Complicit : Erasure of the Body, Written Submissions

These are the collected written submissions from artists participating in our March 3-April 8th 2019 Nasty Women Connecticut Art Exhibition.

Erasure, Hetty de Cossy

Erasure, Hetty de Cossy 2018

Erasure, Hetty de Cossy 2018

‘Erasure’ is part of Nasty Women Connecticut’s show “Complicit: Erasure of the Body” at the Yale Divinity School in New Haven, Connecticut.

‘Erasure’ is about the messages in our heads that drive us to erasing ourselves to please other people. In this case, through anorexia. This has been one of my personal challenges since eighth grade. For me, it has been about a lack of self-acceptance, brought about by the message-absorbed from society and those around me-that I was never enough as I was. I was too fat, not in good enough shape, wore glasses, not talented enough, not worthy enough…just, not enough. So I tried to control all that through my weight. I stopped growing at 5’6″ at age 12. The doctors told me that I should weigh about 135lbs to be healthy. I have a solid bone structure. Anything less than 145 for me starts to look scary thin. But to me, it wasn’t enough. I tried to keep my weight around 124lbs, fit into a size 6 or below, and my waist at 24 inches. I was obsessed at that last one.

And this is a mild case. I never got so underweight that I passed out, or went into amenorrhea. Thank goodness. I was, however, scary thin enough for my body that my father, a professional ballet dancer, was freaking out, because he had had several friends in the dance world die from anorexia or other eating disorders over the years.

I was trying to control a life I felt that I had no control over through controlling my body. I under-ate, over-excercised and worried constantly. I felt unloved, unappreciated, and as if I would NEVER be good enough. I was constantly trying to please those whose approval I wanted, or felt that I needed to survive. In all areas of my life. I didn’t stop to figure out who I was, just believed that it wasn’t good enough and I had to try harder.

Let me tell you-years and years of self-work later, it’s still a challenge, but I am getting better. I still have a hard time with mirrors, and I don’t own a scale. I hate the scale at the doctor’s. It sends me into a tailspin for a while afterwards until I can catch myself and calm down.

The thing is, no matter what we look like, the message we get from society in general-the media campaigns, movies, advertising-is that no matter what we look like or what we do, it’s never enough. The messages don’t go away. The hamster wheel in the head doesn’t ever really stop. But it can be slowed down, or put on mute for a while. It’s an ongoing process. So if you know someone with an eating disorder, be patient with them, and give them your love. We all need it.

Blessings.

Complicit runs until March 31st, 2019. For event info go to https://nastywomenct.org/events

My Own Complicit Erasure, Babz Rawls Ivy

A long time ago

I had unwittingly become my own assassin

Startling memories of tearful no’s turned into forced yeses.

Such violence

A child. Unprotected. Harmed.
Details hanging in the ether
Never spoken

Such violence

A grown woman emerged from the ashes of what could’ve been joy should have been joy
was just time stolen.

Rising on the victories of hard fought battles, celebrated for tenacity, winning at work and seemingly at Love...A closeness to heaven as I ever dared dream. Whispering in various ears perhaps I love you too and wishing I meant it...

But my words were sophisticated daggers,
my tongue a sword
readily wielded against my own heart. Love you? I didn’t even love myself.

Damaged. Distant. Indifferent.

Such violence

So much inflicted pain
added to more pain
Adding Shame
Adding Doubt
Adding Fear

Erasure.
Indeed...

Complicit in my destruction of body and soul
I was a tool of war.
Willing words of death conjuring certain prophesy almost coming true.

It would be eons before I saw a slip of light
Hope afar
A path

Kindness
Unexpected
Light houses and guideposts

souls generous of spirit and time fed me. Rested with me
Cared for me. Celebrated me. Delighted in me. Pouring life back into me.

All this time underneath layers of lava and silt

Love
Rescued
Restored

Reimagining this life into something I wanted all along...
To be

Seen. Heard. Believed.

