Sunday, October 18, 2009

sticks and stones can break my bones

this is my second piece for the needlework "good cause" challenge. it's actually my back up piece, in case i didn't finish the never ending needlepoint piece. it's good, because i totally didn't!

i embroidered this first because it's something that i want to hang in my house. i want to remind myself, and to remind others in my life, that words can be as incredibly hurtful as other kinds of abuse, and to take care.

i remember as a kid, the phrase "sticks and stones can break my bones, but words will never hurt me". i sincerely hope kids aren't still learning that, but when i was a kid, we didn't talk about bullying and the cruelty of children. when i started school, my dad told me that if a boy bothered me "punch him in the nose" (i don't think i ever did, though as i grew older, i realized a groin shot would be more effective anyway! ;)) but we never learned how to deal with the emotional cruelty, you know?

i was a super sensitive kid, i cried at EVERYTHING, and got teased all the time, and even more so when i started to cry! it got to the point that by my early teens, i'd trained myself to never cry in front of anyone else - even if it was totally acceptable (like a sad movie). i don't really know how things would have been any different if we'd talked more about it in the 80s, but i wonder.

i really wanted to embroider this piece for the domestic violence theme because i think emotional abuse can sometimes be overlooked. i think survivors of emotional abuse are often the first ones to do that. i was in a common law relationship for several years that was really messed up, when i look back on it now. it took me over a year to stop hearing my ex's voice in my head putting me down, even though i realized soon after we split that it wasn't really ME thinking those things. friends have come out and called the relationship abusive, but i still shy from that. i don't think he was intentionally trying to hurt me or to control my actions, i think he had a lot of his own emotional problems, and we were really unsuited. is it still abuse if it isn't intentional? i'm also uncomfortable calling it abuse because it doesn't seem "as bad" as other people's stories of physical or sexual abuse, which i know is totally contradictory to what i'm saying here. but that's how it goes, you know? rationally, i know that emotional abuse can leave long reaching scars, and for some people, may be more damaging than other kinds of abuse. but emotionally it's a different story.

coming out of the relationship i realized that both my physical and mental had been affected by the relationship, and even now, years later, i still struggle with things that go back to that period in my life.

so this is what i embroidered

the words are a simple font, i wanted them to look almost childlike. (i'll edit this with the actual name later, i have to look it up!) they're simple backstitch, and the heart is satin stitch with two different shades of pink.


once again, comments and criticism are totally welcome, and the pics are on flickr, so if you'd like to see them bigger, just click on them.


kelly said...

Fantastic work, as always. I definitely feel the message.

Gorgeous satin stitching and I looove that frame with it.

Aly B said...

Thanks for "following" my blog! I love your embroidery pieces, the zinester one is a favorite of mine. I also love your frames, where do you get them?

Unknown said...

I love your work. I am 3 years out of an emotionally abusive relationship. It has taken me until just recently to recognize that just because he didn't mean to hurt me or be controlling or abusive, didn't mean what he did wasn't hurtful, controlling or abusive. That was part of the abuse, telling me what I thought or felt wasn't real or right, or that since it wasn't what he meant, it wasn't that way....

I experienced mostly emotional abuse, but toward the end he started to get physical. The emotional abuse has been much more difficult to recover from. It squelched my creativity and darkened my soul. It starts slowly, and grows.

Don't ever believe that it was "just emotional abuse", it's just as serious.

Brittany said...

This is great. I really agree with your message. This is something I would hang in my house. It's a good reminder, and so nicely done!

sweetjeanette said...

I love it! So true. Who ever thought about telling such a lie that words can't hurt?!?

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