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Simon Thibault

June 1997

"Do you hate her, 'cause she's pieces of you"
- Jewel

I just got back from a week long trip to Montreal. I never realized how much I loved to watch people. The whole time I was there, I saw hundreds of faces, some I remember, some I never even noticed passing by. My ears would delight at hearing some old woman singing Greek in her room, her window open and passerbys could hear about some young woman who never fell in love. It was probably her.

I was leaving the store with my sister. In my new $128.66 shoes with two inch heels and huge buckle on the side, I saw a woman walking with her children, one holding each hand. The child was wearing a yalmuka, the traditional cap that is worn by Jews. Where my sister lives, there are Hasidic (Orthodox) Jews not far from her quarter. The little boy fascinated me. I'm still not sure why.

Maybe he doesn't know what "kike" means yet. Maybe that's why.

Maybe he'll learn that word the same day he learns the word "faggot." I think one word a day is enough, don't you?

* * *

I have recently been involved in a controversy. I recently put up one of my photo montages in an art gallery here at my university. It is a B&W photo of a young man wearing only a pair of jean shorts. His muscles aren't defined, but he is lithe and sylph-like. The photo is actually a reflection from a mirror, placed in the middle of an unmade bed. Even though the photo is B&W, it has been colored by oil paints so that the jeans are blue with red cuffs, and the frame around the mirror is green. It is matted on brown wrapping paper, and around the photo are miscellaneous candy wrappers and the pieces of paper pasted around it with the words "Lick me", "suck me", "chew me", "bite me". Underneath the photo is the following text (this is a translation, since the text is written in French and English):

'Give me life, give me pain, give me myself again' - Tori Amos

I reek. I am rank from truth, for I've been buggered by its huge cock, which ripped into me and cut me like a pair of old scissors. Its spunk is festering inside me, and it is dripping down my legs, may it nourish the flies. My shame has sewn my lips together with glass thread, but I have torn them out, and I am now bleeding from both my mouths.

My youth taught me that Darwin was a genius. "Survival of the fittest" should be a paradigm used by psychiatrists. Too bad mine never told me that. I guess I'm not surviving, and this wretched smell still reeks from me. The beginning of my life was the commencement of my death. But I am pulling myself out of a new cunt. I once trusted someone. He promised that no one would know that I touched him. He asked me to do it, and so I said yes (He's right here, right in front of me, I can talk to him if I want to, and I thought I had already ripped that part out of me, thought that I had ripped that part out of my brain, but I guess not, 'cause I'm fucking right here, writing this story, and I know it will never stop, it's something to believe in, something I will always have, and it's all his fault, he fucked me over. He is truth, and I want to kill him, in this psychotic fit that never comes). He promised me he would touch me. He never did, for I heard someone laugh...

Under the branches of a prickly hedge, I saw the face of truth, and it smiled and mocked me, and laughed incessantly. They all had that face as they ran from behind the bushes, for it was all a plan, a plan to shame me, and they shat upon my head, and I smelled of shit for years, no matter how many times I washed.

Those who would touch me afterwards, would smell it, they would smell it in my tears, and I wanted them to lick them from my face, to remove the filth. RIP THIS FUCKING FILTH OUT OF ME I HATE SMELLING LIKE HUNDRED YEAR OLD SHIT RIP OUT THESE GLASS THREADS FROM MY LIPS!

The stench stopped when a man took me into his arms, the arms I waited for five months to smell and lick (and feel) their hairs, and I wept one last time. Slowly, he removed the threads. But not all. The rest I am removing, removing them slowly and putting them into these words and like a newborn babe, I smell afresh"

Beside this is the same photo, with no additional coloring, on a black mat. Underneath it is this text:

"I remember he had this soft smooth belly so clean, even if it has been bathed in sweat I just liked holding my cheek to it, thinking of nothing but the warmth, wishing his skin would grab on to me and I could be inside him let me in you can bleed you can cry yes you I want to know how I know you can please do it I can't.

I watch you, teach me, you the boy with the half closed eyes that I see through and behind, you have something, can you share it with me, I'll teach you how to love kittens and beautiful people, and you

I'll teach you to love you if only you make you me cry"

The photo montage is called "Two versions:". I am quite proud of this work, as I find it to be one of my favorites (though my body of work is quite sparse, and I do not consider myself an artist, for the simple reason of lack of works).

The work speaks of my impressions (post and present, both molded by personal experiences). I have found sex to do one of two things to a person: elate you to ecstatic heights, or cut you so badly that it takes years for your wounds to congeal and heal. The first part of the montage (with the candy) speaks of how I have found myself to be considered nothing more than a piece of candy or meat, and to be thrown away when used. There is a deep sense of violation and self-loathing that can lead to emotional masochism.

But that which can destroy you can save you.

The second part speaks of how sex can be a wondrous, sublime thing, even bittersweet. This is what sex is supposed to be, an expression of affection, tenderness.

The point of my putting up this photo was to help myself, to show myself to the public, bare my soul, and say, "I have been hurt and I want you to know, 'cause maybe you feel like this too". It was a type of therapy. I presented myself, as a victim (though I hate the word), to the world.

The world told me to shut up and hide.

The photo was the subject of complaints by various members of the university community and people in the surrounding community. Now, to a degree, this must be expected, for I do live in a pretty conservative, "small town" mentality kind of place. At first I though it was funny that people were talking.

Then I found out people thought it offensive.

Oh.

Then I found people thought it was obscene.

Big oh.

Someone very close to me asked me to take it down. I vehemently denied the request, as I was insulted that someone this close to me would ask me to do such a thing. I felt like I was being violated and unbelieved by this very party, and was deeply saddened. Even though I was caused great pain by not being believed by this party, I refused to remove it, as I believe that the photo became a statement. I had a point to prove, and I wasn't backing down, no matter what the consequences, present and future might be.

People who are victims of abuse are often told that no one will believe them, or rather, will not want to believe them. I guess this became sadly true.

The whole thing reminded me of that line in the song by Jewel. No, it's not exactly an original thought, but still, I found she had a point. Don't you find that sometimes you'll meet someone whom you can't stand, and then you realize it's because they remind you of you in your past, and you are horrified that someone who is like you could be so.... ARRGGHH! (sometimes a noise is better than a word). I think the same idea could be applied to my photo to a degree, they see this photo and don't want to accept that side of their personality which says, "I'm hurt". I think we all have certain parts to our personalities. We have the angel, the brain, the whore, the prostitute, the victim, but no one who wants to admit to some of those, especially not the whore, or even worse: the abuser.

We are all of the same ilk, it's just a matter of coming to terms with it. I've talked to my whore, my prostitute, my victim and my abuser, and more. I'm still afraid of some of my parts, but I'm working on it.

* * *

Dancing in a nite club in Montreal to some deep hypnotic house, I was dancing behind this podium and there was this boy -- I say boy for he looked so young -- and he was dancing on the podium and he looks at me and dances towards me, as do I and he pulls me up on the podium and we dance, and I don't feel my legs, I just feel the bass pounding my eyes back in my sockets and the sweat sinking from my chest down to my navel. He smiles at me, and I smile back. He is shirtless, and has no real physique, nothing like the muscle queens around me. His hair is short and a mousy brown, I can even tell that under the flashing strobe that makes me look like I am slowly moving in the air that smells of cologne and Marlboros. I smiled again as I left the podium, said thank you into his bouncing ear, and he smiled a toothy smile (and even though he had small gaps between his front teeth, I still liked his smile, it was real) and I left.

He wasn't there when I went the next weekend.


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