Chrystal - Let the Mountains Shake NOT FOR SALEOf all my aunts, she was the most violent. I think she’s after my mother who is the oldest of the four. She was heavy handed even when she wasn’t punching. She sang all the time, loudly and proud to be able to hit the highest notes. I always thought she was obnoxious.

Her daughter used to do things in direct opposition to her mother’s wishes. They argued endlessly. My cousin wanted shock effect, to grab any sort of power possible in that madhouse.

I have a cousin whose only crime is being male. He suffered fierce abuse until finally his mother abandoned him and his sister in a house while she sought another life out of state. These children were in a house that was paid for, they just needed to pay the taxes and utilities. She up and left, just like that.

The things I saw my aunt do were demonic in their violent nature. She’d go off and punch this child in a frenzy until the other sisters told her it was enough. What did he do? Did he misuse a word? Did he fail to say Yes Ma’am fast enough or was he doing what really made everyone made? Was he quiet, thinking to himself with a small smile on his face? What are you smiling about!!? It can’t be anything good!!! They accused him of plotting something because he was smiling. There was no way around the heavy hand of a woman torn between singing gospels and demonic torture.

I have a cousin whose only crime was being born to a woman who admits that she loves to beat children. She loves it. Children are for work and boy did she work this cousin and me when we lived in Florida. No matter how beautiful the sky, how beautiful the trees or watching the rain slide down a glass wall, it didn’t matter. There was a monster in the house and my aunt was willing to look the other way as he attacked two young girls. She would get so angry that he wanted us and not her.

How does one grow up in one piece when everything around them tries to pull them apart? Forget what you just saw. Swallow it down all the way and forget that you just saw something horribly violent. Push more down and forget. That’s what we did, just like everyone else in the family, we closed our eyes or looked the other way.

Chrystal detail eyes - NOT FOR SALEWho is this figure that I have drawn? Her name is Crystal, she’s a fine jewel. She will bask in the sunlight. She will sparkle and she will see!  She will see, with her own eyes, that life has changed. She will love, fiercely. Despite the division of her mind she will seek solid ground, lay down roots and grow. Water flows through one side Chrystal detail - NOT FOR SALEwhile orange and sparkling blue topaz, coat the other.

There’s no way to leave her experiences behind. She’s cracked in so many places but her eyes are focused on the future, on what she wants to be. She never intended to grow up a survivor, and she will not settle for her story to end on a vile note. She will shake mountains until they crumble if that’s what it takes to overcome obstacles and propel life forward.

Art Title: Crystal – Let the Mountains Shake
Art By: Faith Magdalene Austin
Medium: Acrylic, crackle medium, cardstock
Size: 5 x 7
Finish: signed, sealed, mounted
Style: Expressionism, Figurative

Faith Austin

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