The Story Behind the Yarn
I’ve posted quite a few pictures on my social media of a photoshoot I did for one of my studio classes. I put on a black dress, floral printed tights, and red flats. I put my hair in braids, dusted my cheeks bright pink, and drew cracks on my face. I was going for a weird, broken, slightly provocative doll/puppet vibe. Whether or not I achieved that, I’m still happy with the pictures I ended up with.
While I’m sure a lot of people think I was trying to be a weird artist, rolling around the Baker Center floor, laughing, and doing a silly photoshoot with my friends, there is in fact a story behind it.
You see, my artwork always comes from a place of expression, and today I want to share that place, that expression.
I was portraying myself as a doll, or a marionette, and my friend Anthony was manipulating my movements, being the puppeteer.
I was a doll seeking attention. I was thrown around, played with, and my only fulfillment came from being used by others.
Sometimes I would be abandoned for days, locked in a dark toy box, or thrown on the floor to get kicked around and stepped on.
I had no will or say as to how my day would play out, but my manipulator did.
My definition and self-worth came from a person that was playing with me and using me when it was convenient for them, only to get thrown to the side when they were finished. Like my toxic relationship.
I was tied up in fear, confusion, and self-hatred. Despite how I felt, I always put on a show for my audience. And his.
I was desperate for attention. Desperate to be played with. Desperate to be used. Because all I really wanted was love and affection. But this is how it is for dolls; they get played with and used.
While Annabel the doll is a made-up character, the woman experiencing these feelings is very real. Being stuck in a toxic relationship is shameful, humiliating, and dangerous. But somehow we find safety in that; for some reason, we stay and come back for more.
Like I expressed through Annabel, the reassurance in our self worth feels necessary. We need it. But that’s just a piece. You are being manipulated. They are trying to control you. It is one-sided and the puppeteer always has the upper hand.
You are dying to get out.
You are dying to get played with.
You don’t even see the manipulation because you are so busy performing for the rest of the world.
You are scared and you are stuck... you may not even know it.