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repost incest/ honor father
February 23, 2009
12:04 pm
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so they say
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so they say
23-Feb-09

Hi first time here.

Can't believe I stumbled onto this site tonight. I was just praying that I would have some place to speak openly and completely about how I was feeling about the abuse of my past and my current situation.

I was reading and cried when I read Timn61 Sept 26, 08 letter "from" his Mom. When he writes about his free spirit before he came to his mother, it made me think about how I always believed I could fly. Here I am now 45 and wondering if the dirt will ever come off of me, so I can stretch out my wings and take off. I still believe somewhere deep inside of me I am good enough to fly, but I still haven't figured out how.

On the surface I look like I am functioning, but on the inside I am so jealous of real people. I don't know how to feel pretty or truly climb out of this hole. I always feel like I am different. I have learned how to say no. How to make things stop, but I can't seem to learn how to be successful. It seems so easy for other people.

I am trying to rise above the sexual abuse by my father and brother. I have not been in that situation since I left home at 17 and got married. My Mom passed away almost two years ago and now my Dad needs help being taken care of and the memories just keep surfacing and surfacing. I thought I had dealt with them fairly well, but my Dad had to stay at my house for 2weeks till we could get him into an apart. and I hated the fact that I let a pedophile in my house. My kids are older teens and know what he did to me and my 5 siblings, (not the details) but it killed me because I said I would never do what my Mom did and let him around my kids. I took time off work and he was not left alone with my kids, but it brought up so much junk I am having a hard time functioning. He is in his aprt. now.

So my question is: What are my responsibilities to honor my father? I am trying to rise above this and do what God would want me to do. I am trying to decide on what my character is but I am conflicted. I am repulsed by him and yet I want to love my Dad. Any suggestions?

February 23, 2009
12:07 pm
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Randomwomen2
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It is not your responsibility to honor your father honestly sweetheart he is not worth honoring instead listen to this verse
"When my father and my mother forsake me, then the LORD will take me up." This is from Psalm 27:10 Instead turn that Love and Honor to God because He took you up when your father failed too.

February 23, 2009
12:20 pm
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But honoring God is forgiving and doing his will even when it is tough. I am not saying I put myself in harms way.

February 23, 2009
12:24 pm
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Something that I am learning is Forgiveness doesnt mean forgetfulness You can forgive someone with out forgetting. My mother who is one of my abusers went and had surgery and you know what I made the 12 hour drive to see her. They are our parents and always will be.

February 23, 2009
12:29 pm
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It No Longer Matters
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This is a tough one. I grew up in Christian school and had honor thy father and mother drilled into my brain.

My mother was a bad alcoholic who caused a lot of people (not just me) at lot of pain and heartache. You are honoring him by not letting him live on the street. You are honoring him by making sure he is taken care of. Beyond that...nothing. Yes, you probably need to at some time forgive him for what he did to you, but forgive him to make yourself better not to make him feel better and forgiving doesn't mean you have to forgive and go back for a second dose of hurt or expose your family to it.

I was molested by a half brother that was never really acknowledged by my mother. I have forgiven him. He had a bad childhood and was the son of not one(like me) but two crazy people. His father died in a mental hospital. He was what he was. I went to my mothers funeral but did not tell anyone who I was and I did not speak to him.

Bitsy

February 23, 2009
12:31 pm
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I might also suggest reading The Shack. That is what set me down the path of forgiving. I can forgive but I don't have to forget.

Bitsy

February 23, 2009
12:34 pm
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is the book triggering bitsy?

February 23, 2009
1:15 pm
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Bisty,

I read The Shack it helped me too, on the road to forgiveness, and aslo spoke to me a lot about, being judgemental. Good book !

So they say,

I had abusive parents and was sexually abused also. Thisis something that is going to take time to recover from.

I think to help your father, after what he did shows the love you truely have for him. Pray about the situation, ask GOD to help you to honor your father, and guide you with how to handle the situation. Also ask him on how you can do this in a way that makes you feel safe.

He will show you the way. Look to scripture for guidance. I will pray for you.

tb

February 23, 2009
1:43 pm
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Don't read the shack as theology. Read it as a good story. Forgiving people who have wronged us frees up a lot of space inside ourselves for ourselves.

Bitsy

February 23, 2009
1:52 pm
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truthBtold
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so they say,

Fisrt off, welcome to this site!

Secondly, I am glad that you have moved your post over here to the Libs side.

Thirdly, the great thing about this site is the opportunity to gather up different perpectives/viewpoints from others to consider and chew on and to eventually come to your OWN conclusions....what just sits right and true to you own heart, mind and soul.

All that being said, personally I have had to battle this idea....this notion....this moralistic, empirical demand (if you will) of 'rising above' with respect to the communication with my parents insomuch as the COMMANDMENT to 'honor thy father and mother' is concerned.

