Rising From the Ashes and Flying With Broken Wings

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by Halsey Blocher |

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In recent years, Disney has started a new trend of turning its classic animated movies into live-action remakes. In 2019, it released a reimagined “Aladdin.” Much of the story stays true to the original film from 1992, and any differences that do occur only serve to make the movie stand out as its own masterpiece.

One notable difference is the addition of a new musical number called “Speechless” for Princess Jasmine. This song takes place when Jasmine decides to stand up to the evil Jafar and asks the leader of the palace guard to choose honor over duty. It’s during this song and the following demonstration of courage that we see the immense strength, wisdom, and love that Jasmine possesses. This is the moment when I think her character shines the brightest.

Every time I hear this song, a particular set of lyrics stands out to me. “I will take these broken wings/ And watch me burn across the sky.”

Jasmine is comparing herself to a bird whose wings have been broken, but her use of the word “burn” leads me to believe she’s not referring to just any ordinary bird. She seems to be talking about the mythical phoenix, a legendary creature known for burning to death and being reborn out of its own ashes.

This flaming bird is often indicative of growing stronger and more resilient, and being refined by adversity. The comeback story of the phoenix is well loved, and it has become a popular symbol that many people relate to. In fact, Friedreich’s Ataxia News columnist Matthew Lafleur also wrote about the phoenix in one of his recent columns.

Like many others, I can also draw parallels between my own life and that of the majestic phoenix. Metaphorical fires have popped up throughout my life and attempted to burn me to a crisp. A grim prognosis threatened to cut my life extremely short. A potential treatment option shattered before my eyes. My body has fought serious illnesses that have left my skin feeling as though it were literally on fire.

Yet, despite all of that and more, I continue to rise from the flames and ashes, even if my fiery wings have been a bit battered. I’ve undoubtedly endured many difficult experiences, but I have found strength, hope, and courage in each one.

I have beaten the odds of that prognosis by 20 years and counting. I was later able to receive a different SMA treatment. I’ve won the battles against each illness that has tried to invade my body.

I haven’t found a genie in a magic lamp to wish away the obstacles in my life, but it turns out that I don’t actually need one. (Although, there are certainly times when I wouldn’t mind having one.) Instead, I have faith, perseverance, and the support of others to help me when my wings are weary. Like a mighty phoenix, I will always fly again.

There will likely be times in your own life when your wings feel broken or everything around you seems to be on fire. I know it can be hard, but don’t give up. Keep fighting. Keep flying. Whatever you’re facing today, I believe you can rise from the ashes.


Note: SMA News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of SMA News Today, or its parent company, BioNews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to spinal muscular atrophy.

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