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.





Why I need Intersectional Feminism

20 11 2013

In the past few months I have been standing up for myself and what I believe. Calling people on their shit, so to speak. Namely people I interact with, online, and in life. First it was my father. Some coworkers, an old prof, and my boss.

My coworkers I just say my peace and it’s usually a short conversation where little is said beyond and little or no feather’s are really ruffled. The long email’s between my dad and old prof, have been tasking. When I confronted my boss I almost quit my job.

I need feminism because my boss doesn’t’ understand the difference between innuendo and making a rape joke. He is unwilling to admit that the sexual humor that is common in the kitchen is capable of going too far, and that making a joke about raping one of his employee’s with one of the managers is not okay. And then he proceeded to tell me that I might want to find a new job, because this may not be the best fit, because these kinds of jokes would continue and I wasn’t going to tell him otherwise. I need feminism, because I’m tired of being called a prude, or humorless after standing up and saying that rape jokes aren’t okay. Or any misogynistic jokes for that matter.

I need feminism because when I use the term rape culture my professor automatically makes claims about how this day and age is probably one of the best times for women, and one of the best countries for women. And even if that were true, which I’m not entirely sure that it is. Why stop, because things are better than elsewhere? How is that even an argument? Also just within the last year the way in which men have policed women’s bodies, and the number of times that our media and culture have promoted rape, blamed victims for ruining the lives of rapists, is extremely alarming. And while he complains that it is important to acknowledge and talk about false accusations being a real thing, as if it was the most important issue and something that happens more than rape. If false accusations were over ten percent of reported sexual assaults, then maybe. MAYBE it would be an extremely important aspect considering this day and age. But considering that false accusations are also frequently lumped in with unfounded cases I.E. cases where there isn’t enough proof to prosecute….well perhaps what is actually a false accusation should be tightly guarded, more so than having rape needed to be continuously qualified.
What it boils down to is he is equating the societal problem of false accusations with the societal problem with actual rape. They are not the same. The weight is very, very different, and the scale is tilted very much towards the amount of rape that happens.

Rape needs no qualifiers. Rape is rape. If no consent is given, then it’s rape. Grey rape, forcible rape, pedophilia, date rape. It’s rape. It’s a dehumanizing, violating, tortuous, traumatic, sexual action taken against some one that drastically alter’s that person’s life. And for my prof to call rape a hobby horse, is disgusting. Robin Thicke’s (I acknowledge that this is not the only dangerous song out there, or terrible pop song, and possibly not even the worst however, it’s popularity is alarming) case in point of rape culture. The fucking song was #1 on the billboards for something like ten weeks this summer, and is still being played on the radio. And yes, people still listen to the radio. With in the last year, alone it seems that more and more rape is becoming a group activity. (Stubenville, Hallifax,Maryville) This song and many others, as well as political figure’s comments, and comedian’s behavior point to a popular culture, a society that does not understand what rape is.  That’s why these qualifiers have been popping up rapidly.

Perhaps there is some understanding forming, since the FBI finally updated their official definition of rape, since 1927. Perhaps URC stats will be more accurate, eventually but until society and culture, come to really understand what rape is, I doubt it.  I mean, it took me a year and a half to understand what happened between me and my ex. Six months for me to understand what happened with the stranger. It has taken me three more years to realize that much of my entire sexual history was traumatizing, and coercive.   So on top of understanding what rape is, we need to understand what consent is.  We also as a society need to understand effects of trauma, and what it looks like. I’m still learning that myself.  It’s a long way. And it won’t happen all of these things, none of it will happen unless we all look to Intersectional Feminism. For it is only when justice is sought out for all of those marginalized, that peace, and real justice can be found.





It Happened

31 03 2013

Today I realized that no matter how many scenarios I come up with that start out as, “If I had just…” will change the fact that I was raped.





Squabble

8 02 2013

So over the weekend, M and I had our first real argument borderline fight.

Last Friday night right before we went to bed I said something stupid. Something that I think I have a legitimate reason to run over and over in my head, but then never say out loud, because its my scumbag brain that needs to unlearn some things.

Here’s what I asked, “Could you do me a favor? Could you introduce me as L, my girlfriend, instead of my girlfriend, L”

To me(scumbag brain that needs to learn that I’m not in an abusive relationship anymore) the whole girlfriend before name thing was literally putting my identity behind my being M’s girlfriend. EVEN THOUGH, he has done nothing and I do mean NOTHING to suggest that he thinks he’s better than me automatically because he’s a man.

