It's Raining Again

Year: 2019
Medium: Ink on paper
Size (unframed): 11x14"
Size (framed): 19.25x23.25"
Theme: Overcoming Disappointment
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"It's Raining Again", Sailor "Kiwa-guro" and Iroshizuku
"Takesumi" inks on Borden & Riley paper, 2019, 12"x16", $0

TW: Domestic and child abuse, suicide

When I was little and unaware of the interpersonal context that I was born into, I loved my dad more than anyone else in the world. I knew he could yell loudly, slam doors, punch walls and people, but that angry man felt like someone I didn't know. Just a stranger who would rudely interrupt car rides or leave me to bring my dolls to comfort my crying mother. The angry side of him wasn't "my dad," the man who praised me beyond the heavens, always wanted to spend time with me, and gave huge warm hugs. I didn't realize the anger in him could turn on me.

But it did. It did when I was an infant before I kept any memories. It did when I was 6 and he angrily told me he didn't want to see me anymore and maintained that position for three years. And it became even more frequent when I was in my teens as I realized it wasn't just me and my mom that he was angry towards, but every person in his life that he knew for more than a moment. "My dad" was entirely replaced by this angry man.

I tried fixing him. I tried parenting him. I tried bargaining. I tried arguing and even therapy, but eventually exhausted and destroyed enough already, it was my turn to cut him out of my life.

And while I mourned as if "my dad" had died, I also waited in terror for years, fearing he would commit suicide without me in his life. He had already told me at age 9 that is what he would do when he turned 50. He figured since I'd be in my early twenties by then that I wouldn't need him around, and casually said that was the only reason he was still alive.

Seriously, never tell a child that. Ever. Or anyone. It's not devotional. It is manipulative and cruel.

But 50 came and went without hearing any news, and I felt so much relief. Like maybe he was getting better and maybe he wouldn't actually try to kill himself. But I still kept hearing stories of him playing out the exact same destructive relationship patterns, so I knew not enough had changed.

And then finally, in April 2019, the news I had been expecting up until about five years earlier finally came. He was unsuccessful, but I was still devastated and disappointed, and even felt abandoned and manipulated all over again.

So I drew "It's Raining Again", where a lotus bud remains unopened under a rainy sky, while one bird sits on one lotus leaf, looking sadly at the empty lotus leaf on the other side of the scene. In the brambles below, other birds heads can be seen watching the situation, but staying uninvolved.

Originally I intended to draw an accompanying piece for this where the lotus would bloom as the bird on the right would fly away and the onlookers would go about their business, but it has always been such a depressing piece for me to look at or think of that I've typically hidden it away. In 2021 my dad did pass away unexpectedly (I think by natural causes) and it's become even more depressing to look at this drawing.

If you can look at it without the pain and instead see anything positive in it, I would greatly appreciate you taking it and homing it with better thoughts. I just ask that you make a donation to the Domestic Abuse Women's Hotline or any organization that helps people escape DV or children in recovering from growing up with a suicidal parent.