My cousin Cassie (a model in much of my work) has recently found the strength within her to confess to the world that she was a victim of rape 11 years ago.
From her personal Facebook:
To my friends, family, teammates, swimmers, teachers, lovers and haters:
Today I reveal to you through Facebook my deepest darkest secret.
I wish with all my heart that this would be something we could talk about face to face. Please send me a message, call me, text me, come by my house.
The SECRET is that I, Cassie Dixon, Mama Cass, was RAPED. 11 years ago. I have just recently come forward and told my family, my boss, my friends.
I have just RECENTLY shifted from being a VICTIM, to feeling like a SURVIVOR.
My survival story (in progress) is here for you to see online at http://mamacass.carbonmade.com/
Here in Las Cruces, I have been working with the amazing Joe Deloria Azure, Tara Melton, Chynna Tiara-Renee Moore, and Michael Vogeli to put on an International Art Show called The Secret Show here in Las Cruces at the Azure Cherry Gallery on June 1 and 2 (one month from today!)
If you know ANY PERSON who has had a Sexual Assault experience in their life, that may have a secret (or many), and who could contribute both to filling our secret space as well as emptying out that secret space within themselves, PLEASE motivate them to creatively submit to our show! We accept any and all forms of creativity: drawing, painting, photo, video, writing, sculpture. Here is a link to the event: https://www.facebook.com/events/460547257362716/
and here is a link to our tumblr where you can submit! http://art-therapy-as-a-charity.tumblr.com/
Thank you, I love you, each and every one of you. I am alive because of you. ♥ ♥ ♥
I created the piece above and wrote this accompanying poem with her in mind:
My selves, my being, my love, my pain
Trudging through madness but desperate to keep sane
Stuck between darkness and everything illuminated
I, the accomplice in these suicides perpetrated
And from the cadaver, wretched self-disdain
and from the cadaver, only grace will remain.
If you have something to say on this topic or wish to connect with others in this realm, share your story at: http://art-therapy-as-a-charity.tumblr.com/
Anybody who really knows me knows my growing-up years were a bit tumultuous. My dad was a troubled alcoholic battling some pretty horrific demons. I was a painfully shy only child who morphed into a painfully shy, self-destructive and severely depressed teenager. I remember writing in my journal around the age of 15 that I absolutely would not make it past the age of 19. I’d planned to end it as soon as I found the courage because if what I’d experienced thus far was “life” why bother living much longer? It was all so terribly sad – how unhappy I was growing up and how little desire I had to be happy. In my defense, I think I just didn’t know how. There was very little happiness in my home, if any, despite my poor mother’s best efforts. (If it weren’t for her, I’m sure I’d be some nameless drug-addicted skeletal woman living in an alley somewhere.)
But I digress. My dad took his own life a week prior to Christmas of 1998 and a few days afterwards, my mom was cleaning out the entertainment center and found a red spiral bound notebook shoved into one of the lower cabinets. Turns out, he’d been keeping a journal for a few months – an extended suicide note, if you will. She’d made photocopied versions for family and a friend or two. She made the mistake of loaning the original notebook to his sister who still has not returned it. So I have one of the photocopied books.
For years, I’ve been wanting to scan all the pages and make something nicer of it. Our relationship was always strained and difficult but I thought he deserved that much at least. I also thought it may be therapeutic and a decent way to end that chapter of my life (no pun intended). Unfortunately, I never felt mentally capable of such an undertaking…until recently. So a few months back I took the first step in scanning all the pages and then, I don’t know…became busy with other things? Forgot? But a few weeks ago I was contacted by a cousin of my dad’s – someone I’ve never known or met and we’ve been talking about our family, all of the tragedies, damage, anguish and I suddenly remembered this was something I never finished. So I set this weekend aside and promised myself I’d get it done. And now it is.
I’m not sure if anyone but me would find this interesting in any way and if not, that’s certainly okay. I didn’t do this for anyone else, after all.
“Average reader will think at this point that I’m asking for faith – nothing could be further from the truth! I ask only for wisdom and the ability to use it – for the future…upon which all depends, without which all is lost.”
To preview and/or purchase the book, click the image above or go here:
And to read the wonderful writing of Tamara Linse (the cousin I mentioned above) go here:
Since December I’ve been in a funk. A hole, a rut, a slump, a downslide. Gloom. The holidays are typically hard on me anyway for past personal reasons but I can’t shake this feeling of absolute stagnation even now that they’re gone. I feel like some time ago I stopped growing, like I’m no longer moving forward. It feels like I’ve been jogging on a treadmill. I’m perpetually drained of energy but I’m not getting anywhere. I don’t think I mentioned it, but last semester I thought school was the answer to this feeling. It wasn’t and ultimately, I was mostly disappointed in the experience. And my reaction to the experience. It could have been the classes, I’m not sure. It could be that unless at least 8 more hours are added to each day it’ll never work for me because I value my free time so very much. So much that I’d rush through assignments just to get them done, not savoring new knowledge or taking my time to linger, to let it all soak in. And because school and work left me less free time than I was used to I spent absolutely zero time on personal art and projects. And that’s the exact opposite of what I wanted to happen. I had hoped that it would inspire me to create. It didn’t. In fact, the night before one of my finals I went out drinking with a friend and got so trashed I spent that night and the next morning vomiting. I barely made it to my final and managed to ace it anyway. And then was glad to be done.
So I think because I spent all of those months just looking forward to free-time and empty moments, I’m now hungry to create despite the dumps I’m down in. I’m also angry and short-tempered much of the time. Never in a million years would I think I could experience these feelings simultaneously but I am. And I’m still not quite sure what to make of it. I’ve shot and edited more images in the last few weeks than I have in the entire last half of 2011. It’s definitely a good feeling. Hopefully I’ll have enough of them to cancel out the bad ones soon.
The image above is one in a new series I’m calling Distraction. The model is one of my beautiful go-tos here in Springs and the location is an empty house across the street. It belongs to my neighbor who’s been trying to fix it up after his last renters moved out. They basically trashed the place and he’s put in a lot of work to bring it back to good. He was nice enough to let me use it for a little while last weekend. Good locations are so hard to come by, when the opportunity presented itself I couldn’t not take it. Please if you’re aware of any good locations in the Pueblo, Colorado Springs, Denver area (appropriate for nudity, preferably empty or with a vintage feel) email me: rebeccatillett[at]gmail.com. There may even be some prints in it for anyone who suggests or provides a location that works out. I’d definitely appreciate it.
So what do you think of Distraction? I’m thrilled by it.
Little girls never
dream of these days;
these days complete with
crack, needles, and whores.
Fucking to survive, fucking
to prove everyone wrong.
Fucking to exude power, lust,
SEX and immortality. I never
dreamed of these days. I was going
to be a ballerina, a writer,
a photographer, a journalist for
Christ’s sake. I never hoped for days
of cum, cheaters, and takers, blood,
butchers, and criminals.
Regular customers love me. They get what
they want, they get their money’s worth.
Two knocks and a whisper and I’m in, out
and paid in ten minutes. Seedy motels, middle
class suburbia – it’s all the fucking same.
These dicks need a good fuck, I need my money and
their wives their rebuttal, their denial, their status.
(I actually have the exact date written down that this was written: 9/20/04.
It was originally written to accompany a photo I’d taken of a dingy-looking door.)