Being raised Catholic....it is SO INGRAINED.

All of us here are on different planes with respect to our own growth.

So, its good to keep that in mind.

Personally, I have had issue with aging parents and my father who sexually abused all his daughters and find myself torn between this ingrained notion to 'honor' etc along with perhaps an overly felt feelings contributing to excessive loyalty.

Excessive loyalty.

For what it is worth, I am going to post a link to amazon.com relating to the book: "The Body Never Lies: The Lingering Effects of Hurtful Parenting" by Alice Miller

In it, she talks specifically about this COMMANDMENT to honor thy mother and father:

I find the comments and the ratings by others extremely helpful.

Just my little 2 cents........

Food for thought.

Again, welcome to this site!

February 23, 2009
2:18 pm
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You know I have to look at it this way Do unto others and you would have done to you. Did your father remember this one? Forgiving and forgetting are two diffent ball games. Ive been down this road.

February 23, 2009
2:27 pm
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truthBtold
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so they say,

I was remiss in asking you if he has ever fessed up to what he did to you?

I mean, being really and truly and sincerely remorseful and fessing up.

And apologizing and asking for fogiveness.

If he did, well then MAYBE that is something that you can possibly work from.

If not, then maybe contact with him is not in your best interest under any circumstances.

All of us would like to think of ourselves as somehow "rising above' this circumstance.

That we are somehow and in someway able to be 'saint-like.'

Truth is, I think, it doesn't really work that way.

Not really.

Wonderful ideaology.

But not when our bodies and our gut feelings tell us differrently............

February 23, 2009
3:11 pm
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I feel I have forgiven my dad. Not for him but for me. My heart is not filled with hate and I can stand to be in the same room with him, long enough for a short visit. It hurts though because he is cold and indifferent to me and I don't deserve that. My other siblings are not helping much and I am in so much pain, I don't even know what I want. His face lights up when he tells me my sister called him and she lives 5 minutes from him and she can't come visit him. More is being left for me because I am the "strong", "normal" one.
I have worked very hard for healing and growth. Without the support of my family. Guess it is hard to help someone else when you yourself are drowning.
My husband has been supportive as best he can, but he doesn't really know what I go through.

Hope nobody minds, but I just need to unload some of the hurt I have been carrying around. I am very sensitive to what others project about me. My mother would always say I would be nothing more than a house wife with a dead end job. She would ask how long am I going to be a victim? She once (in a hurtful tone)told me she would never let a man put a penis in her mouth like some prostitute or something. But that is what she allowed my dad to do for years and years. Why didn't she protect me like she said she would do? You can imagine my heartbreak when my older sister told me my mom knew about the abuse when my sister was five and my mom told her to tell the authorities it didn't happen. My mom knew and let it happen to all six of her kids. We moved all the time. The longest I ever lived anywhere was 1 1/2 years. I never met my dad's family and i met my mom's 3 times that I can remember. My mom was my only support network. The problem is that she lied all the time. But I didn't know that till later. It was earth shattering to realize my very foundation was built on lies and I didn't know what was true or not. It's scary as hell to be 17 and trying to decide for myself what is right/wrong or true. All of this from a wounded, dirty, shameful child's perception. The perception of a little girl who could not make herself into a boy, so that this bad stuff didn't happen. The only thing I felt like I had to go on was the Brady Bunch. Really, can you believe it. My mom said it was just a tv show and not true, but I believed it was possible and I set out to find it. I met, engaged and married my husband in 7 months. Things were going somewhat smooth. My parents were out of state and my husband's didn't have the same issues I had. They are pretty normal. I not not tell my husband about the abuse for at least 5 years. It was really hard when I was pregnant. I was so scared I was going to do what my Dad had done. This type of abuse cycles and I was scared if my dad couldn't control it then maybe I wouldn't be able to either. I never told anyone but I made a pack with myself that if I ever even felt the slightest desire to do something like this I would pick myself up and run as far away as I could without any explanation and no guilt for leaving. It was what was best the the child. Thankfully I never once felt any desire to abuse my kids. Not even once. There were lots of issues like trust and sure something was happening to the kids. I asked my mom to watch my son once and told her my dad is not to watch him and I was gone 1/2 hr. when I got back my mom was not home and my dad was babysitting. That was the last time I ever asked them to watch my kids. As a result my kids only saw their grandparents once in a while, and always with us. My kids are now grown. I have worked many years on dealing with the abuse.

