Stale champagne

30 05 2016

On the occasion that you find yourself in a mostly packed and emptied house with nearly all of your possessions sitting in a parked u-haul van while your (ex?)(current?)(significant other)boyfriend? (former[or current] Partner) is away working over time trying to finish up a project because his boss’s brother in-law just OD’d on heroin and died. And his boss’s debut solo show is happening in four days with at least a week’s worth of work to do and so said former or current boyfriend is going to work through the night to dutifully figure out how to mount/frame the photos of the aforementioned boss in the complicated way that even the incompetent yet some how talented boss doesn’t know how to do. ON this occasion, where not knowing the actual state of the three and a half year relationship, that you did not realize had meant as much to you as you thought. Or perhaps that good ol’ patriarchal Christian monogamy still some how haunts you more than you realize. It is on this occasion that drinking the stale champagne that was meant for celebration mimosas, which ended up being merely sad lonely mimosa that you didn’t even finish because you have shown a recent self harming impulse when drinking too much.

This occasion in which you find yourself, baby-sitting the beloved elderly dog of said former or current boyfriend in the mostly empty house surrounded by said former or current boyfriend’s things, because you both deeply love the elderly dog, and some how are still not quite ready to face what your life has become. Sure you finished graduated school, and yes that is awesome. But when you have a meager amount of sanity left, and the relationship that now you realize you are willing to work on is probably ending, but definitely feels like limbo. And you’re having to strongly consider going into some kind of intensive therapy program, oh and you’re broke, while so many around you seem to have their dreams being come true….

It is this occasion in which drinking that stale celebration champagne is acceptable. Check your bank account and order some fucking indian food for yourself and try to not be so fucking sad. Salty stale champagne is just too pathetic, even for you.





Divorced vs. Temporarily Married

2 01 2013

I visited my family and my home town for the christmas holiday. And have many moments with my family that made me feel less than good, one of the ones that has been mulling over in my mind is my father’s new phrase he likes to use instead of divorced.

“My daughter was temporarily married, that’s what I’ve decided to say instead of divorced because it really wasn’t that long”

But here’s the thing. That phrase is shaming.

When he first said that he thought it would better to say temporarily married instead of divorced I laughed slightly uncomfortable but unsure why I was so uncomfortable exactly. But I listened to that discomfort and learned, just why I would much rather identify as a divorcee than some one who was once temporarily married.

Marriage is about union, partnership, maybe even love and friendship, but is is a union, a linking, and in my case-bondage.

I do not wish to identify with the part of myself that was in that bondage. I am proud of my divorce. Yes, it was painful, but it was a worthy struggle through a much of shit that gave me freedom.

I divorced myself from abuse, my mocker, bully, and rapist.I divorced myself from wanting to die and take my own life before becoming a divorcee or life with out my ex-husband.
I divorced myself from a way of thinking that with out a man I wasn’t really a woman.
I divorced myself from fear of a day that words would come to blows-that tears would flow with fists.
I divorced myself from a slave driver who identified me as, bitch, whore, and cunt.

I saved myself through divorce. I separated myself from those identifiers, and to re-identify with a union to my rapist, is putting me in a state of eternal victimhood. I would never have become a survivor if not for my divorce. I would never had been free if not for my divorce.

I’m proud to be a divorcee.





Embodiment and leaving the house

20 11 2012

I finally figured out what it is I’m trying to talk about with my art. I’m trying to deal with the fact that I forever have to live in the setting, the vessel of which my most horrible memories took place.

As a rape survivor, I can’t leave this body. Unless I disassociate. But disassociating also is part of the reason I was raped in the second case. The defense mechanism, became the downfall. It happens all the time in nature. The creature freezes in order to not be seen, unaware that the predator is already engaged. Anyway, even if disassociating hadn’t betrayed me, its no way to go about living.

I’ve decided to undergo some other types of therapy, to see if I can perhaps recover the thing that first taught me to disassociate. So that I can finally deal with it, and really learn how to help that part of myself, best. EMDR and Hypnosis, or one or the other, or together, I dunno, but I’m going to find out about them, soon. I have my first appointment with this woman Tuesday. Its cool, she’s smart, she was one of the leaders of the group that I did last spring and summer.

