Escaping an angry photograph

By , February 10, 2010 12:53 am

Something has been bouncing around in my head. From Picture Frames, a post from Cedar’s blog Taking Up Too Much Space, written in response to my show Trans Form :

What I realized, when I heard [in Trans Form] about the photo albums, and the pictures on the walls of her [Rebecca’s] parents’ house, was that these were the memorabilia of an occupation, held onto and commemorated by its collaborators (witting or unwitting). Yes they represent a historical “truth,” a “past” one does not want to “deny”–but so do guns and chains and whips and bombs, and you don’t see them in the family photographs. Well, not if you were on the receiving end, anyway.

That concept, viewing photos or keepsakes of my past as “the memorabilia of an occupation,” finally clicked with me today.

This past weekend, my dad and I were talking about my depression. I was saying that I regretted not transitioning earlier, and he was saying he was sorry for not doing something when I was younger. Seeing something, noticing my unhappiness and its cause. And he said that, with the more tangible problems my older siblings had, it was easy to see me – with good grades, friends, a voracious apatite for books, no small skill at playing piano – as the ‘normal’ child. The child who didn’t need ‘fixing.’

And I realized, as Cedar indicated, that where we find ourselves today is not simply a result of the “truth” of history. It’s a result of how that history is viewed.

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