Thursday, December 29, 2016

My Experience With Painting Number 4 "I Remember ..."

This is my best attempt at recalling what happened during the 8th painting of the Childhood Fractured.

“I lost my virginity when I was 6 years old.” Allen said. A silence pierced through the studio. The space was well lit. My eyes rolled over to Cheryl. She was filming. A camera was in front of her face, however, I caught a sliver of it. And it read, mortification. Those words – I lost my virginity when I was 6 years old – have been reverberating in my mind. To even approach the implications of that sentence leaves my soul exasperated. I lost my virginity when I was 6 years old. A sentence, perhaps, I will never forget.

Allen’s countenance shifted. Moments before uttering I lost my virginity when I was 6, and begging this painting session, Allen was his usual self: boisterous, joyful, level, and confident. Now in front of canvas he was vulnerable, open, and lost in expressing a trauma passed into art. His voice was soft. His posture was not masculine. He let his guard down.

Allen chose to use blue as the background. He made quick work of this with intuitive strokes from his paintbrush.  He began giving form to the room in which his virginity was lost at 6. Strokes of purples and greens were used in a contrasting manner throughout. He carried on painting and narrating. Something I have since grown accustomed too. And he was to remain in this creative state until something happened. Somewhere in this creative excitement Allen lost himself in the center of darkness.

I watched Allen descend into pain in front of me. I was as curious as I was empathetic in regards to what was going on inside of this man’s mind and heart. All the sudden, his paint covered hands began shaking. Then his body. These shakes turned into violent tremors. Allen’s speech began breaking. He could hardly get a word out. He grabbed his paintbrush with a quivering right hand and attempted to paint. I could see his brown eyes behind the frames of his glasses. And they read, courage.

Watching a full-grown man break down in front of you is profound. When a man breaks down in front of you because he is reconstructing the memories of his sexual abuse, it is inspiring. I was given the privilege of watching a man, Allen, plunge himself, once more, into the murky waters of traumatic memories passed. Only to return stronger. And for what? For his own art career? Glory or Fame? No. He did this to help other people. He was doing this out of sacrifice. The most selfless of all human characteristics.

After this temporary break down, Allen finished the rest of this painting with creative clairvoyance. The video we taken of this session will capture it better than my words. We began decompressing and meditating on the experience as we do after each session. This began with a huge, collective exhale. For us we feel it is necessary to talk about the rigid complexities of sexual abuse if we want to heal.

Allen was pondering the motives of this girls who sexually abused him which is the subject matter of this painting. One of the girls, who the act was commenced with, was his age, 6 years old. The other girl, who was older, was the perverted orchestrater, the architect of the act. She was the force behind this act being committed. She forced Allen and her little sister to have sex. As we sat in a circle, I pondered their motives as did Cheryl.

I posited that they, whether implicit or explicit, committed these acts of sexual abuse out of instinct or necessity. These girls, without a shadow of a doubt, did not one day happen upon this mode of behavior. They were taught this. Forced into doing these terrible things in their own home. And in this context, by their own parents. When this series is completed this will be revealed in its entirety. You can understand this behavior if I say: When I am hungry, I eat. When I am thirsty, I drink. When they are bored, nonplussed, or in a libidinal frame of mind, they commit acts, or force others to commit acts of sexual abuse.

Sexual abuse, I am begging to grasp, is learned. It is impressed upon people by people who have had it impressed upon them. And in this context, it is the parents of the Morgan children. For the uninitiated, the Morgan parents were the perverted orchestraters behind Allen’s childhood sexual abuse. Allen has a profound empathy for the children who abused him. Indirectly, it wasn’t their fault. And he has a profound empathy for all those who have the same lived experience. This is sentiment I have gleamed off him.

These posts are not the focal point of our project. They are window in what we are doing. And if you see something through this window that touches you, please compel yourself to take up the mission of ending the sexual abuse of children. I couldn’t live with myself if I didn’t at least try.   


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