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  • Writer's pictureRuby D' Lulu

Spellbound Series

Het Meisje en de rode klompjes, Oil on Canvas with meat-hooks, Ruby Waage Townsend, 2024

I began reading the Women That Run With Wolves, Clarissa Pinkola Estés, 1992. My mind was cut off, it would not 'turn-on', floating in a void of semi-consciousness. I must be burnt out- I thought, tired from constant creation. Or maybe it was hormones. You can always blame them. Unfurling the mind that had shut down was a tangle and I wished to be free. I read the tale of the handmade red shoes- it did not speak to me. Until it did. A journey of self-realisation and untangling the years of ignoring my inner voice and - I had not dreamt for 2 years. Coming out of a situation that was coercive, I finally listened to the words of the handmade red shoes- and every single word went through me like ghosts of my ancestors.

I had tried so hard to be domesticated but my feral nature wished to become free, I had been enticed by the red shoes, and I had danced until I became a skeleton, a wraith, a clone of myself, impersonating the character of Ruby as I pleased and smiled until my jaw melted away. I will be your cleaner, your housemaid, your whore, your breadwinner, subdued and agreeable- for if I dare to set my boundaries, or disagree, to be my authentic self- I am met with shame and threats. It is not lineal- you are not lineal, so sweet and charming and handsome I could cry, so funny and thoughtful and amusing. Could I keep this secret for you? Maybe don't tell this person this. I'd prefer it if you didn't tell that person. Betrayal and guilt. The silence barely broken-but there is a crack of light- and, too, in the facade of us. I pulled away from friends to protect you but where was my protection? Isolated and alone, my doppelgänger living a life so happy and free while I remained caged in this gilded prison. I choose to walk away- to others I am the shameless slut that left you, but my leaving you is choosing myself, something one day you may understand. I will always love you. This painting was born from a place of cataclysmic creation, a pressure cooker waiting to burst. It had been on the hob for so many years, embers cindering, my body broken from dragging around the Henry hoover, crawling in the mud, daily tears weeped crimson on my pale magenta cheeks, screaming down my face.

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