She was also the first person to use the word abuse, when I described my father. Actually I guess she was the second. The first was the towering and broad shouldered co-worker of my father I was sent to talk to, instead of going to a real psychologist. She had this list, of red flags, signs that you were in an unhealthy relationship. A lot of those things on that list described things my dad did. I think all of them were verbal, certainly most.  But now that I think of it I don’t think she did use that word, abuse. Just “unhealthy relationship”

Maybe she can hypnotize me into thinking that leaving the house on my days off in order to do things like, attend a meeting with my psychiatrist, do laundry, or go grocery shopping isn’t so scary.

So with these two new therapies, I hope that I can better learn how to deal with being within my body, and present. I read some things in that masturbation was supposed to help survivors be more comfortable with their bodies. I don’t think that I have a problem being in my body and feeling the pleasure that comes with masturbation, or sex, I think I have a problem being in my body when it comes to feeling the emotions I am or am not having with sex.

Sex, emotions, and relationships are all very different things to me, that possibly have a kind of ven diagram thing happening, but emotion is barely in either of the two, especially when sex enters into the relationship. It seems that the more sexual I am with a person, the further I want to pull away from them emotionally. Until recently. There was one person who was able to break that cycle of mine, and now I realize the benefit of not being so detached.

Anyway I think I was going to mostly write about my art practice…

I think that my work fluctuates between the state of disassociating, victim, survivor, and aggressor. In some works, only one state is showcased or portratited if you will., in others they are battling, in this confused and violated rawness. The strange thing was when I was doing my work last semester, the phrase that has stuck out in my head the most, is “Your anger, is clear.” I thought the work had moved greatly beyond just anger. I don’t know if that’s true.  The gender reduction monsters are my way of talking about society’s way of making rape jokes, and pointing out how narrow definitions, or stereotypes, castrate, and dehumanize people. But they also point out the absurdity and ridiculous nature of this entire political conversation of redefining rape. The fact that, that is even an option, to qualify rape, as legitimate, or forceful, is unfathomable.  The only thing that is worse is if they were to demand the rapist marry the victim/survivor, that and actually stoning the victim.  By turning women and men into these monsters I hope I have created a kind of comedic relief in talking about something that’s horrible and doesn’t make any sense.

By using the skins, or carcass paintings, I hope that I understand my victimized state. By turning myself into a gender reduction monster I hope that I have a better understanding of what I see the male gaze as. Maybe the carcass paintings are the skins of the gender reduction monsters, maybe by merging myself with them, or falling into them, or embracing them, I am reaching out to the victim, the disassociating self, and trying to hold on to it and comfort it, expressing the fluid nature of victim/survivor identity. By tearing paper, and collaging with it, and then white washing it, to me it reminds me of what happened when I told my mother and father. That hazy memory, but more how they look at me so different now but never really talk about why.  How my father doesn’t really look me in the eye anymore.

But the general distress and labor that goes into each work, is as Merleau-Ponty puts it, a birth. And the result is a body, each work is its own body, and its own kind of expression of self, of myself.  Pointing back at me, looking at me, calling out wanting… to be healed, to be whole, to be human again. Embodiment or at least the struggle with it, is a human one. And rape is the ultimate dehumanization. For what is a human with out a body?  And how do I live in and love that body after what happened inside? That is the question that I am looking at, and since I’m a painter, that’s the kind of things I make.

I think I may have just stumbled upon about a half way done artist statement there. Awesome.

 





No More Apologies.

2 11 2012

You know what I’m tired of? I’m tired of looking to other people to tell me things about myself.

I’m tired of looking outward and hoping to find “the right way” to look in. And I’m sure as fuck tired of explaining and apologizing for being who I am.

Because you know what? I’m amazing. I am. If I look at my life and stop and think about what it is that I HAVE done, what it is that I’m working on, and where I’ve been, I’m glad I’m alive.  And I’m tired of being afraid of being myself.

I’m pushy, nosey, borderline know it all, who’s smart, and funny (mostly unintentionally), who can laugh at herself,  can discuss the beauty of language, art, music, and has ideas that don’t stop coming. And I’m a painter. Its taken me a while to really and truly admit and identify myself as a painter, but you know what? I’m a goddamned painter, and I need to get to it. Because the biggest obstacle has been myself, and fighting to be something that I’m not, because I was too boughed down with what I saw as a limiting thing.

