she inserts the speculum and then leaves the room she touches me with sterile gloves
she makes me kiss with tongue
spin in a circle
dance with others
pushes into me further when i tell her to stop
how did it feel
to tell someone, a stranger
how did it feel
when they said what you have been unable (for so many years) how did it feel
said, “thank you for sharing”
The markings on my sculptures come from my first exposure to art and female bodies as a teen, figure drawing on Tuesdays after school. I remember the first time. Everyone was older– I ate four of the free chocolate biscuits out of nervousness. My heart beat so fast as the woman disrobed, but then I really liked it, drawing her curves.
I love you but I don’t know how to love
Six months ago, I became obsessed with the relationship between killer whales in captivity and their trainers. The more I studied Tilikum and Dawn, Keto and Alexis, John and Shouky, the more it became apparent that there was a love between them. Whales masturbated for their sperm with warm cow hearts, by professionals in bright blue wetsuits. Professionals who kissed them and fed them and rubbed their limp fins daily. Twisted, displaced, unnatural, but love all the same.
Sometimes you are violated by those who meant to hurt you. Sometimes you experience it by those who were meant to care for and love you. I love you but I don’t know how to love.
The belts, the pinks, the stickers, the miniature smiling faces, everything that I have collected and cher- ished and spent time on my body.
The day I started these sculptures was the day that Tilikum died. I had just seen him a month prior. I paid $110 for a Seaworld ticket. On the way to the airport home I made my dad pull over and I threw up on the side of the road.
How do we trivialize trauma, how do we appropriate pain, turn it into a spectacle, put it on a t-shirt. I love you but I don’t know how to love.
*25% of sales will be given to the Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society.