, I went out some nights to howl at the moon.

It hurts to change.

I am a child standing in a dressing room with a too-tight, hot-pink shirt exposing my belly. It feels like my stomach is being squeezed out by the scalloped hem of the cotton that I dedicated all of my hopes and dreams to fitting in. My face is becoming hot and red with tears streaming down. The clothes are getting tighter and tighter as my body seems to grow larger and larger. The threads tourniqueting my growing body become too overwhelming and I start thrashing around like a wild animal in any attempt to get it off.

My fascination with shapeshifters began at a very young age. I was keenly aware that I was fat starting from the moment I realized I had a body. When I was ten, my older sister got me my very own laptop (a mistake) for Christmas and I was able to illegally watch every werewolf movie available online. I became enamored with the idea that one could undergo this cathartic transformation and release the beast within. It amazed me that a body could change so much.

Every time I clench my fist, I am reminded of how fragile and resilient the human body can be. My body is fat and weird and beautiful and sometimes feels like it’s been struck by lightning. It changes every day. Our cells regenerate and our hair is always growing.

We are all werewolves undergoing a slow, but still slightly painful development. Even though I don’t crave the moonlit transformation so much anymore I still take every opportunity to howl at the moon.

About the Author

Maggie Conlee is an editor and staff writer for Cream Scene Carnival. She enjoys arts and crafts, werewolves, and staring at the wall until the next vision comes. She loves writing any genre, but has a particular affinity for anything weird. 

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