Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Peel Back The Skin

I was looking through some of my college papers and found a personal essay I'd written for a women's writing class. The following is an excerpt from the essay entitled Evolution. The paintings are by Jenny Saville.

Close my eyes against the pain.

The artist paints fat people. She smears the canvas with hues of yellow, orange, and blue. She wields her knife with cruelty, caking on the paint in thick globs. No comfortable robe to cover the woman’s exposed breast. No easy pose—allowing the victim the dignity of anonymity. The artist paints broken and bloody women. She shines a bright spotlight on their bruises and their shame. The painting rules the wall—a large and menacing thing—demanding attention. The victim’s eyes plead for pity amid a swirl of cadmium red and yellow ochre. Jenny Saville paints fat, battered women, only to leave them staring hauntingly from the canvas. Frozen in the weakest moments of their lives--they remain forever victims.

Take a deep breath.

Sour whiskey on his breath, stale cigarettes on the table, and my Mother floats away like a butterfly. Her gossamer wings glitter gold in the lamplight…I can still see the evil in his eyes. Feel his hands ripping out my hair, the familiar sting of tears, and the rage of helplessness. I hated being a victim. Why does Jenny Saville paint them as victims? Doesn’t she know that women are survivors—Goddesses sent from other worlds to show this world how to be strong? Why paint them as victims? The questions swirl, the memory fades.


  1. I read that early this morning, actually I read it 3 or 4 times, and didn't know how to respond to it.

    I still don't have an adequate comment to make, so I'll just say I thought it was a very moving piece, and a classy looking post.

  2. I think that's the sweetest thing you've ever said to me. Thank you. Yeah, I aced that class. That was the teacher who talked me into writing...the whole essay is too intimate to post online. I didn't hold anything back. Nothing was sacred. I just cried while writing it.

    Everyone talks about folders they store ideas in. I have a "fucked-up file" where I put the things that hit too close to home. Things that can never see the light of day. Ironically, it's my best stuff. This came from there.

    Are you ever gonna answer my question about whether that was the Lily Allen you keep yammering about? Under One Last Nod To Vin...

  3. All right, stead on! The question is answered now.

    Sweet? I must just be emotional. It's that time of the month.

  4. "Sweet? I must be emotional. It's that time of the month."

    Lmao. Yeah, I thought you were slipping...Men have a time of the month? Hmmm...interesting.

  5. Yeah, that's not quite the same thing, Anton, lol. Though I guess it could be painful...

  6. I said I was emotional, not psychotic.

  7. ...discreet little cough...

    If I may interrupt the coversation here, I would just like to say I thought that was a wonderful piece of writing Kat, and I loved the pictures. xx

  8. You're always welcome here, Akasha. Just forgive our little banter, lol. Thanks for the kind words. :)

  9. I thought that Akasha knudged into the conversation very descreetly...that was the most powerful thing I've read in a long time.

  10. Yes, she's rather elegant, isn't she?

    Thank you, Alan. :)