Genealogy Series 2019: Photograph and Mixed Media on canvas
14” x 11” and 20” x 20”
I am 7 years old. My brother has not been born yet, so I think of myself as a single child. I am not a happy-go-lucky child. I am very serious. [I’m told that I informed my grandmother when I was 4 years old, “Gagum, all is not right in the world.” She had a little chuckle at that one.]
So, I’m 7 and I’m at the pool at La Casa del Zorro in Borrego Springs. My mom is dating an Italian poet (not kidding) and he’s taken us here with his children (I think he might be married) to swim and sun and pretend to be rich (he’s a poet, so I’m guessing Mom paid the bill; she could pick ‘em).
On the hot pavement, I step on a bee. I feel the sting and then “that feeling” and go into the pool where the other little girls are blowing all the air out of their skinny torsos, so they can sink to the bottom of the blue surface and sit. They pretend to have an imaginary tea party underwater. Can you imagine those little girls sitting on the bottom of the pool, miming their tea party? Hold that image in your mind now; it’s beautiful.
I blow all the air out of my body, and I cannot feel the pain in my foot anymore. I sink way, way down there. I can see the other girls playing, but somehow I am not a part of them anymore. I’m all around the pool now, filling it up with my particles. I am everywhere. I am the pool. I am down there, and floating above watching, and sinking, swimming and swirling around. I feel that buzzing feeling, all over my body. All over my mind. I know this feeling. I am flying underwater. I feel a tingling sensation in every cell. I love it, even though it makes me feel lonely because I cannot tell anyone about this.
I forget about this feeling for almost 40 years. Then, I am reminded of it after I fall down a flight of stairs. I remember what this feeling is, to be outside of my body.