~Babz Rawls Ivy, March 2019

Liquorice, Emmett Burns

"Top surgery is like Black Liquorice-
The candy in the jar that everyone wants until they get it in their hands and realize what it is
I remember looking down at my stitched on nipples, jagged, staples and stitches across my chest
I held back tears
I remember getting the drains out and how it was nothing compared to the arm hole surgery but that may have just been the fentanyl at work
I remember schizophrenic nights, the narcotics mixed with my psych meds, drawing me further and further from reality
I remember trying to masturbate for the first time about a week post-op but I couldn't move my arms like that
I remember the purple, blue, green, yellow of the bruising and the fear that my nipples would fall off
I remember stitches and skin flaking off and I remember infection in my right side where a stitch came out too early
I remember the pain and the pleasure and god, the relief,
But I also remember the depression, the post-op sadness that lingers in the dark
No one talks about it.
I remember them bringing me coffee as I recovered,
I remember my phone resetting
I remember not being scared as I closed my eyes in the O.R.,
I remember not being afraid of dying."

Loom, Mary Herron

Loom

weft warp yarn thread patterns woven black and red bruises and blood
forks and spoons
sharp and round
we’ll get there soon

sleeping screaming
hiding in dread
embrace of darkness cover my head pillows and covers over on top
can’t get away
and is won’t stop

sometimes people who love get mad it’s okay between mom and dad
(his brutality, her screams and groans). it’s okay

a family at home

Let Us Pray, KCM Morrison

Let Us Pray.

 

As we look around and see our nation in turmoil

As we see our fellow country-people incarcerated by the millions

As we see Black and brown lives degraded

As we see children separated from their parents

As we see our leaders devalue the voices of those with the

courage to speak

As we see people say “I believe” but I do not care.

 

Let us have the courage to act

Let us not stay silent

Let us not allow our democracy fail

Let us fight so that every voice can cry out and be heard

       Can be valued.

Let us fight for true freedom

Let us value all human life and dignity

Let us tend to God’s green earth

Let us hear the smallest cry

Let us believe.

 

There is no room for apathy

There is no room for not yet

There is no room for this isn’t my problem.

 

You claim you want to be a leader

You claim you want to be a scholar

You claim you want to preach.

 

Start now.

If You Were a Woman, Amie Ziner

If You Were A Woman

a shift in global warming trends, the ice caps were definitely smaller they said this momentous change was preceded by many indications

the distance you traveled to find a lodging, make a meal, settle in where all the forests we had viewed were cut, and the land raped
I grew up watching for the ways emotion manipulates into power
if you were a woman your heart would be broken, permanently

they’ve misunderstood the statistics, scientists would never do that it’s artificial lights, make everyone’s lips purple, like death

you say there’s this woman inside, embedded in semi-consciousness
we wondered how to let it go without a scream a womanly thing, sure
in the thickets the catbrier clung to my short dress and scratched my legs if you were a woman you would be too angry to admit despair

they paved every road that was once a path, straightened the course of the river now it’s recommended: keep a dog (just to feel some warmth under hand)

in the glow of the screen immutable fact lies in wait, indifferent to your soul
we write this history down, far down... all the way down and outside
I waited for my mother to come home, I was the woman of the house ‘til then
if you were a woman you would get down to the praying without embarrassment

they could catch hold of what lies and what is the truth - or stand in between
less birds fly south every year, less whales appear off the coast of Greenland

what’s that you say, the message never got through? you couldn’t find the time? if ever the dreams died we would all die too, poisoned by hopelessness
I’ve buckled up the seatbelts to keep us all safe when the family moves
if you were a woman you would invent a new reason to live every hour

activists handed out leaflets and they picked up trash, a vast mountain of plastic bags no one wants to buy the food grubbed out of the earth if it still has dirt on it

you can’t claim to hold a woman’s understanding, decode all this
we stand here aching for reasons we can barely express, still fighting
my little girl could teach lessons on self-containment on heartbreak on beauty

if you were a woman your heart would be broken, permanently
if you were a woman you would be too angry to admit despair
if you were a woman you would get down to the praying without embarrassment if you were a woman you would invent a new reason to live every hour
if you were a woman you would sing about joy, astounding even cynics

Word count: 451

Room, Mary Barnett

Mary Barnett

Room

The psychologist’s small, perfectly square office reminds me of the dorm rooms back at The Plex, at Connecticut College, where I go to school. The Plex: the dorm nobody wants because the windows can’t open and nothing sticks to the walls.

So they’ve put me in this group.

I've just been evaluated by the staff psychologist and now we've come up front to meet the others. She swings open a heavy door on our right, letting me pass ahead of her into a large, stale-smelling room.

"I think you'll add a unique perspective to our group,” she says propped against the wall like a folded umbrella.

