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Two Images: Trauma Interruptus

“Haunted Shrimp Baby” and “Moth Baby” are two pictures that I drew with colored pencils and black magic marker back in 1999, trying to come to terms with my infant surgery. At the time, I was not aware that I hadn’t been given anesthesia for the operation.

As I uploaded these pictures, I was scowling. Such bondage! ¬† The inertness of the images cried out, both “babies” trapped in tight bandages. The first image screams insanity, the shrimp laughing as inner darkness consumes her. She scares me with her demonic face. Her tail appears pinned on and is anything but functional.¬†Neither creature has legs; no agency whatsoever.

In “Moth Baby,” the antennae depict replicas of the scar from my pyloric stenosis surgery; one antenna has four stitches, one five. Five is the actual number on my middle. As I re-count the stitches, I feel ugly. Seeing my scar does not always make me feel this way, but it does today. In the picture, my tiny, pink face looks like it’s about to burst! ¬†No cry or baby die–the mantra the surgeon taught my mother.

A shrimp floating in air. A moth baby with wings pressed to its body. Art can tell the raw truth: trauma interruptus.

0 Responses to Two Images: Trauma Interruptus

  1. What scary yet meaningful drawings! The total paralysis, the different messages of the demonic and fear in the eyes of the creatures, the symbolism of the tail and antennae… This art is so graphic and sad whilst also being very creative. No wonder you were scowling and feeling rather ugly when you put this post together. I’m grateful that the starkest truth of these images is history and hope that your writing and art help continue to give you deep healing.

  2. What scary yet meaningful drawings! The total paralysis, the different messages of the demonic and fear in the eyes of the creatures, the symbolism of the tail and antennae… This art is so graphic and sad whilst also being very creative. No wonder you were scowling and feeling rather ugly when you put this post together. I’m grateful that the starkest truth of these images is history and hope that your writing and art help continue to give you deep healing.

  3. Thank you so much. Your comments continue to sustain me. Yes, I am grateful that I no longer need to make these types of drawings. It’s wonderful to look back though and see them in retrospect. This process helps me understand what I went through and even casts light on what I still go through. Thanks for accompanying me in my healing journey.

  4. Thank you so much. Your comments continue to sustain me. Yes, I am grateful that I no longer need to make these types of drawings. It’s wonderful to look back though and see them in retrospect. This process helps me understand what I went through and even casts light on what I still go through. Thanks for accompanying me in my healing journey.

  5. You’re always telling us how powerful writing is as a healing tool. Art is incredibly powerful too.

    As a teenager, I was drugged, chained up, and physically and sexually assaulted by two men. I didn’t realize how many complex, twisted emotions I had stuck inside me after that, until two years later, when someone in my art class asked for submissions to a show called Artists Against Violence Against Women. I got a new sheet of paper and some paint, and proceeded to enter the most artistically prolific, therapeutic period of my life. The art that came out of my brush scared me, even as it healed me. It drained the poison from the wound. The scar will always be there, but the art was a conduit for the anguish to escape.

    • How powerful! I’m so glad you took advantage of the opportunity to paint and “drain the poison.” What bravery! On another note, I’m so sorry you had to go through that.

  6. You’re always telling us how powerful writing is as a healing tool. Art is incredibly powerful too.

    As a teenager, I was drugged, chained up, and physically and sexually assaulted by two men. I didn’t realize how many complex, twisted emotions I had stuck inside me after that, until two years later, when someone in my art class asked for submissions to a show called Artists Against Violence Against Women. I got a new sheet of paper and some paint, and proceeded to enter the most artistically prolific, therapeutic period of my life. The art that came out of my brush scared me, even as it healed me. It drained the poison from the wound. The scar will always be there, but the art was a conduit for the anguish to escape.

    • How powerful! I’m so glad you took advantage of the opportunity to paint and “drain the poison.” What bravery! On another note, I’m so sorry you had to go through that.

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