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  • So on the evening of August 31st 2018 I was channeling the goddess of rap little camp.

  • Wearing a white jumpsuit with a sleeve tucked underneath my armpit and a seashell pasty covering my right breast, I transformed into her iconic early two thousands of'em award outfit.

  • The party was themed, and I was prepared to win the costume contest.

  • Once arriving, I started experiencing abdominal pains that I presume just to be cramps, but just way more severe than I experienced before.

  • So in a room full of J.

  • Lo's and Britney Spears and just examples of how bad early two thousands fashion waas, I felt very isolated in my pain.

  • Three weeks later, I was rushed to the hospital for those severe abdominal pains and diagnosed with an eight centimeter cysts.

  • Often to help patients understand the size of assists, doctors will compare it to a fruit mine with the size of a grapefruit.

  • When anything traumatic happens to us in our lives, it could take weeks, months, even years for us to process thoroughly, and some won't.

  • But the importance is is to least try.

  • And so my way to do so was through photography I created a visual narrative to highlight the emotional stages before, during and after my surgery.

  • Each image represents a key moment that happened during that day, and by doing so, I was able to slow down, dissect and reflect what had happened to me and how I felt about it.

  • Denial.

  • I was in a constant state of denial.

  • Three weeks following the costume party, I experienced what felt like a dull knife pressed against my right abdomen consistently, and I would just brush it off the voice inside my head that told me that there was something wrong I would ignore.

  • But we shouldn't be surprised by my actions.

  • Women are conditioned not to listen to the natural warning signs or body produces.

  • When there's something wrong, we're told not to make a scene or to refrain from being dramatic.

  • So I stayed quiet until September 17th 2018.

  • When that pain sharpens, it became a blinding pain that felt to the point where I couldn't stay on my feet, let alone conscious while on my way to urgent care.

  • Once there I was, panicking from the excruciating pain, simultaneous, dry, heaving and just overall fear of not knowing what was wrong with my body when a white female doctor came in, glanced at me structure, shoulders said, Probably food poisoning.

  • She then proceeded to joke and asked me where I bought Seishi the night before because she wanted to avoid the restaurant at all cost.

  • You would think that such physical pain will be enough for a person to deal with.

  • But unfortunately for black women, there's a level of psychological pain that you have to endure during a medical emergency.

  • So mine was a figure of Thorne to my side that I just had to accept.

  • Once at the hospital, there were three moments of shock that I also experienced.

  • First was finding out I had to wait 40 minutes before I could see a doctor behind a woman with a sprained ankle.

  • Despite the urgency of my condition, second was the look of shock on the face of the doctor, the three student residents and myself, once finding out the size of this sis and third was finding out that this was the sixth sister of a surgeon had to deal with that week.

  • At that point, I was in and out of consciousness, but At one point I did see my dad talked to the doctor asking if it was necessary for my right ovary to be removed, as the doctor was insisting, in my case, it waas.

  • The cyst was so large that it wrapped around the fallopian tube and cut the blood from reaching my ovaries.

  • But as I surrendered to my experience, my dad pressed forward with further questions.

  • It's unfortunate that black people cannot take the word of a doctor immediately.

  • Due to a long history of medical negligence and non consensual surgeries, Fannie Lou Hamer is an example of a civil right.

  • A civil rights activists in Mississippi who in 1961 had a surgery to remove a small tumor from the uterus and left with a full hysterectomy without her consent.

  • This was a somewhat common practice that happened in the South during that time.

  • White doctors would sterilize black women in order to control the black population, and it was dubbed as a Mississippi appendectomy.

  • So my dad was gonna make absolutely sure that my over he needed to be removed.

  • Two months following the surgery, I waas experienced isolation, confusion and depression.

  • How could my body do this to me?

  • Could I have a period?

  • Still would be harder to have kids.

  • Could I even have kids?

  • I needed to show a visual representation of the weight of these thoughts during my healing process and how heavy this grapefruit actually waas.

  • And once I went to the doctor for my update, he turned.

  • He told me that the assists was benign and it was Derm oId.

