This past Tuesday, after a long day of work, I wandered into a brand new little family owned liquor store in my neighborhood to get my favorite beer, Wild Little Thing by Sierra Nevada.
I tossed the sixer onto the counter and the cashier smiled and asked for my ID. Being a solid decade over the legal drinking age, I am always delighted at an ID request.
I handed him the card and he said, “Wow! You look young! I mean, you are young, but you look younger!”
“Thank you so much! You are only as young as you feel, right? Just don’t tell my back or my knees.” I smiled and responded.
“How old do you think I am?” he asked.
I looked him up and down and assumed that he was probably in his early fifties, but I like to be kind so I said, “Umm… about 42, I guess?”
“OH! Well… actually… I just turned 34…”
My mouth dropped and for some reason I said, “No way!” so he proceeded to pull out his ID to show me the year he was born…
My voice, which is usually quite deep and raspy took a much higher pitch and I began to walk backwards facing him, screeching something like, “Well the gray in your beard makes you look distinguished…”
I have never wanted to do the Michigan J. Frog top-hat, leg kick dance out of a place so badly.
Disclaimer: This is a fairly short research paper/project which I submitted for my Apocalypse in Medieval Art History course for my undergrad this past semester.
“You’ll believe God is a woman.” Ariana Grande’s assertion in her catchy, pop tune is a bold one, but not too far from the scholars and artists that created the illuminated manuscripts (and other artworks) during Medieval times. They may not have directly portrayed the Lord as a woman, but they clearly acknowledge that the pussy is a portal to heaven. Much of the imagery themed around Christianity from that period has the same icon repeated: God appearing from a yonic shaped entry to nirvana.
This idea first occurred on image five of the assigned manuscripts this semester. In the top center of the picture, we see our regal Lord seated on a large throne wearing a prominent, golden crown and flowing, purple robes. One could argue that the folds of the fabric may reference folding lips of a labia. Yahweh is framed by a thin red & white lined, but primarily golden edged yoni or mandorla filled with a rich, bloody red background which hints to a fertile, lined uterus or mensuration. Of the seven lanterns hanging at the top of the image, one falls perfectly in place of a clitoris pointedly framed by the throne. The scripture referencing this image reads, “and, behold, a door was opened in heaven” and then the next verse, “a throne was set in heaven” (KJV Rev 4:1 & 2).
As seen above and below, six of the twenty three images from the assigned manuscripts- a fifteenth century Flemish Apocalypse in the Bibliothèque nationale de France (shelfmark Néerlandais 3), are distinctly similar and reflect my theory that the vagina is a portal to paradise. Some of the images are move ovular, some have fleshy tones instead of bloody, but they are all undeniably alike- yonic in shape and fleshy or bloody in color.
A prior art history course lent an old textbook or two, and with luck I found a few more examples to support my hypothesis. Scouring through the Medieval art section of my eighth edition Janson’s History of Art, I came across the following rendition of the final judgement on page 132 and then a similar image of Jesus in a girly shaped gateway on page 355. In both of these images, Jesus fills up the yonic shape appearing from heaven.
I took to the internet and stumbled onto more examples from the 11th to the 14th centuries which confirmed my suspicions as seen on the following:
Having found a number of examples illuminating the path to heaven, I felt inspired enough to begin my creative process, sketching ideas surrounding a vaginal shaped portal. I wanted it to feel dreamy. I chose to maintain the bright blue and magentas found in the references. Clay is my primary medium, but with my recent expanding into mixed media sculpts, I wanted to bc over the top with gold, gems, and silk and candle wax.
I threw slabs, cut, and assembled then added texture to my piece. I pierced the form so that I could add a draping fabric feature. I dried, and bisque fired to convert the clay form into a permanent ceramic substance- mine was a thirty-six hour firing with a ten hour cooling time. I used watercolors and acrylic paints to add dimension and color to the sculpt. I sanded the piece so that the bright colors would slightly fade and the texture become more prominent. I applied the gems and chains with epoxy creating a jeweled lined entryway. I threaded the fishing line then wove the fabric into the piece reflective of the flowing fabric of the lords robes (as well as the folds of a vulva). Upon the base of the form, I melted three fleshy toned candles to reference the holy trinity and candles burning upon the altars at which we worship.
