16 February 2010


Note: the following photos are about abuse and may be triggering to you. Please be sure to read my disclaimer underneath after you've looked at the pictures.



Disclaimer: My kitten gave me the black eye. For real. He got his claw hooked in the skin under my eye and must have burst a blood vessel in freeing himself. That was how I woke up, by the way - naked, screaming, and with blood and tears streaming dramatically down my face. (No pictures of that, but how's that for a Monday?) The incident seemed to be playing out a poem by Margaret Atwood which I have always loved:

You fit into me
like a hook into an eye

a fish hook
an open eye

-Margaret Atwood

Also, I would like to add that Dave helped me take these pictures, which was excellent of him, especially since it was past midnight when I wanted his help.

In any case, the dramatic black eye (courtesy of Bob T. Cat) and the way it was incurred got me thinking of that Atwood poem, which I have always thought is about an abusive relationship. These pictures imply a fairly typical abuse scenario (heterosexual male-on-female violence). It's probably what most people think of when they hear "abusive relationship". But I'm trying to get at a bit more than that (you can tell me if you think I succeeded): abuse happens in secret, and a whole family will collude in maintaining the fiction of normality, even though something very different is happening behind closed doors. And so for the abused, it's incredibly crazy-making because terrible things are happening - sexually, verbally, emotionally, with violence, or a combination - and not only does no one outside know what's going on, no one inside the family will talk about it either. So the fictional story of the happy family or the happy couple is polished to a high gloss and given all the trappings. Underneath the accessories of success, it's a totally different kind of story. And that's why I wanted to use the black eye with the fairytale wedding dress (yes, it's my real wedding dress).

Okay, enough rambling. How about some pictures of kittens?

Notice Bob's claws:

King of the World:

Bob sleeping with Lucky:

Bob sleeping with Whittles, his sister:

Whittles and Bob are very close:

Both kittens are very curious about new food. This is pureed sweet potato.

Yes, she's eating flour. Bob was sneaking molasses yesterday but I didn't get a picture.

Whittles supervising:

Whittles and Bob with Pip, for scale:

I just plain like this picture of Pip:

Whittles looking innocent:

Whittles making lace:

Whittles doing her thing:

For those of you keeping track at home, you may be thinking, "hmmm, there's Lucky, Simone, Pip and Inty and now TWO kittens? SIX cats?"

But no, we don't have six cats. We have five. We lost Inty on New Year's Eve this year. She would have been 10 on April 11th. I was really fucking glad to say goodbye to 2009.



nbm said...

leaving all else aside: adorable kittens.

Kaethe said...

I think you achieved what you were striving for. The bridal portraits with black eye are disturbing.

I'm sorry to hear about Inty. Hope 2010 is a better year.

Jana said...

The poem is a fabulous fit for the actions of your bad kitty.

Becky Malaria said...

I've always loved that poem. Re: pictures, you should get Nan Goldin's "The Ballad of Sexual Dependency" if you don't already have it.

Cara deBeer said...

I don't have the Goldin - I'll keep an eye out for it. I was really thinking of Dina Goldstein's Fallen Princess series - http://www.fallenprincesses.com/

The Fallen Princesses also inspired my Wonder Woman: the Lost Years.

Kaethe, thank you. Physical abuse is easy to identify and easy to see, which makes it a good stand-in for any type of abuse.

jeff said...

Circa 1999, Amy Sedaris was selected a Most Eligible Bachelorette In NYC by some magazine. To their surprise, she agreed to be in the photo-shoot with the other selectees. When it came time for her prep session, she asked the makeup artist to "make her look like she got jumped." She did the photoshoot covered in bruises, gashes, and scars.

After the shoot she wandered around the city all day in the makeup, even waiting tables (as was her main gig at the time). Whenever anyone asked her if she was OK, she clasped her hands, threw on a big smile and yelled "YES! I'm in LOVE!"

True facts. David wrote about it in "Me Talk Pretty One Day."

Edie said...

Great post, Cara! Makes me appreciate what a privileged life I have led, really.

And oooh - two purty new kitties! They are gorgeous.

Lisa said...

Wow, what a multilayered post -- poetry, jarring photos, abuse discourse, and cute kitties.

RIP Inty. She was a good cat.

Cara deBeer said...

Multi-layered is a nice way of saying brain dump. Heh. It would all fit together if I didn't have the kitten pictures in there, but I thought maybe people would like to smile after seeing the bride pictures and thinking about abuse.

Cara deBeer said...

Oh, and Jeff, yeah - my favorite story that David told about Amy is the one where she wore the bottom half of a fat suit home for the holidays and horrified her father. She didn't take it off until the very last day. That's fucking awesome.

Rooie said...

Oh, ouch, your poor eye. I actually found that story more disturbing than the photos...which are disturbing but also artful. (I mean that in a good way.) Eye injuries though give me the serious heebie-jeebies. Makes waking up with Duncan's paw in my mouth ever so much more appetizing.

I'm sorry to hear about Inty. Too short a life but she sure was loved.

Debi said...

Just marvelous, honey.