I look back at this pleasant, unremarkable woman I’ve just met and she snaps into focus. I recognize her shampoo. This is someone I know how to talk to.

“Aren’t you coming?” I ask.
"Oh no,” she says, “this is what we call a peer group."
The women are drinking cans of Coke, no diet, and chain -smoking cigarettes. I’m judgmental about the Coke. One woman sits sunk in the faux leather couch, legs tucked up into her sweatshirt, kneecaps punching out the top like breasts. A woman in an oversized parka, hood up, is absent-mindedly kicking the underside of the coffee table with her boot, watching a glowing ash disappear deep into the orange pile carpet. Nobody looks up when I come in.

There are six of us. We are the Survivor's group and I’m looking around and thinking that's a fucking broad category.

This is the Tuesday night Rape or Incest survivor group of greater New London County. The fact that this is the Tuesday night group means that there is also a Thursday night group and when it turns out that every single one of these women did it or something like it or something worse with their father or their uncle Bob or their brother Seward or Gramps, spread out on some old carpet just like this one, sticky and orange and stained, in the way back of the family van, I want a transfer.

We are supposed to be supporting each other. We are supposed to be supporting each other because we have the same issues. We are supposed to be supporting each other because we have the same issues so we can heal.

My turn. “I’m Polly,” I say and it sounds like a joke. Another year and I will jettison my nursery rhyme nickname. There will be no more putting the kettle on for people. Mary, my proper name feels restricted and formal and my ribcage sheers forward and I hold my breath in like a queen. Thirty years later I learn that renaming oneself is a common reaction to sexual assault. Or perhaps it is part of the cure. It’s hard to know.

"I go to Conn. I mean Connecticut College."

I'm about to graduate and want to say I'm going to be an ex-Conn, but I realize no one will think this is funny.

These are not college students.

Susan looks at Danielle. Susan has brown curly hair and is wearing something purple that fits. With jewelry. Everyone else looks unemployed. This makes me think that Susan is the leader and is being paid but I can't tell. Danielle introduces herself and hugs Susan. Danielle is wearing brown corduroys and a big sweater and is blond. Then Susan hugs Taryn. Taryn is wearing blue jeans and a big sweater and is fat. I'm sitting next to Taryn. I don't want her to hug me. I particularly don't want her to hug me because she is fat. I'm new and I look out the window at just the right moment and she doesn't. Toneesha and Caprice sit by themselves. They're black. I think they are trying to light the carpet on fire.

Susan says she accepts being a Survivor with pride. It's who she is. Danielle and Taryn applaud.

"I come here to be with people who understand," Susan says and starts to cry. Maybe she isn't being paid.

We are what my psychology textbook refers to as a cohort. I do not like my cohort and I do not want my cohort to understand this right away. Caprice and Toneesha obviously think the whole thing is a joke. They know they aren't going to survive.

"Okay, so...I was raped," I say next but it sounds like a question. I don’t believe it. I’m having a hard time with the word. It isn’t a good word. It doesn’t convey the specificity of what occurred.

“I was asleep,” I say. “Asleep in my own bed. I live off campus. I have my own apartment. A little house.”

They don’t seem impressed.

“I was asleep. Someone jumped on top of me. It was Halloween.”

I don't say it was my first apartment. That I had made my own bed out of plywood and cinderblocks. That I’d sewn two calico sheets together to make a mattress cover so it could double as a couch in the daytime. That he said, “Give me some pussy.”

The police had taken all that down to the police station: my sheets, my flannel nightgown, my yellow stuffed dog and a document with my signature on it, saying one of my windows wasn’t locked. Maybe everything is still down at some police station in a box in a back room with my name on it.

"Did you know him?" Susan asks me and everyone perks up. They're ready to accept me.

"No," I say and breathe in and they breathe out and sit back, bored.

My night of terror feels insignificant in this room. Pulp fiction. Something unpleasant and invasive, but finite, like having your purse snatched. Something only a college student would mind.

"Well," says Susan "you've come to the right place." Her perfume, something sharp and sweet, releases from an intimate fold.

I look down at my hiking boots. Dark green suede. I wear them to feel game but I haven't been hiking since I was a kid. I'm afraid of twisting an ankle. I'm a senior dance major at Connecticut College, majoring in dance because I want to feel my body and make it say what I want it to say. Finally make it say yes.