I decided I wanted to show my kids that I could become whoever I wanted to be. I went back to school at the age of 38 and by challenging my mom's perception of what I would be has been difficult for me. I decided to follow my heart it it lead me to art school to become a stone carver. Twenty years earlier I carved a stone in school. It was the only thing I ever remember doing where I lost track of time and when it was finished I didn't want it to stop. I took a huge leap of faith but I applied to a prestigious art school. They let me in and gave me scholarship money. The school was 2 hrs away from my home. My kids were teenagers so I commuted the 4hr drive a couple of times per week to find my dream. I put is some very long days. It took every fiber of me to believe I was worth doing this.

My junior year was when the shit really hit the fan. My mother in law was dying of cancer and my husband is an only child and sees his parents everyday. I took a leave from school and helped my husband to care for his dying mother. Meantime my dad had many surgeries on his legs because of poor circulation and my mom's health was failing rapidly also. My confidence in my abilities as an artist were shaking so much. I didn't know how much longer I could hold on.
My father in law who was mad at me because I wasn't falling apart like they were lashed out at me and attacked me for going to school and not making my kids my first priority. He didn't realize my life has taught me how to be tough in crisis. I don't fall apart until later when everyone is ok. I barely believed I was worthy to follow a dream and being attacked when I was vulnerable was crushing.

I started back up the next month and finished up my work from the previous semester. My mom's health was failing and I took a leave from some of my classes and some said they work work with me to complete them. I was putting 21 hrs days. I was exhausted and becoming numb. My mom was lonely and scared. Since my family was not visiting her much I made it a point to do it more my self. One night at 2:30 am when I got home from school and stopped in to check on my mom at the nursing home they just put her in to die, since my mom was big and we couldn't lift her to care for her. She snapped at me and asked were have you been. I snapped back "at school" and with that she began to breath the death breathing. I called my Dad to tell him I think she is dying and he said he would come she her tomorrow. He had just gotten out of the hospital that very day from surgery and was exhausted, but he would send my brother to sit with her. I then called and woke my husband to come and he said now? I didn't think he was coming, so i am sitting in this dark room holding my mom's hand and wiping the foam that kept coming out of her with every breath telling her we loved her and she would take one more breath. Finally I remembered what hospice taught me just a few weeks earlier. To give permission for them to go, so I said mom we are going to be ok and with that she took her last
breath. About 15 minutes later my husband showed up. Almost an hour later my brother showed up.

So my mother in law passes away in Nov. I hold my mom as she passes away March 1st and now my dad has his leg amputated on May 1st and I am left to help care for him. And I have to write my senior thesis about why I make art. These events opened the boxes I had learned to pack away the abuse and crumby childhood I lived. More about my thesis later is anyone is interested.

So you can she I have had a lot to deal with lately. I can't believe my mom passing will be two years in a few weeks. All of this compounds the situation with my Dad.

Hope you don't mind me venting. I need to go to work now.

February 23, 2009
3:51 pm
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((((so they say)))))

Oh geesh - I can not even begin to imagine your pain rioght now.

Do you realize just how damned strong you have been through all of this crap?????

I really don't even know where to start.

Save to say that there has been a real wise poster here in the past - Ladeska.

Basically (for me) she really nailed it spot-on when she said that "they try and make you wear who they are."

I think that that is pretty much the bottom-line.

Bitter pill.

Real pill.

I wish that I could offer you more than than that right now.

Perhaps others can.

My heart and prayers are with you right now.

((((so they say)))))

February 23, 2009
5:46 pm
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(((so they say)))
I am so sorry for everything you are going through right now.

February 23, 2009
7:24 pm
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so they say~

You have my utmost admiration.

peace

February 24, 2009
1:51 am
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Thank you for your prayers and support. It felt good and scary to talk openly about how I was feeling. I am feeling a little better now. Boy was it a tough day! I have not felt this bad in a long time. I think that means I now feel it is safe enough for me to try and deal with what has been going on. The crisis is over and now I need to make sense of it. If I can. Or at least where I stand on the problem. Thanks for the book references. I hope to check into them tomorrow.

truthBtold My dad did admit to what he did. My mom tried to sit the two of us together and have him apologize for the abuse, what I got was his reason for doing it. Because he was abused. I don't remember remorse, or him saying he was sorry. More like he was sorry he got caught, which was really weird since I am the fourth child of six to be sexually abused by him and my mom knew when the first child was molested many years before.

I can remember how hard it was to tell on my dad when my mom would not quit grilling me about my dad's abuse. How do we learn to be so protective of an abuser. Something I didn't ask for. Something I never wanted. Something I am not the blame for and yet I felt so wrong in admitting. Betraying a trust. How's that for warped.

One thing I came to realize is the secret is not mine. I can tell who ever I want. so they say

February 27, 2009
4:52 pm
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so they say,

I have been thinking about your post for a couple of days now.

I am so glad that you got alot of that stuff off your chest and am feeling better for it.

