Broken Light: A Photography Collective

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Not Really Here

Photo by Anna Z. Kendall, who wrote a book of poems about her abusive ex husband. It’s called Sex, Porn & Hotel Rooms: Poems From A Marriage.  He was not only abusive, but near the end of the marriage became a full fledged sex addict.  The book is still available here and there.  Anna never promoted the book because she was too ashamed to come out as the woman she became – before she became the women who got away.
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About this photo: Taking this photo was an emotional drain. As I kept posing for my camera on 10-second timer, I got so frustrated. I couldn’t get it right. The angle was all wrong. What’s the matter with me?  (Kind of how I felt in my marriage)  And as I viewed each photo, I wondered “Who’s this old woman? Why did I waste my good years on that terrible husband? Look at me – who would want me now?”
 
People ask women like me: Why did you stay? How could you stay so long?

First, let’s clear up a dreadful word, “battered.”  
 
Battered = dumb word.  But its definition rocks.
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Battered women are not tattered and torn or crawling around on their hands and knees. Battered women are regular women who are stuck in a relationship with a man who uses “a pattern of intimidation” to dominate and terrorize his woman.  aka domestic abuse and domestic violence. (and for now, I’m writing about women in relationship with men)
 
This pattern of intimidation wears us down.  He confuses us. He is our own personal crazymaker.  He hurts us, hits us, infantalizes us, and. And.  And…  Just when we think we can’t take any more, he becomes the nicest person we’ve ever known.  Nice.  Gracious. Loving.  
 
So we stay.
 
We think this is Love.
 
When things are bad, we dissociate. 
I’m not really here.
When things are good we dissociate. 
I’m not really here.
The world swirls around us while we can’t think straight.  
We remember being happy as a girl.
We don’t remember being happy as a girl.
I’m not really here, 
not in this marriage.
 
You may have read my post about a “shadow” Dissociative Disorder.  I used the name “Mira” for that post.  How easy it is for me to blur out of focus and slip into a different name.  Even Anna isn’t my real name.  But maybe my life hasn’t been my real life.  It’s easy to imagine because I’m not really here. I’ve never been here at all.

28 comments on “Not Really Here

  1. stuff I said
    June 23, 2012

    Amazing photo and post…I get it. Thank you.

    Like

    • Anna Kendalll
      June 24, 2012

      i’m sorry that you get it – and thank you

      Like

  2. columbibueno
    June 23, 2012

    powerful

    Like

    • Anna Kendalll
      June 24, 2012

      thank you. what strikes you as the most powerful aspect of the photo?

      Like

      • columbibueno
        June 26, 2012

        The naked body, vulnerable and strong, frail yet living, impervious to extinction — always followed by another body and another, millions born every second — and the words written on that body… We are here in the moment and we canl be seen in the moment. And then one day we’re gone, all of us, and we leave behind a concept. We were always concepts masquerading as bodies: the body isn’t really here at all, is it? Here and not here. Tortured and fearful, a moment of joy, confused, observer and subject. We are it, and we are beyond it. Here, but not really.

        It’s an amazing photo.

        Like

    • Anna Kendalll
      June 29, 2012

      colum: holy crap, you found the essence of the photo and crafted words around it to emphasize what it shows, how and why and why not. a beautiful description. tender.

      thank you.

      Like

  3. kjalane
    June 23, 2012

    Awe inspiring!

    Like

    • Anna Kendalll
      June 24, 2012

      really? so glad. it’s been a part of my life for so long that it is just some strange kind of normal. if you know what i mean.

      Like

  4. debra
    June 23, 2012

    I’ve been in your shoe. You describe it perfectly. Now my adult children are dealing with the pain of their childhood. God bless you,

    Like

    • Anna Kendalll
      June 24, 2012

      debra, so sorry. mine don’t really know – they know things intuitively, but i kept it such a secret (i think). i can’t imagine they didn’t hear our fights in the middle of the night, him waking me up all hours for sex. god bless you, too.

      Like

  5. megahloo
    June 23, 2012

    Amazing photo and powerful message. Thank you for opening yourself. From one to another, blessed be.

    Like

    • Anna Kendalll
      June 24, 2012

      thank you, it took bravery. thank you for appreciating it all.
      blessings to you

      Like

  6. laviebohemeart
    June 23, 2012

    Very powerful shot!!

    Like

    • Anna Kendalll
      June 24, 2012

      thanks. what was more powerful – that i posed nude, what i wrote on myself, or what i wrote, or — ?

      i’m using my power to rid myself of his, i think.

      Like

  7. Anna Kendall
    June 23, 2012

    oh boy. i can’t believe i went public with this. thank you, all six of you, for your supportive comments!

    Like

  8. Anna Kendall
    June 23, 2012

    i have a new blog: sexpornhotelrooms.wordpress.com
    come over and visit, let’s talk about this crap.
    anna

    Like

  9. jmgoyder
    June 23, 2012

    Incredible!

    Like

    • Anna Kendalll
      June 24, 2012

      “incredible” is pretty amazing. thank you. what was the most incredible part of that post? i’m so curious…

      Like

      • jmgoyder
        June 24, 2012

        The writing style – not the situation!

        Like

      • Anna Kendalll
        June 25, 2012

        jmgoyder: don’t worry, i did not think you were applauding the situation! thank you for your kind words and support, anna

        Like

  10. Emily
    June 24, 2012

    Thank you Anna.

    Like

  11. Monday
    June 30, 2012

    Wonderful post. I spent 7 years in an abusive relationship. You’ve captured the feelings quite well.

    Like

  12. alangent
    July 5, 2012

    What a beautiful photo and thank you for being brave enough not only to show your beautiful body but also to express your feelings around the photo in words. Very powerful.
    Al

    Like

  13. josefinephotography
    July 9, 2012

    You are a brave and strong woman, for sharing your thoughts like this. But most of all you are brave and strong for leaving that man and continue to fight for your healing and picking up the pieces of yourself. I have walked alongside many women struggling with the same battles you are struggling with, and I know it is a rough road.. I will keep you in my prayers Anna (and all of the other you’s as well)!

    Like

  14. Lissa Rabon
    July 22, 2012

    by sharing this you are giving another woman strength…she isn’t alone.

    Like

  15. themofman
    July 30, 2012

    I always feel so helpless when I hear of women who have endured this suffering. Even in situations that I become aware of in which the women have managed to save themselves from it, I’m still frustrated that it happened anyway.

    No one should have to endure that.

    Like

  16. Anna Kendall
    August 15, 2012

    Monday: Good on you for getting out too. Thank you.
    Al: You help me be glad I posted, thanks.
    josefine: It almost sounds like you are writing about someone else. Me, strong? I sometimes get so mad at myself for putting up with his b.s. for so long, it seems like I was so weak. But, yes, I guess I am strong, now. Thank you.
    Lissa: I hope you are right, thanks.
    themofman: I have a swirl of feelings from reading your comment. I know what you mean. And yet I also know that there’s no sense in getting frustrated because women in this situation will only leave when they are ready to leave. I’m sure you know this. Ahhh, everything about it is frustrating! Thank you for your honest words.

    Like

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