the madness that occured on this raft is incomprehensible. the story of the Raft of the Medusa grasped the attention of contemporaries as it was a tragedy everyone could point at and make claims about who to blame & what to blame; blame is generally pointing away from ourselves, and it’s so much easier to do that with some cataclysm that we feel so far removed from. just as we do with modern media, we all gawk at the images- both shocked and numbed by desensitization.
i’ve started practicing a new interpretation- that the images i’m looking at are looking back at me. this way, i’m not as desensitized to the emotion. when considering these mortal divisive impulses that fueled their survival…all i could think about was that someone else was responsible for their condition, and i felt like i was. it reminded me of kids i’ve worked with as a therapist, looking at me, looking into me, wishing i would save them, and i couldn’t. no surprise that the psyche splits when hope is gone, when leadership abandons, when survival is desperate. i’ve never come close to experiencing anything like this trauma on the raft; such treachery as cannibalism is really unimaginable in my estimation. my song “punish” doesn’t touch that fear, it doesn’t touch that horror, it doesn’t even near the emotions that these survivors must have felt.
my song was about a few young kids that i was working with. i was completely out of my mind in anger based on their childhood experiences that i was witnessing, counseling, and experiencing with them. mostly, i felt like i was this distant observer, whose hands were tied in a system that sometimes enables & disables & sadly, it’s the innocent children who wear the battle scars. the young children growing up in homes where prostitution circles are run, the young children who are fed negative attention in home/school/community and labelled as the “bad” kid – then mocked, jeered, and pointed at as they fall apart or run away….the black sheep they were confined to be through our punishment. and as i look in on them, they look back at me, through me, even, and i am left considering how i am somehow responsible for part of their reality. the song, “punish” is really about that. it’s about how we are all responsible for shipwrecks, figuratively, literally, & metaphorically.