We ARE only as sick as our secrets - and telling our own truth and having other people believe and validate us can be very freeing!

I think, in many ways, the perps almost count on the social taboo of it all and pretty much bank on it, to a certain extent.

That's where telling our story and breaking the silence helps us to TAKE BACK our power!!!!!!

I won't go into any great detail about my own circumstances right now, except to say that after 3 years of no contact, my elderly parents contact me out fo the blue - not to ask how I was doing or anything - but to basically drop a big ole guilt trip in my lap - saying that they are 'getting up there in age and have some health concerns etc...."

So naturally, wanting to 'rise to the occasion' like you, I get all involved still wanting to please and come across as the 'dutiful daughter.'

But the thing is....my body knows differently.

After about a couple of months - I noticed that I just couldn't be around them.

I just couldn't!!!!!
My body just simply won't let me anymore.

I am 47 years old.

Back in my mid 20's, I felt my body just go way out of whack.

I mean, my father-in-law at the time had died (a real safe father figure for me) and that came back to back with my sister (who has since passed on) being admitted into the hospital becuase of complications of cirrohsis of the liver.

But the thing was - because her condition was due to alcoholism - neither the hospital
nor she would tell me or any family member just exactly WHAT was going on?????

Not like when someone you love is in the hpsital and suffers a heart attack and the family is kept in the loop as just to waht exactly happened, what is the daignosis and prognosis.

NOTHING like that at all.

It was like - mum was the word.

So, OK - the reason I say all of that is to let you know what happened next.

This stressed me out soooo much that I just felt, like I said before, that my whole entire body just felt out of whack.

So, it was really no surprise at all to me to find out at my next pap smear that I had invasive squemicell cancer of the cervix.

I had to undergo an immediate emergency hysterectomy - and luckily the cancer had not spread to my lymph nodes like my doctor was afraid of.

I've been cancer free now for many years.

So - I tell you all of this as a warning of sorts.

LISTEN TO YOUR BODY!!!!!!!

If you are repulsed by being near your father and you feel that he is not really sorry for what he did - just sorry for getting caught - in addition to what seems to be a major manipulation on his part to make sure you see him getting all excited about hearing from your other sister etc....this just ain't healthy for you, honey - I don't think.

So what if you are considered 'the heavy' in your family?

You have GOT to look after YOU FIRST & FOREMOST SO THEY SAY!!!!!!!!!!

ABOVE ANYONE & ANYTHING ELSE!!!!!!!
tBt

March 1, 2009
10:18 pm
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How are you doing so they say?

Been thinking about you.

Been admiring actually - all that you were able to acomplish in spite of incredible odds with regard to your artistic talents and the courage it must have took/muster to prod and move forward - to believe in yourself and your talents - all things considered.....

So - I have been wondering, have been a little bit curious - just what is your thesis about?

March 2, 2009
12:04 am
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(((So they say))), Wow, you are a survivor and then some!!! Good for you and more power to you!!! I'm really sorry about what you have endured and so admire your courage and resiliency.

The whole honor thy father and mother, so that your days on earth may be extended, thing is a real quandary for me as well. I grew with the spare the rod and spoil the child philosophy as well. Between the two of them, I wasn't sure which direction the wind was blowing.

I think the fact that you continue to call them as your mother and father, after all they have perpetrated upon you is honor enough. If you stopped there, you'd be fine by me. Also, the fact that you didn't throw them both in jail, is honor enough. I do not think taking physical care of your abusers constitutes honor. To me it's truly angelic. Over and above the call of duty. So if you can allow yourself to not feel guilty about it, do what you truly can do without resentment building up within you. If no one else is coming to take care of him, this might give him a moment to think about his past actions.

You aren't obligated to be his caretaker. If you feel angry while taking care of him, first heal that ache before you go back. You can even spent a minute or two, letting him know exactly how you feel about him and how he treated you. Tell your siblings to do whatever they wish to do with him, he is their father as well, and allow yourself the time you need.

Seek therapy and support groups while you go through this process. I'm sure a lot of things may be triggered for you.

My Faith of choice states that a parent can loose parental rights and honor if he/she acts in a manner that is not honoring to this role, which is the greatest privilege an individual can be given. Once they loose their parental privileges, they have no say in their children' lives and the children aren't obligated to them. Although the children are encouraged to seek reconciliation, this is not a requirement on the part of the child.

All I can say is, you are an angel among us, and you will be rewarded for your kindness and generosity towards your parents, who definitely aren't deserving of it. Follow your hear and resist the guilt trap. Your story has touched me greatly.

March 3, 2009
2:04 am
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Thanks for your support and encouragement. Wow! I don't know what to say. I've copied my thesis , but unfortunately the images can't be posted on this site.

