all the ways in which our bodies ask for help

i have thought so long about the words i wanted to use with this image.

this project is about domestic violence, honouring the stories in my family line, but the stitches and the fabric are telling me so many other stories.

i stitch at my kitchen table and because i am part-owl, i can often be found stitching until one in the morning.

i listen so much better in the dark hours.

how we don’t always realise we are asking for help, how sometimes our bodies just want to eat and eat and eat, or how sometimes they just stop eating, how nothing tastes like happiness anymore, how we move through our lives as if we are swimming in cold syrup, how we jump at the slightest noise, how we reach out to anything that will numb it all, and there are so many anythings, and how numbness is only good when someone holds a scalpel to your skin, or a knife.

all the desperate ways in which our mammal bodies ask for help long before we realise we need it.

but also, how there are violent countries within ordinary homes, things beyond closed doors, and afterwards the neighbours might say, ‘we didn’t realise, we never knew, we wish they had asked for help.’

how we can walk around holding this entire word hostage inside our mouths, hold it flat against our tongue, locked up behind a smile.

how it is the most difficult thing to say.

please, please try.

this is all i have on this soft weapon of a word, this key.

© Liezel Graham 2022.

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