But you see here’s the thing my stupid brain hears/sees/feels/remembers initially with that kind of repetition (I seemed to have been getting introduced a bunch as of late)

So, first off. When I was in middle school, I was sexually harassed EVERY. SINGLE.DAY. And GROPED. EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. So much so people stopped using my name, and simply referred to me as my ass. No joke. It was rather dehumanizing. I did not matter, only my ass. What a horrible feeling for anyone, but especially a person who’s at the stage in their life where they’re learning who they are.

Then, enter ex-husband, who at the start of our marriage referred to me as the wife or wife actually in a fairly possessive way, and used my name, less and less. And by the end of our marriage just referred to me as bitch. And then in our separation, bitch, whore, cunt, all of those were very common.

There are other things too, but really that’s enough for my brain to freak out now just for being in a relationship/opening up to some one emotionally and sexually. And there’s this part of me that is in full belief that everything will turn to shit, and I’m going to be the one getting hurt again. And I’m not sure how much more hurt I can handle. But at the same time, I also don’t think that I could ever put myself in any situation that would let me be as badly hurt as I was with my ex or that stranger.

Any way, I KNOW that M is different. Very different from anyone I’ve ever been with and most people I’ve met. But my stupid brain hasn’t unlearned that not every relationship is an abusive one. And so there is sabotage about. And before I had really stopped letting this all spin about in my head, and realize that I’m triggered and acting from a point of being triggered out, I spoke those words.

He said he could do that, but then pointed out that I was the one that had specifically brought up, “What do we call each other conversation.” And once we started talking I realized that I had listened to my victim part of myself triggered self, and not really me. Not the me that knows M, and knows how much he cares for me. And I apologized profusely, but the seed was there for the epic shit show that was the next night.

 

We both had, had really super shitty days, and went and got food to take to my house and make dinner. I had forgotten that one of my roommates had said that he was going to have a few old buddies over. Well I thought that he meant like two or three at most. Not what was it, four? five? Anyway, doesn’t matter, what does matter is that they got very drunk very quickly and one in particularly large in stature dude grew to be an even bigger asshole.

He quickly got black marked by me, by trying to explain to me that I don’t know how to cook because I didn’t know what a BTU was and some how more importantly that I didn’t know the difference of BTU’s for a gas stove vs. an electric. I told him, that I knew that gas burned faster, and that I knew how to cook, and then wait a minute I don’t have to explain or defend myself to you, I don’t KNOW you and YOU SIR, DO NOT KNOW ME. And then proceeded to start making cookies.

M, was very uncomfortable, this guy was very big, loud, and domineering.  I went into my dissociative survival mode and fixated on making these cookies that we had talked about making for a few weeks now. Actually this was the entire reason I wanted to go to my house versus M’s because I have a stand mixer. I did my best to ignore basically everything, looking up ever so often to see M, talking and or laughing about something, I thought he was having a better time than I was expecting. Little did I know that he was just putting on a good show. He sure fooled me. I mean, eventually neither of us could keep it up and we went up stairs to my room. And I asked him if he wanted to leave and go back to his house (which I had actually asked him a few times before we started cooking) And when we finally did decide to leave, we were packing up in my room, and it was revealed just how long he had been keeping face.

He vented on for a few minutes about how the same societal norms and stereotypes are forced upon men that are forced about women. Obvs he didn’t mean the exact same, but there are still these roles that men are “supposed to” fall into, which M, does not. (A good part of why I like him so much) And he was upset, about what I had said the night before, and why was because he felt that I was calling him that dick that was downstairs. I immediately felt horrible that something I had said had caused him so much pain. I told him again that I didn’t mean it in that way and that he was completely right that he had never done anything to indicate any of those things. And I just felt worse and worse and I tried to explain about my stupid scumbag brain that didn’t understand that I wasn’t in those situations anymore. But it wasn’t helping. I told him how wrong I was, and how sorry I was.

But he was also angry with himself. Angry that he felt the need to placate people like that and that it was best to do his best to fit in until he could get out of there. I told him to say fuck those people, if they didn’t like him for who he was, and that he should be proud of who he is, because he was so awesome and different and well spoken, and smart, caring, and just such a good person. And besides, I liked him for who he was, and if he was anything like that guy, I wouldn’t have looked at him twice.

I mean seriously, my biggest, and possibly only disappointment with M so far is that he doesn’t like massages.

Anyway, we made up, it was tense for a minute, but we did make up.