When in reality what I painter does and is, is vast. Maybe I don’t always take brush to my paint, and then to canvas, maybe I do weld, and make paper, sculpture, video, and a photo here and there, but goddamnit, its all painting to me.

Maybe I have a fragile, and sometimes raw emotional state. Maybe I’m impulsive, and don’t always think things through, maybe some times all I want to do is hurt myself. Maybe I’m sloppy, and could have better hygiene  maybe I drink too much, and am a bad vegetarian and crave lamb and sausage and make myself sick sometimes, because I want a giant meat load in my mouth and I don’t care about the way my body will reject it in 20 minutes. Maybe I’m not very good with money. Maybe I’m claustrophobic, and people stress me out. Maybe I’m not very good at being a daughter or a sister.

Maybe I’m too sexual. Maybe I like sex too much. Maybe I’m not as wise as some people think. Maybe I have trouble recognizing myself in the mirror.

But I’m intuitive, brave, creative, and free.

And I will not apologize. ANY. MORE.

I do not have to defend, explain, and nor do I owe you anything. I am not an object, I am not yours to touch, follow, or have in any way.

I will never give you my heart and I won’t ask for yours, because I think my heart belongs to me and yours belongs to yours. I do not believe in a savior, outside of myself. It is me that will pull myself out of the mire, and I am done, done, DONE, I tell you with being fixed.

I’m. NOT. BROKEN. 

That being said, I do have a lot to process, because lets face the facts dear, which are:

In the last five years of my life I Have:

1. Married my high school sweetheart when I was going to be a junior in college, he a sophomore, we were virgins

2. relationship became abusive

3. Went from considering doing mission work, believing in spiritual warfare, to not believing in God at all and questioning whether or not it was ethical to even be studying theology.

4. Won some big award, for the small town I was in, for a painting.

5. First solo show

6. Went to Italy

7. Separation from emotionally abusive husband, sparked by being raped by said husband for three days(and blacked it all out forgetting/burying it and not dealing)

8. Divorced

9. Graduated two weeks later with a BA in theology

10. Stranger Raped, but didn’t understand (see number seven)

11. Beloved father like mentor dies suddenly, (barely deals with death)

12. Graduated with BFA in painting and drawing

13. Have a major PTSD episode “psychotic break” end up in hospital, after a month of suddenly remembering rapes. Given lots of psyche meds that make everything like tar.

14. Finally start coping with the shit that happened. Have to change phone number and delete beloved email account/blog because fear of being stalked by rapist ex husband

15. Live out of my car, essentially for six months

16. Crash said car

17. End up living with painting professor

18. MOVE TO BOSTON!

19. Got a bike

20. Find good counselors

21. Complete a rigorous nonsensical program

22. Got hit by a motorcycle, concussed

23. Got the brief shit kicked out of me by love

24. Kept biking, swimming, and being active, learning my body’s capabilities.

25. Finally learning to love myself. For Who I AM, not what other people say I am.

 

That my friends, is a lot to process. In fact, its kinda exhausting.  But “the worst things in the world” have happened, and I’ve come through. Not unscathed, no I have scars, but I’m here. I’m a survivor. And I’m learning how to live.  And learning that I am beautiful.

 

Special thanks to a few inspiring folks.

http://pervocracy.blogspot.com/2012/09/the-worst-thing-in-world.html

and

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6osiBvQ-RRg

 

 





Gross feelings.

21 10 2012

I talked to the ada… and its him.Its Him and I see his face when I close my eyes, and then I try to think about AB instead, and I realize that I love and miss him.

Maybe more than I realized.

I look at myself in the mirror and barely recognize the aged creature before me. I have aged at least 5 years and probably more within a week.  This whole news has obviously consumed me more than I was willing to admit.

I don’t know how to do this. I feel alone and powerless against my raging subconscious.

All I really want is a hug. From AB specifically. But from any safe person would be nice really.

I really don’t want this to rule my life, but right now I’m so raw and torn up inside….I don’t know if I have the capacity to focus and  just go on, just yet.

But that’s exactly all I want to do; go on with my life. In both instances.

I don’t want to be bothered by the shitbag that raped me two years ago.

And I really don’t want to be in love with AB anymore. And I keep thinking that I’m like sooo totally over that, but that just isn’t the case.