I decided against creating my own God, feeling that the piece didn’t need Him. Heaven awaits either way.
Apocalipsis in dietsche Source: gallica.bnf.fr Bibliothèque nationale de France, Département des Manuscrits, Néerlandais 3, fol. 5, 6, 8, 11, 18, 22 r. Accessed April 15, 2021.
Janson’s History of Art: the Western Tradition. 8th ed., Prentice Hall, 2011. pg. 132, 355 Accessed April 9, 2021.
It would be so easy to stay wrapped in the lonely arms of the Big Sad coiled into the bottom of my hole coddling this bottle of red wine. An old-fashioned cobblestone well which is now run dry, it lies atop a picturesque hill in the far corner of my mind.
I have been here so many times that there is an Amber-shaped imprint in the dried mud, about two inches deep and curled into the fetal position.
I feel the plump meat of my cheeks gently cradle the bones of my face as I rest onto the cool earth.
I take a slow, steady, deep breath of the musky dampness and think, “this is what it must feel like to be dead, minus the breathing thing.”
I drift in and out of consciousness, fantasizing about the end of all of my problems.
Just as I start to forget it’s a fantasy, the voice of my sweet Laura sings me back to life, “Are you awake, my lovely? It’s going to be ok.”
I am still here.
Moments pass and my darling Carmen chimes in with a sentiment like, “Stay grateful, beautiful, you are so loved.”
I tell her that I am trying and failing.
I know that there are a million reasons why I should keep on, but when my rose colored glasses crack, the world shows me deeper shades of blue than I ever knew existed.
Every year on this day, the Big Blue grabs a hold of me.
When the accident happened, I didn’t know him at all. I was young, and though traumatized in my own right, he was unfamiliar. He didn’t introduce himself very well; he didn’t tell me that he came to stay… maybe that was a part of his plan… but it took literal years to accept him as part of me while learning how to starve him off and escape his weighty grasp.
Once I finally found a way to cope, I could basically put him off until I couldn’t anymore.
Around her birthday, he would start pulling on my pants leg. For the next five or six weeks, I would drag him around everywhere I went. Then, every 24th of March, he would finally take over and wrap me tightly in his arms, stroking me with The Big Hurt.
And like the ghost of Christmas past, he would make me relive that fateful day step by step.
It was a shitty Monday, but I was in a good mood. In my cubicle. Then my boss’s office. There was an accident. They need me at home. The car ride. My grandma’s house. So many people. Familiar faces wrinkled, red, and coated in tears.
Then my mother.
My broken mother.
My weeping, wailing aching mother.
Finally, the waves came- crashing one after another: pain, numbness, pain. And I drowned.
By the time Blue & I walked that old familiar road together for the 7th or 8th time, I stopped being afraid.
The weight of fighting him while carrying him around made my soul sore. But once I learned to accept him & let him be, he came to me more gently. And he leaves me now, for longer and longer each visit…
But these days, I have learned to wait for him; I expect him, I allow him. On her b-day, on her d-day, on holidays, when the clock says 12:34, or when a butterfly or bird flies just a little too close, I see her. And I feel him.
But I know him now. And I’ve learned to sit with him in the stillness. And he keeps her close.
“when you aren’t fed love from a silver spoon, you’ll learn to lick it off of knives“
I just needed to put this somewhere to read again in the future while remembering that growing up, I did not have a close example for how a healthy, enduring romantic love should behave.
But now I am 31, for chrissakes!
Over the years, I have been teaching myself what boundaries are, how to maintain my codependent tendencies, & healthy ways to deal with stress. I have a long way to go, but I have come so far.
I am both tougher and more tender for it all. I am manifesting the love of my life. I am becoming the woman that my partner deserves. I am learning that I don’t have to lick knives. I can have a silver spoon, too.