Susan inches over. Her big knees press into mine. She sits back and crosses her arms, folding her hands familiarly up into her large breasts.

It's Danielle's turn. She slams the table hard and I jump and she screams That fucking asshole and Susan is saying Let it out and looping her cigarette in giant circles for emphasis like some guy conducting Barry Manilow on TV.

If I stay here, I'm going to have to start smoking, I think.

Nobody’s talking now and the smoke clears and I’m thinking about my mother. The one listed in the Boston Social Register, polite society’s list of old families with old money. It’s something you are born into.

I called her the next morning. The morning after. The morning after spending all night in the over-lit emergency room at the Lawrence and Memorial hospital being poked, prodded, combed and flushed. I told her I needed to tell her something but couldn’t do it over the phone. She was wary, afraid of being manipulated. She agreed to me meet halfway. Dunkin Donuts: a place she’d never been; halfway to Providence:

"Mom," I start. And the word sits small and round on my tongue; inert, like a lozenge, from my life before.

"Mom ...someone broke into my apartment last night."
Some bitterly familiar part of me hopes she'll feel guilty for not driving the whole

way.
" I was raped."

And my voice loses its footing there among the donuts.

"Oh, Pols," she says and steps back. She is pressed up against the soda case. Her ten year old, over-stuffed, LL Bean parka, good to 45 degrees below zero, is backlit with tiny plastic bottles of OJ.

"That's the worst thing that can happen to a woman."
"May I help you?" the donut girl says.
My mother looks up, startled to find herself at a counter. She’s disoriented for a

moment. Then her smile flashes and her big eyes widen. She loves an audience.
“And what would you recommend?” she says brightly, as if ordering a specialty

roast from our neighborhood market.
“What a perfectly aw-ful smell" my mother says a few minutes later as I follow

her outside. Her Boston Brahmin accent is broad and dramatic. I can't help myself. I love listening to her.

"But that glazed thing was positively scr-rumptious!"
She stops suddenly sucking in the cold, sweet air. I bump into her.

“Thank God, it wasn't your sister.”

"I don't think I belong here,” I say thirty-five minutes later to Taryn and Susan and Toneesha and now there’s Lauren. She’s about my age and has two kids at home. She’s getting a restraining order against her husband.

I’m thinking about private school and how there were only thirteen kids in my eighth grade class and if you were in the A group, you were smart and you got to read ee cummings and study Bob Dylan as if he were a real poet. Maybe it wasn’t a person, I’m

thinking. Maybe it was a goat. Maybe some rabid goat broke lose from some reject farm down on Route 32.

"We are here to support you," Susan says sympathetically. “We think perhaps you are in denial. We think perhaps something like this happened to you before.”

...Maybe from the kind of place you’re from, where people have sex with animals when their kids aren’t available and that goat fucking had to have me.

Then I remembered his hands around my throat. I was screaming and then I couldn't scream. My muscles let go. Part of my mind slides over to let something else through. Slipping down off the side of the bed. Lower, I think, get lower so there is nothing more to get. My voice smooths itself like a skirt. I plead. Demurely. I have stopped breathing and a minute goes by and I still haven't said anything. Susan is still looking at me. I decide I need another approach.

"Okay, maybe I'm angry," I say.

I'll say anything never to see this carpet again. There is smoke rising from between Toneesha's knees.

His arm looked dark against the fluorescent white of his T-shirt, the way everything looks dark when you can't see anything. The way everything looks black when you can't see anything.

Was he black? I don't know but I think so. It was how he spoke. Can I say that? That he sounded black? Some of these women are black. He was inside me but I couldn't feel anything. Sometimes I still can't feel anything.

I went back to the house, only once, before Thanksgiving, with my parents, to pick up my books. As if Proust could help me figure this out. That afternoon, my mother, trying in her own way to be helpful, uses her prodigious head, the one that went to Bennington.

" Oh Polls," she says with feeling, putting To the Lighthouse on the top of the pile, “ Blacks have been subjected to such violence and degradation in our society. Do you think rape could be their way of striking back?" and she waits expectantly for my answer as if she were the host of an NPR talk show and I am the expert guest.

"You really should have gone to Bennington,” she says later that night, over dinner at Chuck's Steakhouse in New London where I’ve been allowed to order the filet mignon. "This would never have happened in Vermont."

I’m staring at the clock over Toneesha’s head. Waiting for the moment when the minute hand jerks. Susan is still looking at me. Her eyes look all wet. Oh god, she wants to hug me.