I've made a great breakthrough! I have felt dirty and like white trash for as long as I can remember. I have no right to feel pretty or dress nice because it is not consistent with who I am. And I know that the abuse was something that happened to me not who I am, but we are shaped by our past and well.... then, this is who I am.

In an earlier response to my post someone wrote "they try to make you wear who they are" I've thought about that for days. I realized I was formed by God before I was born. I existed before he brought me into this world. I already existed! I existed before the abuse. I am not my abuse! I am not at the mercy of who they say I am. I already was before they received me.

Thesis is a little long, but it is written in everyday language. My art teachers thought it was too emotional, so it would be nice to get someone else's feedback.

The View From the Inside
By
Fine Arts Department
DFA 480 I Think

Winter 08

Becoming an artist is much like a Martian becoming a human. First you have to find ways to survive in this new environment. Secondly, you have to learn the customs and decide if you should act accordingly. Lastly, as the character Dennis says in the film Martian Child “you have to face your problems and must never, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, give up. Never, ever, ever, ever. Winston Churchill said that, I think?” (Meyjes 16).
My thesis deals with the struggle of rising from a position of displacement and the alienation that the self feels as it tries to transcend from posttraumatic growth into a new being.
University of North Carolina’s psychology professors, Dr. Richard Tedeschi and Dr. Lawrence Calhoun explain traumatic displacement in the following quote.
Much like earthquakes can impact the physical environment, traumatic circumstances, characterized by their unusual, uncontrollable, potentially irreversible and threatening qualities, can produce an upheaval in a trauma survivor’s major assumptions about the world, their place in it and how they make sense of their daily lives.
Posttraumatic growth can result in a greater sense of personal strength, improved relationships and a deeper appreciation for life. Unfortunately, trauma victims experience a basic paradox along with posttraumatic growth. For example: “I am more vulnerable, yet stronger” (Tedeschi and Calhoun). I have experienced posttraumatic growth and want to go a step further. I want to move beyond the paradox of broken, but stronger. I want to become a new being in the form of an artist.
This essay will compare my journey of becoming a new being, with the journey under taken in Seth Bass and Jonathon Tolins’s film, Martian Child.
Recent tragedy has reopened the trauma of my childhood and has overtaken the spiritual context I thought I was going to make art about. Although my recent work is about struggle, I find hope in the work I have created. I find hope that the self can survive and still be viable after trauma. Hope because survival skills can be invented and if no one comes to your rescue, the forces of the universe will be there to guide you.
This past year, my mother-in-law passed away. Just four months later, my own mother passed away. If that were not enough, two months later, my abusive father had his leg amputated and I helped care for him during his recovery. Being overwhelmed by my circumstances, and finding myself back in the daughter role, experiences of my childhood kept surfacing in my mind. As a child, my family moved often and I did not know my extended family. History and important facts about people were useless information. Everything seemed temporary and without consequence. As an older adult going back to school, I really saw how the disconnect that resulted from lack of social structure during my childhood was taking its toll on me. While other students were quickly memorizing artists’ names and images, I practiced my deer in the headlight look. I realized I usually needed the visual to recall an artist’s name. I think that comes from compartmentalizing with each new move. You put your things in a box and you forget about them until you take them back out. This last year of my life was like opening one of those boxes packed so many years ago. The emotions and memories associated with transition and loss overflowed the container of my mind. Much of my earlier work contained boxes and now, I understood why. They represented the past I was trying to break free from and yet that past was the only security I knew. The following images represent a few pieces of my work that contain boxes. They are works completed prior to this last year. It is easy to see the transition of breaking out of the box and using the box for security.

(1)Bursting Forth 14”x 14.5”x 14.5” (2006) (2) Bursting Forth detail

3) So They Say 16”x 24” (2005) (4) Can’t Draw 7’x 3.5’x 2.5’ (2005)

For example, in image 4, Can’t Draw, I constructed wooden boxes that are stacked on top of one another to form a ziggurat formation. I cast wax multiples of hands extending the middle finger and placed them around the edges of the boxes leading up to a central box. In the central box, I placed a cast plaster face. The face is being protected by two arms and fists that were also cast in plaster. Conceptually, I was showing the inner conflict of my response to being ridiculed in class for a lack of skill which, ironically, I was paying someone to teach me. It also speaks of the right to protect oneself. It was after my brutal year, that I made the connection that I put myself back into the box for security. I could not seem to escape the concept of box. Was I in or was I out?
Exploring the concept further, I created a box series. One of the works was a large cardboard box placed upside down with a small rectangle cut out of the front. I installed plaster eyes on the inside, mimicking a person under the box, looking out of the opening. A few weeks later, an advertisement for a new movie called Martian Child by New Line Cinemas caught my attention. I went to see the movie because it was about a boy who felt so displaced that he lived under a box, just like the one I had created. Was this the help the universe was sending my way?

