octo-bro at nautilus teachings

1960’s- I am alone, playing across the street from our home in Bishops Park. I am watching a black and yellow fat caterpillar crawl up the scratchy grey bark of the old oak tree. I am smiling and my bittersweet chocolate eyes are watching him and wondering, “where is your family, Mr. Caterpillar?”
As he inches up the side of the tree to the tiny branch filled with meadow green, shiny leaves, I am tackled by the running force of my brother. He hits me with his shoulder in my right rib cage, like a football player. We fly through the air and hit the mossy, squishy grass with a thump. “Stop it, get off of me, leave me alone,” I cry.
I am kicking and scratching him but he holds me down hard and shoves his knee into my stomach. I am trapped beneath the weight of him. He flips me to my stomach and lies on top of me, holding me so tight I can’t scream. I struggle for air, but my face is in the dirt. I cry harder and harder until at last he gets the prize-
I PEE MY PANTS
Right there
In the dirt
I feel
Ugly
Scared
And
Powerless
I pee my pants
Right there
In the dirt
While
Mr. Caterpillar
Munches
Away
On leaves
And
Crawls away
I
am
Invisible.
My brother jumps up, laughs, calls me a, ‘big baby,’ and runs away. All I can see is the smeared purple stripes of his shirt getting further and further away.
Not much older
Than me
Yet bigger in size
Three years seems
A lot
Shouldn’t he be by my side?
Instead he hurts me
Teases
Tackles
And throws
All the hurtful words
He can possible come up with
He is my brother
And
He is my demon.

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I push my dirty knees underneath me and wipe away the tears. “I hate you, I hate you, I hope you die…” I scream at the top of my lungs. The emotion overcomes me and I am weeping. I think of Mr. Caterpillar and glance up at the big shaggy tree. I cannot find him through my teary eyes, so I stand and walk around the tree, circling it with my hand, touching the rough bark all the way around. The roughness feels smooth against my skin. “Mr. Caterpillar, where are you?,” I whisper quietly. I do not find him. How I want to transform myself and fly far, far away with the beautiful butterfly to be.
2007-Studio-The canvas encompasses the wall. Painted solid black and 4’ x 4’ in size I begin to release the memories. Arms and legs are flying everywhere through my head. One holding me down, the other squeezes my throat. A third covers my mouth. Where are all of these arms and legs coming from and how do I escape? Different hues of muted mauve scatter across the canvas. This color calms me and reminds me of my mothers scent. “Octobro” is taking form. My breaths are short, choppy and my heart races. All these years later and I still can feel the weight of my brothers upon me. I need air to breath so I dot bubbles of turquoise all around my capture. I stare my demon in the eye and pieces of me attach to him. First in his eye and then one by one -pop, pop, pop his tentacles become air flowing between his grip and my being. I am released from the tremors of this dark nightmare and feel myself floating up towards the light and the calm hug of God gathers me in as I here in my head, “Sheri, dearheart, you are safe now.”