Lower, I think, sinking deeper into my chair. Sink lower. So there is nothing more to get. Like that time when my brothers wouldn’t stop tickling me and their fingers raced between my legs and I couldn’t breathe and finally I slid down onto the floor so they’d lose interest.

“Pipe down,” my mother yelled up the stairs. My parents were watching Nova and it was a really good one about laterality and brain development.

And my voice smoothed itself like a skirt.

At dinner, my brothers sat smug and silent.
“You egg them on,” my mother said. “ You know you do. When you scream, you

egg them on.”
“Say Uncle,” my brothers said. “Say uncle and we’ll stop!”

Susan is telling me what I need to do in order to be healed.
“Say it,” my brother said.
Very slowly I am standing. Very slowly, I am standing up and walking towards

the door.
“I think I need individual treatment,” I say, as if I’ve made an informed decision

and a follow up appointment is already penciled in. Uncle, fucking uncle, I think.

Lauren looks up at me then. Her pale nostrils are flaring. Rhythmically. Reminding me of something. Irregular yellow smoke rings, hover at her nostrils and float up into her hair.

It’s going to take practice.
But I want to learn how to do that.

On the beach in Virgin Gorda where my parents take my sister and I on a rape recovery vacation, I kiss a Jamaican man named Rocky. He has been pursuing me for days. My parents seem relieved. God forbid I turn into a racist. His lips are unnaturally

warm and enveloping like a woman's vulva, I think. Vulva is a new word I've learned to say in therapy.

"Pussy, pussy, pussy," I hiss on the inside.
"Has it occurred to you," Dr. Gottieb says eventually, "that it is indeed the fertile soil this trauma has landed on that has made it persist for so long?"
This is the single longest sentence I've ever heard him speak. And I can't stand the word fertile especially spoken by a man with no socks. So I stand up and hit him over the head with my purse. This takes us both by surprise.

The next week he asks me to go back to sitting in a chair. "I don't think you can handle the couch,” he says mildly.

Dr. Gottlieb is tall and quiet and wears no socks and I'm like what's with the socks and he sits there and says nothing and I'm angry at him for the first ten sessions and then it's ten years and I'm not all that angry anymore and then I'm dating some guy who calls his penis the toy canon and then I'm not anymore and I cry all the time and then I’m just angry at all the money I've spent in therapy and that I've wasted my youth. That I've wasted my youth just talking about it.

"And then what happened," he says.
"I called my mother, you know, the one listed in the Boston Social Register."

"Is there another one?" he says.
"No, just that one," I say.
And eventually I don’t need to talk about her anymore.
We talked together weekly: Mondays 11, Tuesday 10:10, Wednesday 3: 25, Friday at 4 for 33 years.
We met for twenty years in one room and twelve years in another room. There was a glitch in my insurance and it paid for most of it. It didn’t pay for my pregnancies or childbirth but it paid for therapy. At some point he marries a happy woman in a red sundress. We keep talking. I marry a sour-faced guy with a sweet heart and we keep talking. He is 69 and I am 57 and we keep talking. I met him when I was 23.

He calls on the phone at our appointed time. He calls on the phone because he has been away for a few weeks. He has been away for a few weeks every six months or so but other than that and six weeks every summer and one year when he tried living with his family on a boat, I go there or he calls, so we talk. He is rather thin. He is getting thinner. He is made of paper. I hear beeps in the background. He has no voice left, just a sort of guttural-sounding croak from being intubated for so long and I keep talking. I tell him about my kids and being annoyed at my husband and how I’ve been controlling my anger better and am struggling with a paper and I continue to try to find ways to tell him that I have I loved him, that I love him, that I will continue to love him even though I don’t use those words in that way. We have this very prescribed relationship. It lasts for fifty minutes four times a week and now it’s thirty-four years and his dying means I don’t have to stay in that room anymore. I don’t have to stay. Thank God I don’t have to. Thank God.

And I don’t want to just talk about me. I’d like to have a conversation for Pete’s sake. And then it was Tuesday and he called and I just talked about me.

There wasn’t any other language to speak. It was all I had. I tried to make it mean other things. “Hi. How are you? You sound horrible. I can’t understand a word you are saying. What is the matter with you? Is this cancer? I know it’s cancer. I know the look and...”

