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“Shadow People” a look into a portion of my past

So It has been a new development for me to sort of delve into my darker past. I have been more focused on vivid and energetic imagery and had done very little to none in regards to things that had happened to me at such a vulnerable time of life. While I have been open about my past experiences and the abuse as a child in conjunction with trauma in my early adult life, I haven't really gone into great details to the general public of my upbringing and trauma that has shaped how I view things now. Many would think I would have a very narrow perspective on life, since it had a great deal of traumatic encounters. I did the rounds of therapy and all that comes with the mental health world. I in fact, also work in mental health and enjoy it greatly. Mental Health is a grey area for many individuals and can make many uncomfortable and lacking in the desire to really hear what happens to person with trauma such as mine. Many may say that it's too depressing and that they can't be around you due to this factor, not realizing it's a very healthy and normal part of the process in wanting to truly be understood. Let's face it, because of the stigma of mental health many feel misunderstood because not any one trauma is the same, or effects that individual the same as another. I have had various individuals encouraging me that maybe I should tell my story, maybe even write a book of sorts. I haven't quite decided if that is something I can get through or not. I have started writing events in a journal, but have been procrastinating to write often. I am aware it is everything to do with protecting my own sanity and well being and if I am truly ready to put it out there. I have gotten to a pretty good place with my own well being and mental health with regards to my past. I worked very hard and for many years to be at this place. So possibly undoing this progress could be what happens if I try and drum up all these events. I do want to also make a difference though and let other survivors know there is a life after trauma and it can be fulfilling if only you allow yourself that space to let it in.

So on to a small amount of information and this painting. This is my very first detailed memory in a weird metaphorical way, that I have not visually expressed for everyone to see. I suffered abuse from an early age. It didn't get to the level it was until I was around 12, but non the less there was also some form of trauma as far as I can even remember back. I even have blank spots in my memory that only leaves me to believe it was too traumatic for me to recollect. My father was a true narcissist, in ever aspect of the term. He would belittle you and make you feel so insignificant and unimportant that you wish you hadn't existed at all. I remember when my parents would fight and many times it was in the middle of the night. Many times hearing my mother crying and my father claiming some form of cheating or doing anything but being obedient. There was even a time when I had been awoken by my mother thrown and she had landed on my bed. We lived in a single wide trailer at that time so its just basically a long hallway. The living room was up front, the kitchen was next, my bedroom, the bathroom and finally their bedroom. This particular fight was about whether I, was actually his. I am leaving some details of this particular fight out because it is not my place to say. It was also when I found out I had a sibling. When he got like this it was best to try to only say what he wanted to hear and hope it was the right answer at that time. If it wasn't he made sure to beat into you the correct one.

This painting is a rendition of a reoccurring dream I had as a child. Generally children dream of princes and princesses or whatever imaginative creatures and fairy tales, but I had much more disturbing ones. In recollection, I thought this was a dream I had when I lived in California, but in retrospect it was actually after the sexual abuse has started. When My parents were going to split in California my mother and father had several months of fighting and my father using me as a controlling pawn. My mother was going to leave me behind to live with the man she was leaving because he would beat her and diminish her often. I never really had that sink in until I left home 5 years later. I stayed and endured everything to protect her, but she wasn't capable of doing the same for me. She was going to leave me behind. They eventually decided to get back together again with one stipulation that we move away from where so many years of trauma had occurred. My mother said he was to never hurt her again or she would leave. In this, my father kept to his word, but instead found another way to still be the narcissist he is. He turned his attentions to me. In his mind I had somehow wanted to replace my mother, he claimed I tried to crawl in bed with him and to take over my mothers place. Just think on that for a moment. A child, being told she was to take over the place of a grown woman. We had moved to Oregon, where they had lived before I was born, from what I was told.

Life was supposed to start anew and things would be different. They were, in some regards. I have always had a very hard time with friends and school as a kid. Due to all my trauma I was considered a weird kid. The kind that usually got picked on, made fun of and often assaulted by other children. I started a new school in a new state with new people. I was very thin, didn't talk to people much and was very over the top hyper at times when I did interact with other kids. I was fortunate to have made some friends that I am still friends with now, over 20 years later. It was still hard. How do you even function in the world when yours at home wasn't even safe. The first summer we lived in these apartments things had taken a turn for even worse for me. For some reason he had in his head that we should be sexually active with one another, I was 12. I wont go into all the details of the next 3 days at this time, but this is where this type of dreams had started.

There is a phenomenon called Shadow people. I did a bit of researching when I was deciding to create this artwork for the online gallery Memento Tea Gallery, which has a array of artist who create dark art. I had wanted to expand my ability of creating works of all types, other than my typical fantasy and landscape works. When I was a child I would have this very lucid dream of these shadowed figures of complete blackness and red eyes. They can appear slightly different for some, but I had found that oddly all of them were similar for the most part. The Mysterious Science website has a pretty interesting article you can read about the different variations of Shadow people here Mine always were the same. They would be black as space, the absence of all light. They would have red eyes as bright as a coal in a flame, and most generally appeared to be wearing hats or a fedora of sorts. They always were a negative experience. every night they seemed to visit me at some point. These figures would appear in my room and would drag my down beneath the surface as shown in my painting. It was like I was dragged into the very roots below. They would then tie me down and generally violate me as I was in the waking world, but more aggressively and violently. I would feel completely unable to move, paralyzed in my own body, like a prisoner. Now whether this is a representation of my own psyche or a malevolent creature that took hold of me, it still puzzles me. IF they are a figment of our own mind, then why is it that so many others have seen the exact same figures?

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