I want to introduce you to a fellow steam punk and style enthusiast Don that I met through the blogosphere. He has amazing steam crafts for sale on his Etsy, which I highly recommend you check out. Just about a couple of weeks ago, he put up a series of photos taken from a pop-up book he made called Life. You may read his post here. It’s an interesting and artfully dark take on his ill-favored conception, justifiably filled with anger towards his parents’ rejection of him. He agreed to have me interview him about his strife as an abortion survivor, and I coaxed him not to hold anything back (though I’m sure he did). It’s probably not fair that I lead these questions in a very biased (pro-life) way, but I can’t deny that I write with an agenda—in fact, most people do, though they may not claim it.
Rachel: I have heard little of abortion survivors, and I’ve never actually known one until I met you. Can you explain how you were able to survive this senseless operation?
Don: Abortion survivor syndrome (ASS) is only a new term and can refer to parents who abort, their living children and to the actual survivors of abortion. I am classified as an ‘ambivalent survivor’ –as in I was not wanted by my parents, abortion was considered and my mother considered killing herself while I was a foetus. This was confessed to me by my mother weeks before she died. This left a massive scar on my emotional state that only recently I have come to accept and acknowledge.
Rachel: From the artwork that you made, it seems that you feel a lot of anger towards your mother. I don’t blame you for how you might feel. I don’t support the freedom given to women to abort—in any circumstance. That said, how much do you know of your parents?
Don: My father confessed to me that he almost killed my half brother by throwing him into a river out of vengeance and my mother gave up her first child for adoption. I did feel a lot of anger towards both my parents-now I just feel sorry for them. The fact that I hated my blood so much actually manifested in ITP (idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpure) a rare blood condition where I was bleeding from the inside out.
Rachel: Some of the women I’ve talked to who are pro-choice say that mothers who choose to abort not only think of themselves. They say they also think of the future of the child and how they would not want the child to live in an environment where there is no father or they have to have someone else as a father. This was their response to my suggestion of giving up children for adoption instead of killing them. Honestly… what bull. In your opinion, is there any valid reason at all for a woman to have an abortion?
Don: I think women that abort are only thinking of themselves. Why are they pregnant in the first place? Why did they have sex in the first place? Why did they choose that person to have sex with? The easiest thing a woman can do is open her legs. I think there are very few legitimate reasons for an abortion. Maybe in a sexual assault situation but that would be about it.
Rachel: I believe that the greatest works of an artist are inspired by something very personal and deeply emotional—such as a tragic experience. Would you say that part of your drive to create art isfrom the hurt of abandonment?
Don: I found art and the fantasy world in my head a very safe and comforting place to be from an early age. I really did need something to cling to and escape into. Then I used my art as a way of being accepted by the world. Now I use my art as a voice.
Rachel: There is no denying that you will inevitably carry your mother’s genes for the rest of your life unfortunately. This might be the most personal question here, so feel free to decline. Do you see some personal flaws in yourself that you believe may be a reflection of the kind of woman she is—such as, the tendency to want to leave relationships or to have little regard for the feelings of others or the effect of your personal decisions on others?
Don: My mother (and father) was very cold emotionally and not physically warm. Up until very recently I was pretty disconnected from other people and I did bail on many relationships. I used to be very cold and hard- I pretty much hated myself so it was easy to hate others. Also I felt I had to ‘protect’ myself by keeping people away in a very nasty and aggressive way. My motto was ‘kill or be killed’ and I never knew why I felt like that. It was only when all the pieces were put together that I realised what I had been my whole life.
Rachel: Some people alter their actions based on the flaws that they see in others. Because you see that your mother’s decision was a big flaw, in what ways has this knowledge changed you for the better in treating yourself and others?
Don: Once I accepted what I was and why I had lived my life with this anger and aggression I can now embrace who I really am. Gone are all the addictions I used to shield myself with for a start. Twenty five years of (chronic) pot and cigarette smoking gone. Twenty years of heavy drinking gone.
I have a wonderful relationship with my eighteen year old son and my life has dramatically improved since I realised the anger and fear I had had felt since before I was born. I also have a partner of ten years instead of a record period of six months.
Art has helped me process the anger towards my parents and I have allowed myself to be reborn. In a way I had to start from scratch.
Funny, I also realised recently why my favourite song ever is Patrick Hernandez Born To Be Alive. It is the ultimate abortion survivor song.
This list of images drives the point home that an actual child is being killed….