“That’s not a very nice thing to say,” he said once. But then he stopped saying that.

Those were the rules. He said there weren’t any rules; that I projected them and held on to them because I wanted control; yet every week we talked in the same room for 10 years and then another room for 23 years or maybe it was 17 years at the first house with the room at the top of the stairs and the weird defunct brown stove in the waiting room and the 47 New Yorker Magazines and 13 years in the long room by the sea with the white carpet and the same old chairs and a painting I didn’t much like of some city in the rain. Sometimes he would stand up and pick up a piece of lint from the carpet and then sit back down and he started to wear these knit gloves because his hands had become so thin and so cold. And I talked and I talked and I talked. I knew it was bad the time he didn’t stand up when it was time for me to leave because he was so very courtly. When my eyes met his on the way out or maybe they didn’t, maybe I just wished they did, I sort of bowed. After awhile it didn’t matter what I said so much as that we kept at it.

I’d get all worked up every few years and say what is this, why are we still doing this, nobody does this anymore and he would say we are just talking and I believed him.

The last time we talked was a week before he died and I was desperate. I couldn’t thank him enough because when I thanked him he would just keep listening to me. I wrote something down to stop the flow. “Your listening has allowed me to believe I live inside a bigger listening,” I said between beeps.”

His wife called four days later and I went to the funeral. I sat at a table with his swimming buddies from high school.

In the final analysis what I am left with is the sense of his intention. He believed in what we were doing together. It absolutely mattered and it was able to matter 100% because it was prescribed and because it was prescribed it was limitless. We never talked about that.

It occurs to me that that room with the uncomfortable furniture was just a waiting room. He waited with me and then it turned out I was waiting with him. A month or so before he died, he pushed himself out of the brown leather chair with the duct tape wrapped around its arms. He looked out of the low window that looked out on Long Island Sound where he said there were seals feeding which I could never see. “We are so lucky,” he said.

A Response to Claims of anti-Semitism against the Women’s March 2019 , David Merav

A Response to Claims of anti-Semitism against the Women’s March 2019

Merav, David

sorry but-

if you're Jewish, white, and not going to the women's March this year because you think the leaders are anti-Semites, you are allowing your privilege as a white Jew to excuse yourself from protesting issues that are happening in this country.

If you are staying home because the women's March cares about Palestinians and not about Israel (a state you only have rights to enjoy because you are a Jew), you never cared enough about Palestinians.

If you cared enough, you'd be standing in solidarity with those who are oppressed on the daily in the US and by the US. You'd be putting your own feelings aside about Zionism and marching to free Black folks, Indigenous folks, Queer folks, refugees and Palestinians from oppression caused by the racist country you inhabit.

The march is not perfect, but this is not your time to put yourself before others.

Your opinions on Israel are not a bargaining tool for you to use when other marginalized communities need help.

If you are only showing up to support others when they support your privilege, you are, in fact, privileged.

Consider what forces are persuading your belief that women of color are out to get you -- this is white supremacy, trying to divide the people fighting against it. Anti-Semitism and white supremacy should be protested, not WOC.

Face This, Timesha Conyers-Hopes

April 30, 2018

I decided to stand by all the promises I made myself

I finally stood up and I spoke as myself

 

I chose to defend myself in my own way

I chose to stand up and publicly say #METOO

I know what you’ve been through

 

I’ve been there, I’ve lived that ugly truth

But it’s not your fault

And there’s no need to be ashamed

 

You are not to blame

For someone else’s actions

And please don’t let this drive you insane

 

Face your truth

Do whatever it is that you feel comfortable doing

This situation is yours and no one else’s

 

You don’t have to report

You don’t have to tell the world too

But you must do… something

 

Because 1/6 women are victims, but yet so many suffer alone

I’ll never forget how robbed I felt when that stranger entered my home

MY temple

 

Uninvited

There’s no feeling like it

But, just as many others

 

My rapist wasn’t actually a stranger

93% of Juvenile victims know their perpetrator

Our young girls are getting raped by people they know

 

I was 17

Girls ages 16-19 are 4 times more likely than the general population to be victims of rape, attempted rape, or sexual assault

I was going into my freshman year of college

 

Lacking not knowledge but peace

Living with PTSD

I wish someone would have told me how much easier it’d be … to stop running away and face this

 

Face your truth

Erasure Make Her Disappear, Katie Jones

Erasure make her disappear

Make me un-know my own existence

I stopped seeking in me and would search for her in every godly and ungodly thing that would touch me.