I spent so much time confiding in him now I feel as though I have no one. Here. In Boston.

But I also confided in C I could turn to her. I could turn to her and seek her out. But Isn’t it too much for one person? I Just want to be safe and hugged.





Closure?

15 10 2012

***TRIGGER WARNING***

 

I got some weird news on Friday. It’s not really bad news, but just triggering. My best friend found an article about a French African native that was convicted of raping and stalking women from 2007-2010. The article had a photo. She had no idea that I was actually on my way out of work to head to my counselor, but I’m very glad that I was. As I rode over, I tried to remain as calm as possible, but my breathing was heavy, and I’m unsure how fast I was pedaling  and I know I did some maneuvers that weren’t that wise.  By the time I got down to meet my counselor I could barely breathe, let alone talk, but after taking off all my outer layers I was able to tell him what was going on.

I told him I had to know, that there was a photo in the article, and I needed to know. It was him.  I dropped my phone, and I knew it was him. I became 80% sure it was him. The stranger that raped me in June 2010. The one that I didn’t understand, the one where I started disassociating before it even was happening. As soon as he touched me, taking my hand, I started to fade, and become a shell.

I completely lost it for a few minutes. I felt as though it was happening all over only this time I knew what was going on and I didn’t see the mountain top. I didn’t know what to do but my therapist was able to remind me that I was safe, that it wasn’t happening now.  He was able to help me calm down, and call a friend to meet me after counseling.

He’s in prison. For twenty years. 19 now. But I’m not going to count that down. I’ve read several articles about the whole thing, and I’m now 90-95% sure that it is him. Nothing mentioned how tall he is. That’s the only detail that I feel like I need to really confirm it with myself. I know that there’s no tacking on to his sentence. But I recognize the shape of his mouth, the shape of his head, and he made this one face, when some one was talking during the world cup. The things that he said in the article, and the description of the actions. If its not him, there is a strong uncanny resemblance. I don’t know what this means for me. I don’t really know if this will bring closure really. My dad said that I should celebrate. But so far its just made everything present again.

To me this just tells me even more, that you don’t really get over being raped, you just learn how to carry it, and eventually the strength you gain makes it seem small and far away. One day I will be able to carry this again in such a way that it won’t be so painful.

“We must imagine Sisyphus, happy.”

I’ve contacted two reporters, the associated press, and the NYC DA office, I’m trying not to obsess, but I feel like if I know either way then I’ll be able to go on and bo back to not being a raw ptsd nerve.

I have work today so that will help. I wish I could listen to music in my head phones at work, I feel like I’m going to be hearing his voice all day with out that. I haven’t started with the nightmares or hallucinations, so I’m not going to worry too much.

I’m just going to listen to some angry/sad girl music, and I’ll be okay. I’ll probably watch Pride and Prejudice a million times, too.





Say what you mean and mean what you say. Please.

3 10 2012

Dear any one who has ever said, “I love you” to some one who wasn’t a family member.

Mean it.

Dear any one who has ever said, “I love you.” to some one who you were having sex with on a regular basis, called your companion and stared at with stupid stars in your eyes.

Mean it in the way you know it has been interpreted.

Dear any one who has ever had the words, “I love you” or “I’m so in love with you.” said to them by a person who has horrible trust issues and who has told you repeatedly how hard it is for them to even accept that they have these feelings because in the past they have betrayed them so terribly.

Please don’t then tell that person after months of returning the “I love you” and even spontaneously saying it yourself; that “I do have love for you, but I’m not in love with you.” and that you aren’t sure if you ever were because you suppressed those emotions.

If you suppressed those emotions, why did you say words that you did not mean?

Also please don’t repeatedly say that you are interested in some one for more than their body and then get incredibly frustrated when that person admits to being afraid that their sex drive has plummeted and doesn’t know why.  Please don’t take it personally, when that person doesn’t want to be touched because for whatever godforsaken unwanted reason the anniversary of horrible events haunt them physically.

Also please don’t say that you want more from a person than sex, and then when things get too busy for sex, stop talking to them for a week and then break up with them.

Also if you really feel that way, don’t let that person come over the day before you break up with them arriving in a corset, and proceed to give you a blow job, no matter how much you want it. It’s unfair to them. And a little objectifying.