This past Wednesday, I spoke in the Humanities class of my friend Dylan Eret at the community college where I teach. His class had been studying images of monsters as representations of culture and society. They had also been reading illness narratives–expressions of the individual as well as the social context in which they were written.
In my presentation, I spoke about my surgery for pyloric stenosis at three weeks old and my attempts to understand, through writing and art, the impact of this on my life. Below are two of the images I shared in the class. They show the idea that I had held of myself as a baby–”Bad Baby” and “Mummy Baby.” That chapter in my life and in the life of my family, when chaos reigned and my survival was uncertain, was monstrous in a way, and my mother’s descriptions of me before and just after surgery burned horrifying images onto my brain. I bring these images out of my subconscious into the light of day for healing, insight, and reconciliation.