Erasure be the absence. Be the angry silence. Be the suffocated cries. Erasure be hiding. Killing. Lying. Erasure takes. Erasure shames. Pushes. Buries. Forsakes. She is shrunk and she shrinks indefinitely into negative space. She is stolen and she trains herself in numbness. She trains and masters the erasure of self.

 

Complicit be accomplice. Partner. Minion. Sheep. Helper. Mule. Keeper. Protector, and of what? 

Complicit is soldier. Is loyal. Is rider. Aide. Complicit enables. Empowers. Emboldens, but whom? Complicit makes allowance. Makes excuses. Makes permissible no matter how atrocious. Complicit says knows no better. Complicit says got nothin better.

 

Body be home. Body be skin. Body be bones. Body be my structure. Form. Protector. House. Sanctuary. 

Parent. Lover. Friend. Prison. Vessel. 

Site of violation. Site of liberation. Body be the Earth. Body comes from and gives birth. Body machines. Our first body is Mother. Sanctuary. A ship. A boat. A bird. Body carries- So much. 

Breath and Soul Residence, sometimes vacant and full of absence. 

Body be my mobile home. Child. Instrument. Canvas. Muse. Pain. Beauty. Body tells time. Senses. Sexes. Blood. Water. Bone. Breath. Tissues. Skin Nails Eyes Mouth Nose Ears Respiration and Nervous system and systems of creation and learning. Body be a temple. Body Be Thee temple.

 

Of means pertaining to. Born from. For the. On behalf. In accord with. Targeting. Interest.

 

The is an article. The implying universal. One. All. Absolute. And sometimes nothing.

 

How have I been? Complicit in. Erasure of. The body.

 

 

Ways to be and do. Simple ways. Complex ways. Deeply disturbing ways. Seemingly normal but harmful ways.

 

Complicit (me) (in) erasure of the body.

 

Putting it in clothes that don't love it, just because somebody likes it that way, just because I'd convinced myself to want it that way, in order to belong, to seem okay- would make me okay, would make it okay....Right?

To assign body the role of object- to play it to be desired, coveted, envied, hated, lusted, feared, objectified, scarred, pillaged, dumped, 

 

Shrinking and slouching it. Concaving, hunching shoulders back and ass. Make it small. Don't stand out. Don't be seen. Don't intimidate. Don't tempt. Don't be different. Don't be ugly. Don't be shining. Don't be. 

 

Scrape it good.  

 

Leave it. Abandon it. Starve it. Stuff it. Force it. Be like "this old thing?" Like a meatcase and no claim to it. "I'm sure glad you like it. Oh You Love it?! You must love me too. You must love me enough for the both of us." 

 

I have detached. Disowned. Tolerated. Berated. Hated. Aggravated. This Body. This body. My body. 

 

Have allowed body to spend time in spaces with people who didn't know how to love her. How to care for her. Even doctors. Even teachers.

Even I didn't know. How to love her or how to listen. But I knew the sun and the sea knew how. 

The sun and the sea. They held without harming, even with their limits and their warnings. Due recognition of innate power. They resist their own erasure something mighty and they stay fierce.

 

I left this body stagnant many times. In a slump, in a funk. Fed her life-draining food and exposed her to poison of the cells and spirit.

Made her work for someone else.

Didn't do her justice. Chained voice away saying it was for survival. Denied her strength, tied her legs that would have run away to stop the abuse. Boiled her down to assimilate with the crowd.

Convinced my mind she didn't mind it. She'd be fine. Still wasn't dead anyway, all the way. Wasn't worth a fuss. Wasn't gonna get out of a rut, anyway. She only exists when he say, when they want, only when somebody presses, pushes, forces, holds, hurts.

 

 

Damn.

 

There's a flip to this. There's a new way I been Complicit. Complicit (me) (In the) Revival. of the Body.

 

She is here. She is with me. She is mine. I am hers. We are together. We are full. We are heartbroken. We are enraged. We are in love. We are dancing. We are singing. We are fighting. For the Body. To exist. For the body. To be un-erased. For the body. To be Free. We are well and we are not alone. We exist for the joy of creation itself. We are healing. We are shedding. We are burying. We are planting. We are honoring. We are building a Body of Love.

 

(Song: this Body loves me and I love her back)