I find myself, after deep (deep) introspection, able to isolate my consciousness from my physical body, and able to understand there is much more waiting beyond the bounds of life and death.
For an immeasurable amount of time, my life was cocooned by blackness, with no company but my own thoughts.
I must be a mannequin that grew sentience; in that strange nightmare of feeling wrong and untouchable, rhythmic sins in my mind flow down like ropes of bile, unlovable, undesirable, repugnant and perverted, I reel from it, sometimes revel in it, repeat it and accuse myself of it, generous self-hatred bears a fearful prize.
How do we make art out of trauma? Indeed, art seems to thrive on it, but in a world that is oversaturated with depictions of violence, many of us seem to have reached a point where we no longer want to see the things that haunt us at night on the big screen; instead, we opt for fantastical escapism.
On 5 June 2021, a Facebook update from Sally read, “this is … potentially the hardest [post] I’ve ever written – but I have decided to rescind my decision to stand for election to Lismore City Council.” After weeks of being followed in the street, having rocks thrown through her windows, and daily defamatory posts on social media, the emotional toll of being a young female voice in the community became too much. Sally was very vocal about the harassment and abuse toward her throughout the entirety of her campaign, but the extent of it was largely unexpected.
‘Skewed/Silenced’ self-portrait by Natasha Tareen: 2021, oil paint.
When I die
Where will my loved ones see me buried?
Within the fired synapses of people I cared for
And held gently in passing thoughts that
Evaporate like soft steam from morning tea
Full-sized mirrors surrounded Cat, forcing her to gaze at the empty stares of a woman’s silhouette. Her arms were crossed, and she was cradling a baby. A smaller, hand-held mirror materialised neatly into Cat’s hand, becoming inundated with memories—forcing her to fixate on forgotten dreams gone by. Her gaze lingered on Ian, the deepest and most regrettable desire of her heart.
‘Luna Sangrante’ by M. Constance: 2021, digital art.
Blackout poetry by Lily Iervasi.