(5) My Box (untitled) 4’x 2’ (2007) (6) Meyjes. Movie Still. Martian Child. 2007.
Toward the middle of the film, there is a scene where the boy gets expelled from school, and the art hanging from the classroom ceiling was a spelling of my name “CHRISTINA” in big cut-out letters. This is significant because it is my name, the only name in the room, and a celebration of the very name I came to loathe. The sound of it makes me feel sick to my stomach, and yet there it was, being used as artwork itself. The use of my name in conjunction with the connection of the box was enough to convince me to pay close attention to this film. The most incredible part was that the main characters were acting out the very questions I had, and continue to ask myself as I struggle through this cracked self to become an artist. And, they were doing so through the perspective of an abused child who felt displaced and alienated as he tries to become a new being. This movie hit so close to home for me that I felt like I was experiencing God in the very present. I will discuss the following three questions which are quotes from the movie in relation to my work later in this essay: “Is it good to be like everyone else? Why can’t you just be who we want you to be? [and] ‘Cause, (sic) if I am myself they won’t let me stay with you (right?)” (Meyjes, 14-18).
The movie starts out with John Cusack playing David, a widower, who is grieving the loss of his wife who passed away a few years earlier. He and his wife wanted to adopt children, but she passed away before they could do so. A friend from social services called David out of the blue, asking him if he would consider adopting a young boy who had been abandoned. When David goes to see the boy, he is surprised to learn that the boy thinks he is from Mars and he lives under a box. David explains he was an oddball himself as a child, and now writes science fiction books about Mars. He decides to take the boy home on a temporary basis. Dennis, played by Bobby Coleman, the intelligent and curious boy under the box, has invented that he is from Mars as a way to cope with his abandonment by his parents.
Life on planet Earth is hard for Martian boys, so Dennis creates survival tools to adapt. Foremost is the box to protect him from the sun, a weighing-down belt made out of duct tape and batteries, and a pretend disintegrating gun that he makes with his fingers. Dennis struggles to learn Earth’s customs and spends his days cataloguing plants and taking Polaroids of everything to help him figure out life on this planet.
Like the boy, I too created tools to adapt. I have sculpted four tools for my thesis. The first tool I created was inspired by a childhood belief that if I had the ability to fly, I could rescue myself from my problems. The tool is a set of child-sized bird wings. Each wing is twenty-six inches long and nine inches high, and has three visible leather straps that would hold the wing onto an arm. They are carved out of white Italian marble and finished to a mid-grit sanding, mimicking the softness and airiness of feathers. The wings are encased in a long, red, rectangular box with a glass door on the front that resembles a typical emergency fire hose box. The emergency box has been broken into on the right side. The side has been slightly pried back, just enough for a hand to slip in and touch the feathers. All I needed to do was touch the wings to reassure myself that the wings and I could somehow be bonded together in freedom. My hope was that through this touch, these wings would know my deepest needs and I could place my trust in them to carry me away to my destination, which is always somewhere or anywhere else.

(7) Wings in progress and without the case 26”x 9” (2008)
The second tool is not easily seen as a tool, but is a pivotal point in the process of transcendence of self. The piece was inspired by the heavy grief of repeated loss I was experiencing, and a scene from the Warner Brothers version of A Little Princess.
The main character, Sarah, is a ten year old girl placed in boarding school while her father is at war. She was soon told that her father had been killed and with no other family, she was stripped of her own possessions and sent to the attic to live as a servant. Once she became a servant, the headmistress kept belittling her, saying that now she was a nobody, that she had nothing and was all alone in the world. Coping with the only possession Sarah had left, the knowledge that she had a right to be safe, she sat on the cold hardwood floor, and with a piece of chalk she drew a circle around herself and cried herself to sleep. That circle drawn in chalk is the tool represented in this next work.

(8) As Is & detail, in progress and without chalk circle. 2’x10”x1’ (2008)

