I don't experience love as a blessing. On the contrary, my body and mind usually react to it as a... Read More
I don't experience love as a blessing. On the contrary, my body and mind usually react to it as a threat to my safety. Because, on an unconscious level, love reminds me of the sexual abuse I suffered at the hand of my grandfather as a child. It's like a fire burning on an old wound that is still not fully healed. In fact, in the meantime, it's widened under the pressure of further sexual assaults and psychological abuse I was subject to as a young adult. Thus, affection and love open up in me the dungeons of anger, fear, grief, guilt, self-blame, hatred, loneliness, suicidal thoughts...That's all mixed up with an unbearable longing for an emotional connection with the object of my love. In this last year of psychoanalytical therapy, I started picturing these bad feelings as fat black rats with red eyes surrounding and raiding me from the inside. They were the result of a literary elaboration of my journey to healing from trauma.
For all my life, I have struggled with them. I have attempted to ignore them, escaping any hint of love, suffocating the inner fire that burns in me with the hope of not waking them up. I let other men use me as my grandfather did just because that's what I learned to love was about. And now I'm just at a dead-end of my journey. I cannot pretend they are not there anymore.
So, I decided to let them all come into the open, giving them the room in my life, but without letting them dominate it anymore. Now I face them, I hear their screams while I fade within the flames of the love that has been inspiring me - through images and words, like spurts of blood - to break free from my captivity in the underworld. So that, when I will finally come out of it, as a modern Persephone, I will become the guide of other kidnapped Kores in the depths of hell - as the Jungian psychoanalyst, Jean Shinoa Boden wrote in her essay book Goddesses in Every Woman.
With this painting, I made the conscious choice of letting the fire, not only of love but of art, burn me alive together with the rats that fill my void. And that's why I actually burned some sections of the canvas to let the unexpressed love for this man sneaks out. In other words, I created some openings for it to take its place within the exploration of my own mental health struggle. Openings that become wounds, like stigmata, on my body's projection on the canvas, from which the ribbons of never-sent love letters flow out.
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