Content: Abuse. Being watched by abusers. Sadism.

Publishing this art piece comes at an odd time seeing as how I just talked about store workers profiling and following me and my caregiver at the store. It’s also not concerning imaginary audience / fable but an all together different type of being watched.

I was never sure why my mother was watching me. I was more concerned by her method of watching me. Although I know she watched me and my sister around the second grade, my most vivid memories are the 4th grade when she wore her trench coat and stood behind the door motionlessly.

The coat was her regular coat. It was a black trench coat. When the lights were out we couldn’t see her, nor were we looking for her. But if we saw a motionless figure in the hallway it scared the crap out of us. She’d make sure we’d seen her before walking away. No words. Just walks away.

After a little while I worked hard not to show I was afraid. I’d either say nothing or turn around to the door and say something to her. I had to guage how far I could go in pretending she didn’t scare me. I knew there was a response she was looking for. If I withheld that response too much, I might regret it. When being beaten with a dowel rod I knew I had to give the response she was looking for.

"She speaks the dream" - available

When being watched in the room alone, when showering or using the restroom there was a response she was looking for. I always wondered if there were times she wasn’t trying to get caught and see my reaction. This game of watching went on all the way to the day before I moved out. She listened to phone calls when we had a corded phone. I owned nothing, especially my body.

When I moved to Florida with my mother’s sister, my cousin and an uncle by marriage, I thought life was going to be good. He said he would treat me like his own daughter. That one sentence makes me want to break into tears. The irony of it is cruel.

Roses for Jane - available

My cousin was his step daughter. She endured more abuse than me. Having me dress up. Making crude comments. Watching me. If I turned around and saw him watching through the cracked door, he too would stay just a few seconds longer before quietly leaving.

I’ll be keeping A History of Eyes on Me a little while longer. It’s hanging in my own art area beside the painting She Speaks the Dream, which was created in 2017.

Observations – The painting called Roses for Jane was remade. In addition to more eyes, I brought out the figure in the back then made a dramatic leap by dividing the main figure in black and white. I kept quite a bit of the original twist and turns while softening her face by one notch. As a person who uses sunflowers for emotional expressions, it interests me that not a single flower is on the original piece or the new. The main figure is no longer standing in the dark.

Thank you for coming to Sundrip today.


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