I never believed the stories. The more pieces of yourself you embrace, the stronger you become: that’s what they promised. Like a full belly at mid-winter, I thought it was a tradition more full of wishes than reality. Then I gained my 8th splinter. My senses came alive in a way they never had before, extending out from my skin and connecting me with the world. Brighter, sharper, warmer. I am more myself and also a part of everything around me. And there is more, so much more to come.