This once-standing figure had been kicked down, time and time again, which is represented by the squashed stylized body form with a foot print imbedded on the top of the figure. The foot holds it down and prevents it from getting up. The raised arm is slightly more angular than the squashed body. It is symbolic of the pride that begins to well up inside the self as its protruding hand defies submission and draws that circle, staking its claim of inherent rights. I originally titled this piece “Get Back Up, Get Back Up Again!”, but while working on it, it cracked. The crack did not run all the way through the stone, but the crack made me feel that, like victims of abuse, it will always be damaged good and must be accepted in those terms. Next, I had to consider if damaged goods was good enough to keep? Epoxy would make the piece much stronger than the original rock, but it would never be the same. People are always valued no matter how damaged, but what about artwork? Is this work still viable after the trauma? The third rule of becoming a new being is that “you have to face your problems and must never, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, give up. Never, ever, ever, ever. Winston Churchill said that, I think?” (Meyjes 16). So I decided the work would continue, but I changed the title to As Is.
The third tool I created is a group of three individual skins that act as barriers to separate the artist self from the scrutiny of others while she develops skills and learns what artists are supposed to be like. The Martian child, Dennis, expands this concept further in the four following scenes from the movie that also express my situation of becoming an artist.
David, the adoptive father, brings Dennis home for the first time. David opens the door to his house and Dennis walks in. David’s dog, Somewhere, jumps on him and knocks him down. Dennis is terrified and responds, “We don’t have those where I come from” (Meyjes 4).
David takes Dennis to his bedroom and turns on a special night light that displays planets and the solar system on the ceiling. Dennis looks up at the images and says, “that’s not right” (Meyjes 4). He then explains the proportions of the planets are wrong and what they should be. David asks Dennis how he knows so much about scale and Dennis replies, “it took a very long time to get here [pause] a very, very, very long time to get here” (Meyjes 4).
In the middle of the night David, the foster dad, awakens to find Dennis standing at the foot of David’s bed. David asks him if he is okay and what he was doing. Dennis replies “watching you”, as he began shooting several Polariod snap-shots of David. David asks Dennis to explain why he is taking pictures. Dennis says, “learning how to be a human and part of a family”, as he proceeded to imitate the facial expressions in the images (Meyjes 6).
David asks Dennis if the belt he was wearing was a weight belt. Dennis replies, “Earth’s gravity is weak, Mars is constantly pulling me back” (Meyjes 3). David wanted to know if that had ever happened before. Dennis said it did, with another mommy and daddy.
Like Dennis, my tools help to protect me. I need these skins because there are no artists where I come from. Though I possess a small bit of talent, I am not sure how to act or what to do. That makes me weak and allows my past to constantly pull me back. This tool is an attempt to thicken my skin so I can stay long enough to find answers to the questions that will tell me if this cracked, stronger self is good enough to become a new being. Or, must I give up who I am, to become a new being and thereby float away forever. Again, these are the questions I most needed to answer and the same ones I saw played out in Martian Child: “ ‘Cause, (sic) if I am myself they won’t let me stay with you (right?), Is it good to be like everyone else? [and] Why can’t you just be who we want you to be?” (Meyjes, 14-18). Each question correlates with a particular skin I created.
The representation of three human skins hang on the wall, similar to a coat hanging on a hook. The skins are arranged as a group but are placed in a progressive and chronological order. This sculpture is a mixed media of encaustic wax, plaster, glass, nylon, metal and wood. The skins are approximately life size.

(9) 2 of 3 skins- all in progress (10) Sensory 5’x 1’ (11) Granite 5’x 2.5’ (12) Reflective 5’x 1’

The first skin (image 10) is the sensory skin and addresses the issue of “ ‘cause, if I am myself they won’t let me stay with you [right?]” (Meyjes 16), Or, in other terms, if I am true to my own voice, I will not be successful as an artist?
The sensory skin consists of multiple wax forms of human sensory organs that were cast from a mouth, nose, ear and eye and are randomly placed all over this skin. Fingerprints are also embedded throughout this skin. These senses are the filters through which an artist who has little social constraints of what art is, experiences works of art. To this individual art is to be tasted, seen, heard, smelt and most of all, felt. At this stage, the artist is not aware of art customs and reacts to works of art with an honesty that reveals ignorance. This kind of honesty is what the painter Alexander Shevchenko valued as he said “Just like the primitivisms and the painters of the East, we consider that the most valuable and productive work is that which is guided by direct perception” (20th, 99). Unfortunately, a heightened awareness works both for and against the artist and this skin soon becomes inadequate as criticism easily passes through this barrier. The artist feels a need to guard oneself by being like others.
The second skin (image 11) is a clumsy and first attempt to block out of the critic and addresses the question, “Is it good to be like everyone else?” (Meyjes 14). The sensory organs of the first skin are replaced by a granite inner core. The encaustic granite core is visible only at the neck and the remainder of the skin is a flesh tone. The weight and rigid property of stone fills and stretches out this skin, making it uncomfortable and an untrue fit. This skin protects, but the awkward mobility does not allow the artist to function. This is a hard position for an artist to be in. Doing and acting like everyone else when it is not true for the artist, drones out the quiet inner voice that is used to guide and direct creativity.
The last question, “Why can’t you just be who we want you to be?” (Meyjes 18), is put forward in the third and final skin (image 12). The stone core of the second skin is replaced with an outer mosaic layer of mirror fragments that allow others to see themselves when they look at the artist’s skin. In this way the artist is able to give everyone what they want, someone like themselves. And, the inner self need not be revealed until proficiency in the customs and practices can be obtained and transcendence into a real artist is achieved. Remember, face your problems and never give up. Survival skills can be invented. For example, Max Ernst’s involvement in World War I was so horrific that he announced his death in 1914 and later his resurrection in 1918 when the war ended (Ernst). When you don’t find what you need, invent it.
The fourth and last tool of my thesis is a self made hero. The work is titled, Help is on the Way and was inspired by the need to be rescued. Just as Dennis had David to show him how to become human, I needed someone to help me become a new being. I invented my own help. The hero is a larger than life-size bust of a face hidden behind a mask and is carved out of white Yule marble. The figure is covered in a mask because I do not know who the helper is. It is carved out of marble because of a connection I feel with marble that makes me feel like I am finally home. The eyes are cut out in the shape of birds in flight. The cheeks and shoulders are adorned with nonspecific land masses as a reference to land that is observed in flight. Allusion to a human figure inside the mask is revealed by a small area of bare skin around the mouth which is slightly squashed by the time piece being held firmly in place over the mouth. The time piece resembles a watch without hands. It is meant to be understood as the mouth being unable to talk for an undisclosed amount of time. The stylized hair and mask are finished to a glossy surface to mimic artificial or plastic, like a toy super hero would be made of. The small area of skin around the mouth is sanded to a soft matte surface, providing a feeling of softness, like skin. A large hole in the shape of an outline of a face is carved out of the back of the bust. The hole allows the viewers face to fit into the head of this hero and see a bird’s eye view through the figure.

