Marriage Bed

7 05 2014

Through the velvet darkness
Camels and cheap beer on my tongue,
Bring me back to pain
I turn my head but you grabbed me back

 

The weight of your fat body I once loved
Now grotesque
Crushes my breath
Vice around my throat
I’m forced to swallow

 

The warm coat of black velvet washes over me
I know I’m not safe,
But here, ignorance is bliss

The struggle and agony inside my body
Lifts the curtain

 

I see my hands bound;
A knot at every eight
The dearest brown scarf
Tiny woven diamond bulls eyes
A thousand tiny eyes
Witness my torture

A thousand tiny eyes
Know the truth
No black velvet to shield them
They saw all
Every tear, every plea

 

The darkness took hold his eyes
That were once so full of life.
Making me believe in evil.

 

A thousand tiny eyes
Stare stone silent shaming
A whimper comes forth
Why are you doing this?

Because, I love you.

 

Advertisements




11 12 2013

My body lies broken
The surface, cracked,

And here I am putting the pieces-
Back





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.





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.

 





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.