Family Secrets

Memories are the ghosts of our past,
like fugitives they hide from the day, 
only to haunt us at night
when the mind betrays our reality,
altering the history as we have come to know it.

It is we who choose what to remember and what to forget
separating pain from the pleasurable,
gathering the hurt like the fields harvest
and carefully add them to the box, then close the lid.

Yet the pain does not lessen with time,
not until one has learned to forgive
and even then it does not disappear completely,
for the scars have been carved too deep.

Memories are fragile
and are easily lost when not tended to,
though a photograph can capture a moment,
aiding in recalling the past,
it can also uncover, exposing the darkness to light
that others might see, even years later.

Missing pieces of broken emptiness

Neglected, it's beauty fades and character takes hold of the presence.

No place to hide

All I ask is that you look and contemplate the many meanings.

The remains of irreconcilable differences

Listen to the silence . . .
     for they do have voices.

“Mom, please not the closet,” a child cried

Memories are hard to erase, for they are what we have become and we cannot be denied our identity.

An empty heart

For me the kitchen is where one finds the heart of a home. Neglected and without love, it is nothing more than a room within a house. A house to be considered a home, it most provide a place of safety and nurtured tenderness.

With memories striped bare, stolen innocence still cannot forget

You can empty a room and remove all traces of a former life and identity, yet the memories still remain.

Paint cannot hide the wounds

Pealing away the many layers that have hidden the cruelty not only exposes the ugly secret. it also begins the healing process for the victim.

Leave through many doors to find yourself

By walking through a door and entering a room, we are confined and confronted by the  walls, by the space within and the impressions of others. 

To regain out identity, to discover our full potential and shed the abuse we have suffered, we must leave by many doors.

Lost and found

The series ‘Family Secrets’ comes to a close with ‘Lost and Found,’ but for many people from an abusive childhood, the pain never ends.

In the last few weeks I have relived many memories, gut wrenching and painful at times. The abuse suffered ends with me! It is a promise I made to my dear and lovely children, Armont and Ariana. They will never have to experience the pain and memories of the kind of verbal and mental abuse, or the physical beatings and sexual abuse I endured at the hands of my perpetrator; my mother.
The healing process for any abused person takes a lifetime.

Self portrait with shattered mirror

The only way we can eradicate this evil is to first say to ourselves: “We are not at fault.” All too often we think we are to blame for these conditions, but it is not so. Remember, no love is worth suffering pain and abuse. There is help and you must seek it.

I had returned to the empty club house, deciding to photograph the hallway, using the mirror in the ladies room. As I was setting up the shot, I looked into the mirror and decided to photograph myself instead.


Between April 25 and May 30, 2005, I posted ten photographs at an art community website, Renderosity. It was during this time that I went public for the first time, sharing my childhood memories of abuse and openly confronting my inner demons.

The process of healing has taken twenty-six years, when at the age of thirty-five, I realized that I had not been the problem.

Even though I am doing better today, the wounds and scares still remain, at least I proved stronger and so was able to break the cycle, for my children are now grown adults and were never experienced abuse. However I am sorry that my wife was exposed to my pain these  many years.

What helped my recovery process was that not only coming to terms with what had happened to me, but that seven to eight years ago, I was finally able to forgive my mother and so release the anger that I had harbored against her, which by then had eaten away my spirit like a slow moving illness.

This post has had me look back upon my childhood and reviewing the other
150 or so images that that were taken as part of this series in 2005.
An idea took hold of expanding this story and share what has 
happened since I went public and how I have dealt
with the recovery. So now I have begun
to work on a small book.

Thank you for your visit
and comment . . .


1 comment:

tess stieben said...

wow, the doors strike a chord with me having been victimized as a child age 11-13 by a neighbour it seems many psychological doors are still present even after forgiveness. As you say memories haunt the soul. I spent years re-living and putting to paper sordid painful memories. Six years ago I began reading what I'd written and found the pain too devastating which sunk me into depression and not wanting anyone who may happen upon the words to feel the intensity of my pain I destroyed the journals. To pull myself out of the depression I dragged myself into setting up the camera for self portraits. What amazed me most was that by doing the action of photography by the end of two hours I was no longer depressed as I had funnelled the pain into creativity. Sadly I also destroyed the photographs which I now wish I had as the first photo to the last showed process of severe chronic depression dissolving. I now know when I start to sink I need be creative. I used to do some pretty "dark" art, now I choose to paint bright and colour. Your post is very strong, thank you for your courage.
Big hugs!