  • This means it had hair, teeth and brain cells experiencing that, I told my dad, and he responded in the most appropriate way.

  • I think a parent would what's hearing something like that.

  • He sent me the exact image of the alien growth from the classic movie aliens.

  • I felt great.

  • That's called good parenting.

  • But I was so shocked by this information that I completely forgot all the questions.

  • I'm prepared, and the doctor never prompted if I had any.

  • So I was left inspect to research to understand how symptoms like this convivial eloped.

  • And is this preventable?

  • Eventually, I had to acknowledge that I went through a trauma.

  • It took about a year to understand that, but once making the Siri's, I was able to just to leave it all on the page.

  • All the what ifs, the frustrations and guilt.

  • And in 2019 I was able to offer what I learned to other people.

  • In August, I was awarded the Like a Woman in Photo Project Award, which asked for a submission about a woman's issue in the United States.

  • Today I made mine about the surgery, the micro aggressions and medical negligence that black women experience during medical emergencies and just the overall outdated information we have available for reproductive health.

  • And it wasn't the award or the recognition that really helped me move forward, though it did not hurt.

  • But it was finding out how accessible my experience waas for other people, that I was able to receive gratitude that I was able to speak out and empower others to acknowledge any cysts or medical experience they have, or even negligence that they had experienced.

  • And that just shows how powerful vessel art is to not only heal but to dismantle any social conditions we don't agree with and to move forward.

  • What a gift it is to be able to create from a traumatic experience, demand attention through a platform and at activist sculptor Simone Lee is an example of an artist who holds a mirror up to societal conditions.

  • In 2016 she created the exhibition in the Waiting Room, which pay tribute to a black patient by the name of Essman.

  • Elizabeth Green Green died on the floor of the waiting room in Kings County Hospital.

  • She waited 24 hours before seeing a doctor when she eventually collapsed on the ground from blood clots.

  • Surveillance video show security guards walking past her motionless body, and a nurse eventually does check up on her.

  • But 30 minutes after she had already died for Simone to create an exhibition she was able to address and paid tribute to someone who deserves acknowledgment.

  • But have us consider alternative ways of Westernized medicine and how it can be improved for me.

  • I am proud and honored to receive such a profound award, but with my success I had two brought in my understanding of where black art is often place in the industry, there is evidence of pandering to black traumatic experience and tragedy.

  • We see it in film.

  • Accolades are given when a narrative includes slavery, police brutality, abuse, poverty, even the writer Die arcs height.

  • It is so rare for those accolades to be given to a narrative of the day in the life of a black person.

  • And so creating this experience has also had me understand that there is now a price tag associated with black pain.

  • There's a difference between trauma and memories.

  • Trauma is unresolved, and we'll repeat in the minds of survivors.

  • So when black artists are pressure to create work that focuses strictly on trauma, because that's what galleries are saying, we will only show because collectors are saying that is what that that is, what's valuable.

  • Then we're left in a cycle not actually healing from our experiences, and it becomes a skeptical in the commercial paradox.

  • And so as a woman, an artist who experienced her own trauma racially and medically, I don't want to be boxed into receiving accolades strictly for my pain.

  • I have bodies of work that are amazing all right, focused on body positivity, black joy, sexuality, sensitivity, vulnerability.

  • I want to expand my serious size of a grapefruit to empower others to find their voices to show perseverance and vitality.

  • Not for us just to grieve together and I ask of you creators, gallery owners, collectors and viewers who are here today.

  • Two not just focus on artwork that shows black pain but also collects work that shows the artists as an individual.

  • There are layers to us, and fortunately, our artwork has so much culture and humanity in it.

  • So when we're given the platform to celebrate ourselves and not focus on trauma, we can celebrate and move forward together instead of mourning our losses.

  • Thank you.

So on the evening of August 31st 2018 I was channeling the goddess of rap little camp.

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トラウマを癒す器としてのアートの使い方|エヴァ・ウールリッジ|TEDxMaplewood (How we use art as a vessel to heal from trauma | Eva Woolridge | TEDxMaplewood)

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    林宜悉 に公開 2021 年 01 月 14 日
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