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.