But there’s still that stupid stupid brain in my head that’s now whispering, “I told you so”. Because we had a squabble. One squabble.  And I’m doing my best not to listen to it. But man does it make me anxious.

But hey, I’m still not running away screaming, so that’s progress.

 





Calling a Goat a Goat

29 01 2013

So I’ve started seeing some one and by started I mean back in November.  Some one who is completely amazing, so good and caring, fun, and sexy… and I’m terrified by how much I’m *feeling* towards him already. Mostly due to the fact that I am, actually feeling things. Its still kinda new to me.

But this time I’m not running away from him. I’m not hiding. But he also isn’t prying or demanding more than I can give. He doesn’t act like he has a right to my devoutness or body.

I didn’t know people like him existed.

He said he didn’t own me.

He said I didn’t owe him an explanation when I started to explain why I wanted to go slow.

When I said, “It would mean a lot to me if we didn’t have sex tonight.” he said, “of course” and hugged me.

He wanted to take me to his parents because he wanted to make his mom uncomfortable by his opinionated, passionate, girlfriend. Not because I was something nice to look at. I can’t say how many times I have felt like some one else wanted me to meet some one else because I was a trophy. I think perhaps part of my reserve in admitting publicly that I was in a relationship with AB was because I felt that part of the need he had, was to show off his trophy. Because he never said things like, ” Well I’m not really interested in  you for your grace, but more your brute strength and unrelenting power.”

I mean, wow. I can’t believe I have this person. Some one who I’m romantically involved with, who champion’s me. He believes so strongly in me. But not in a pedestal kind of way. He doesn’t say that I’m perfect (which is awesome), he thinks I’m talented, smart, funny, passionate, bad ass, sexy, and apparently have unrelenting power.

Do you ever get uncomfortable when some one says something that they see in you, but you don’t see in yourself? That happens a lot with M. But its always something that I have this internal debate of whether or not I’m strong or ____. For Example on the strong thing: There is still a part of me that feels like (and thinks) if I was as strong as some people believe, like M, then I couldn’t possibly have been raped for three days by my scumbag ex husband, and then on top of that be raped a year later by a stranger. I wouldn’t or couldn’t have ended up in an emotionally abusive relationship, and now I’m starting to feel the whole sexual relationship I had with my ex was kinda on the iffy line of consent, or a great deal of it at least.
And every time M, makes a comment about how strong I am (its usually tied to a joke about how I could take some one or kick a few people’s asses) I think to myself, ” I wonder if he would still think that if he knew about my past.”

And last night he said something, and I got a little choked up and said, “You really are so good.” he asked what I meant, ” I mean so few people have been kind to me the way that you are. My life is so different now than just a few years ago. And I’m sorry for crying just, my body has this memory for traumatic events, I’m working on it, and the anniversaries are really awful for me. I was hospitalized two years ago.” I didn’t say anything beyond that, I thought about it. But really didn’t want to right then. I just wanted to eat the food we had made. So I made a comment about how he hadn’t even taken a bite yet. And he said, “I was listening to you, I didn’t want to eat while I was listening to you.”  That made me want to cry more so I turned to my sandwich and beer and took a bite. Besides I was close to being done with mine, because I was a little high and very hungry. And started eating before him, because I’m rude.

He then went on to say, “You know L, and you may and probably do actually already know this or feel this way, but I won’t judge you at all for anything that you did or happened or some way you used to think in the past, you can talk to me about it, if you want or need to.”

I do want to. I want to tell him so very much. I was ready to last night, and then he said those things, and I just wanted to hold on to those for a while, and not be high and already upset about the whole thing. And before those memories had come up, I wanted to have sex. And he seemed to, too. But when he came to bed he just held me.

This man, has opened my eyes and given me hope. Hope that really there are more than ten good people in the world.

A few weeks ago I asked him if he would feel better if he had something to call me, aside from my name, “You mean like my girlfriend?” And of course that word made me very uncomfortable and was like, well no, that’s not what I meant, I’m not a girl, and you’re not a boy, I just… there…”L, you might as well as call a relationship what it is, you can dance around the words or try and come up with new ones, but you’re just making words like boyfriend, girlfriend, taboo, and thus more powerful than they actually are. ”

“Okay…I see you point. I suppose, yes, girlfriend is good then. So does that make you my boyfriend?”

“Yep.”

“Alright then, we’re boyfriend and girlfriend.”

And then we made out a bunch.





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.