Updated: Feb 12
Another page into the darker part of my works. The description I used for this when I posted it online "A rendition of what it felt like growing up. I was to be a slave to this creature that created me. What should have been an unconditional love, was a twisted ideology that somehow I was a mate rather than an offspring. Doomed to forever be subservient until I could break free!"
A bit of what this all means, I am sure you can gather the gist of it just from the brief description. Here's the thing. I was told my entire childhood I had a singular purpose. While most parents encourage and nurture children to be their own thinkers and have their own ambitions, I was not. The idea was that I should only live to make my parents life more enriched. This meant that if I could afford a car for myself to get around, I should keep walking, that car is supposed to be given to my parents, specifically my father. If I bought a house, it better be one for them because I OWE them for having to raise me all these years. It was also ingrained that if I couldn't keep my boyfriend, husband, or any male frankly, happy, I had no use or purpose. Now this was before the sexual abuse had started, once that began things changed to an even more narcissistic upbringing. The next painting will have more symbolism in regards to this stage, but to briefly state, his intentions were for me to be his other "wife". He started making plans of "our" future and how we would continue this idea in his head he had would go beyond me leaving school and becoming an adult. He was planning my entire life to be with him, that was my purpose. I made the decision that if I didn't leave, soon, my life would forever be shackled to this person.
So the symbolism is pretty clear on why I chose to name this work "Shackled" I felt imprisoned my entire childhood, there was no room to grow and develop into my own individual person. I was not encouraged to have my own ambitions or my own thoughts. I was not allowed to be angry, sad, hyper or any other natural human emotion, other than obedient and complacent. Any form of undesirable reactions or emotions were met with force to be corrected. I had hid the marks left behind with long pants and shirts, but from time to time kids at school would notice. Some would make a joke of which I would awkwardly smile and laugh. School was very hard for me. The ridicule at school was more preferable than home life, I endured it so that I would have somewhere, anywhere else to be but home. I hated being home and would take any opportunity to leave, especially if HE was home with me alone. This is often since he didn't work, stayed home claiming he had more use than my mother, even though she worked her ass off to pay for our food and bills. Speaking off, he would ALSO would take my money when I started working part time. I used to work in the fields as a child to make money for school cloths. I would pick blueberries, strawberries, marionberries, and blackberries, really anything in season during the summers. I started working around 12 and have never really had a break since then, except when I took some time off when I moved back home with my retirement from my job i had for 11 years. My husband made sure I had that time to find what I really wanted to work and build a career in. Boys and girls, plan for retirement! When I got old enough to get a job, well then it was assumed that all year, except for school cloths, money is owed to him as well. His perspective was that I lived off them and I should be paying them back for all that they have done for me. One year he even said "I will let you have this check so you can go buy yourself a birthday gift." Yep I paid for my own gift, which isn't the issue, its the fact that he felt I should be thankful he allowed me to use money I worked for to get something for myself. My mother would give me money from her tips often to let me be able to buy school lunches I wanted rather than forced to eat the typical mystery meat burger, chicken sandwich, pizza, or the only healthy option the salad bar. I have mixed feeling about my mother, she would do things like give me money because she knew he took it all and then other times she did nothing, like allowing him to keep abusing when she was blatantly told what was going on.
So I have done a great deal of reading and research on whats considered alternative or eccentric mentalities. When I was growing up I would see people in sort of a different way than most. It has been said that we see people in their truest forms as children. It is when society starts confining our view points that we loose this ability. I read a book when I was in my teens and early adult life on the topic of auras. For those who are unfamiliar with this term an Aura is the distinctive atmosphere or quality that seems to surround and be generated by a person, thing, or place. I found a nice, and maybe more practical sounding article for the skeptical at heart here https://www.bustle.com/articles/196821-what-is-an-aura-6-things-to-know-about-the-spiritual-idea-of-auras Another term that could also relate is being emphatic. Its an innate ability to sense feelings and situations around you that can be draining, energetic, frightening, and many other things that fall into this category. It can also be considered intuition for a more practical of term. Now before you completely write off this whole section, think about a time you just felt completely unsettled about something.Whether it be a person, place, or a situation that later you found you avoided something that could have been pretty catastrophic. That would be what falls under auras, emphatic, or just plain old intuition.
So here is why I mention auras, as a child I used to see things in a different perspective than others. When we are children we paint and illustrate people and things around us in brightly colored markers, paints, pencils and more. What if its not the child just picking things because its "pretty", but that it is truly how they see a person. Whenever I would be around my father I always felt this black cloud hovering over him and into the home. I would at times think I saw this black creature, a shadow person, as I have mentioned in my latest post on "Shadow People", a painting I recently had done on a reoccurring dream I had as a child. Be sure to go and check that post out as well. I always felt he had this looming creature about him. Some would say it is a dark force that may have made him this way, but what if it was his aura pulsating from him? I will have to go dig out the book so I can properly reference it. It's and interesting read, if you keep an open mind. EDIT: found said book! I’ve had this thing for 20 years! the title is “How to see and read the aura” by Ted Andrews. It takes scientific approach to a a paranormal topic and talks about the ability to be more sensitive about auras and things that effect us. Even if you are skeptical about auras, there has to be a small bit that understands there is an energy about you. There is a theory that children and individuals that have been exposed to trauma can have a more sensitive ability to things like this. There have been studies showing how trauma and abuse can physically change the makeup of the brain. The constant stress rewires our brain. There tends to to be erratic behaviors, difficulty regulating your emotions and a wide array of problems that come from constant stresses and hormones to the brain. There has been some research to show that we can retrain our brains to function better with a bit of hard work. There is a couple articles, one is Facebook and typically is not the best of resources, but is still a good read https://www.healthy-holistic-living.com/brain-scans-reveal-how-badly-emotional-abuse-damages-kids/?utm_source=EXP&fbclid=IwAR1R18KDP7B2U-qrS83rI-wSKhnktpW6KsNXgnhomI1F7exWNg4W7It1jt4. The other here is one that discusses rewiring the brain after trauma https://healingtraumacenter.com/neuroplasticity-and-rewiring-the-brain/
Overall this painting reflects all of the things mentioned above. The shadow creature in the back is how I viewed what seemed to loom over my father whenever I was around him and at many time grew larger and eyes burned brighter red when he was more violent. The woman is crying out to be free again. Feeling the anguish of her circumstance and afraid she will never be free. For many children and individuals, it feels never ending, like there will never be relief from the agony of this life. You find yourself contemplating death because it will be your only reprieve. There's no light at the end of tunnel to be seen or a way out, only darkness. While we know on the outside there is always a way, it is very far to be seen in this state of being. Her chains show she is shackled to this life, begging for anything to come and save her. Nothing comes. She must do this battle on her own.
I hope you enjoyed this bit into the works and a bit more into my history. Below is the process in the making of this painting. I plan on doing a follow up painting that links to this one, but need to do a rendition of a planned painting for the Memento Mori exhibition coming for March first. I will be trying to be up keeping on my blog as these form. As I dig into my past this is also going to help me piece together the book I hope I am able to put together, eventually.