(13) Help is on the Way 2.5’x 2’x 2’ (2008) (14) Help is on the Way detail
I used an unconscious process to carve this piece. I started with a preconceived idea that I would carve a bust of a figure and the rest of the details unfolded as the work progressed. I did not censor my choices and did not understand why I was doing what I was doing. After the work was completed I tried to figure out what it all meant. I could rationalize the birds in flight as eyes and the land masses as my need to flee, but the time piece over the mouth and the huge hole in the back of the head was more difficult to understand. At first, I figured the time piece meant I should not have spoken about my abusive childhood and the hole in the back of the head was just a way to see through the eyes. The shape of the hole, however, was tripping me up. Why was it also figurative? The shape makes me want to put my face in the sculpture instead of just looking through the eyes. Finally, I understood. By placing my face inside the hero’s head, the hero becomes whole and I become more. The universe did not come to tell me how to become a new being. It came to show me, through this piece and through the acting of the Martian Child movie. I must rescue myself, but the tools I create to adapt will allow me to be myself and become a new being at the same time.
Becoming a new being is a hard process, even harder if you feel you are starting from a negative position. Customs are not innate and must be learned. Tools are a necessity as you adapt to new and changing environments. If you cannot find the right tools, invent them. Lastly, if you find yourself in dark outer space without oxygen, never, ever, ever give up. The universe will come to guide you on your journey.

March 3, 2009
2:10 am
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so they say
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Sorry, this thesis just isn't the same without images.

March 7, 2009
7:04 pm
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so they say,

It is really hard for me to try and decipher your thesis without images.

Also, the text without paragraphs makes it really hard to try and follow and understand.

But - I think - maybe I get it?

It is about a metamorphosis?

Mybe?

(Though the alien/martian thing might put some ill at ease....so goes art?)

Kind of a little too 'out there' for most?

I say - if you feel it strong within your heart that you have something important to say and illustrate, don't let the nay-sayers of artistic conformity dissuade you.

Sometimes the best art....I mean - the real and truly BEST ART makes us feel umcomfortable.

Some folks just can't deal with that - truth be told.

Just kind of a little too damned real for our/their own good - you know?

That in and of itself - to my mind says that you art is on the right path/track.

It shakes up the status-quo.

Artist....TRUE artists - in my mind - blaze new trails.

Regardless.

You know what is all up with this - right?

Maybe (and this is just an off the cuff thought here....) maybe - like a great screen-play of something you have to revisit your art/intentions.

Tweek it.

Scale it down a bit to its natural essence in less steps.

Make in just a tad bit more accessible to the 'commoners."

You know?

Afterall, I should think (though I am not - by any means anything close to an expert here.....) maybe it's like a great gourmet feast.

You really don't want to bog down those that will taste your feast with ALL of the particulars of certain ingredients and their origins etc......but eventually you just want them to know that it all gels.

The essence.

The true essence of the thing with only enough description of the very necessary components on just a very 'need to know basis" which will make the experience the most enjoyable without being too bogged down.......

You know?

Making it the most easily digestable and understood all the way around - while still - while still getting your message across crystal-clear like all the same.

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