“Do you want me to tell you a story?” I asked.
Then I added, “None of you are going to like it.”
Nobody said anything. I paused to think about how I would start. Words began to string themselves together in my head: “When I was nine, my mother got very sick…” But before I could make the words come out of my mouth, I realized I couldn’t say them. Not here in my parents’ bedroom.
I woke up: hyperventilating, furious, but safe in my own bed.
This blog is a companion to my more public website, a place where I’ll sometimes to try to say the things I don’t feel safe saying when my parents are listening.
When people come to my studio and ask me about my sculptures, inevitably I have to tell stories about trauma and therapists and healing and transformation. Healing isn’t always pretty, and it doesn’t always feel good.
I thought about saying these things anonymously, but ultimately that didn’t feel right. Anonymity feels like hiding, like shame, and I’ve had enough of that. I need to be heard. Anonymity also allows my darker impulses to run amok (in my dream, I ripped the stairs away from the living room wall with my bare hands). My real name provides a necessary boundary.
I don’t want to hurt anyone. I just want to stop feeling so much like this:
That all sounds kind of grim, but it’s not the whole story. I actually have a pretty great life: a husband, friends, a comfortable place to live, and satisfying work. When I’m in my studio, I spend a lot of time looking like this: