The Scar was “A Monster Flying Around”: My Third Pastel

A whirling dervish spins on my belly. Words on the lower left half of the pastel identify it: “The scar. It’s like a beast. Scares me.” On the lower right: “It’s a monster. And it’s flying around.” On my belly, a thick band of shiny scar tissue, a pale and sickly worm. This scar deemed me ugly early on, so who would want to look at it or write about it? Not me. But if I was to write my memoir about my infant surgery for pyloric stenosis, then I had to.

I’m surprised at all the color in the pastel. Red for blood and black to make the scar stand out. Magenta for healing, and orange? Who knows. It was my mom’s favorite color.

The scar as pictured has arms, a skirt, and legs flying. A dancer of sorts. Uncontrollable. I didn’t like thinking about this dervish; it represented so much I didn’t want to know about but had to. 

Notice the random magenta pock marks around it. On my belly, there are isolated dots to the right and left of the scar–vestiges of the way the incision was sewn up in those days.

The scar was like a hole in the ground I had to enter–the place I had to go to get the real story. Not the story fed to me–You didn’t feel a thing. The actual horror. I was at the opening of the underworld.



Images Key to Unlocking Preverbal Trauma

My pastel “Self-Hate,” on display at the Sacramento Poetry Center this month, along with two others of mine and those of eight other artists who also write as part of Jennifer O’Neill Pickering’s Sable & Quill exhibit, is an expression of the feelings I felt about my body and about life in general, especially as… Continue Reading