But I still grieve, even 13 years later.
I have mentioned before that I love the Critters series and why, but this post goes deeper than that. This post goes to the personal roots of why I love horror itself. Why I struggle to make this not just a hobby, but a lifestyle I live 24/7. That being touched by the macabre and darkness is sometimes just a part of who you are.
POSSIBLE TRIGGER WARNING AHEAD:
The only good memory I have of my mother is when we were watching a silly horror movie called Critters 2. They were creatures with spiky fur and huge, hungry mouths. They looked ridiculous.
But she was sober, and happy, and we laughed while watching it. I can't remember her laugh anymore. It's faded with the pages of time.
All I remember is her rage.
My happy memories of her are barely there, like someone ripped them from a book written of my life. Just shredded leftovers in the pages of my past, reminders of times that may or may not be real.
But the Critters memory still lingers. Some of the words have spilled ink on them. But I still remember her smile.
And she was sober. For once she was sober.
People ask me all the time why I'd dedicate my life to the genre of horror. Why I aspire to be a professional in this field. Like you can't be professional in a genre like this. Especially being a woman. My GP recently asked me why I would want to do this kind of thing. She looked at me with that curious, slightly judgmental expression and said, "Why would you want to paint bones, watch horror movies and write about horrific things?"
Because nice girls aren't supposed to do these things.
Nice girls who want to be beautiful women aren't drawn to such darkness. They don't watch movies like Day of The Women, Ginger Snaps, Martyrs and Cannibal Holocaust. They don't seek these kinds of things out, especially if those nice women were raped, beaten and tortured in their lifetimes as heavily as I have been.
But I'm not a nice girl.
I looked her dead in the face and with no remorse or apology I told her, "Because the horror genre is the most honest of the genres. Horror happens in real life all the time, and anything I see or read about is nothing compared to the reality of how horrific humanity is."
I don't want to be beautiful. I want to be fierce. The "Beauty Ideal" killed my mother. She killed herself because she wasn't fierce enough to deal with the horror of everyday life. She killed herself because society filled her head with lies about who and what she should be, and when she couldn't live up to it, she lost it. She killed herself because she realized the monster she had become, with years of regret and secrets. She held all the secrets of her own personal abuse inside so hard that drowning them in drugs was all she could do just to get up and face the real life horror of her existence. She killed herself because she had tortured and abused anything beautiful she ever created, including her own children, and now she was alone in the world. Completely alone.
I am not her.
I know horror. I know what it's like to be raped, more than once. I know what it's like to be tortured by your abusers, day in and day out. I know what it's like to see murder in the eyes of someone who is supposed to love you.
Because of these things, I am an artist, writer and poet. I am a creator. I create monsters, but I do it out of a need to turn rage into love. Horror is more than special FX's and gore. Those that love the horror lifestyle and want to live it 24/7 are not ugly and wrong.
They are beautiful freaks learning to love their monsters.
Sometimes the only way out of a cycle of darkness is to embrace the darkness so hard it turns into light.