This piece is part of an independent project I worked on consisting of 53 2"x3" (50.8mmX76.2mm) scratchboard cards. I would quickly scratch out the thoughts I was experiencing on a card & then put it away, eventually to turn them all into a book. I started this as a means to hastily 'journal' thoughts in a way that felt more cathartic than simply writing them on paper, using the very real physical element of scratching them into dried black ink as a means for healing, or something that seemed like the ever elusive, likely mythical idea of 'healing', and the metaphorical appeal, with the black receding where scratched to reveal the unscathed white underneath, representational of the removal of pain for innocence, a desperate desire to cling and return to times that were not as difficult in this degree, a metaphorical scraping away to resemble the scraping away of the tumors in my brother's brain.
Many of these thoughts revolve(d) around the deaths of my father & brother, separate incidences occurring days apart. The piece included here was inspired by the Daughter song 'Doing The Right Thing', featuring the lyrics 'pictures soak out of televisions'. This piece is representational of how my mother feels, both expressed by herself specifically & also based on how I imagine she must feel: lost and hollow in her grief & guilt, wondering what 'doing the right thing' looked/looks like, what else she could have done to prevent or delay their deaths, especially the death of my brother, 'her only son', a line found repeated in this piece. 'Childhood OCD' also features [lightly paraphrased] lyrics from the Pixies' song 'Hey', followed by a personal confession of what has been my one and only wish since about the third grade, 'for my mum to be happy', which is the reason for the title of this piece because in the third grade I began developing OCD tendencies as a way to 'advocate for, haggle, or perform in exchange for' my mother’s happiness. Note these struggles and barters were between myself & myself alone & existed only in my head, my mother did not instruct or to my knowledge influence these tendencies, I was just always hyper-concerned about her well-being. This piece features many scratched over words, a technique I generally use to emphasize the words crossed over and to elicit more curiosity & 'looking' from viewers, and, specific to this piece, the scratches that result in gaping white underneath are representational to many things, including the results of the self-harm I would do as a child and young adult, as well as the gaping desperation for unsullied happiness, experienced by both myself &, I continue to imagine, my mother. The scratched out lines directly addressing my mother as 'you', in 'reminded me of you' and a confession to crying about this song playing I crossed out and replaced with the less emotional, more reserved and distant 'I thought of you' because I have long been cognizant of not wanting to overcrowd my mother with my own emotions; I have always wanted her to be able to have as much space as she'd like to express herself without what I perceive as 'interruption' from any expression of my own emotions, which was either the cause or a consequence of my typical reserved, unemotional disposition, despite any feelings of inner turmoil and distress. The inner feelings I work out privately, which is how this piece before you was born. Please look, see me, see my mum.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
RILEY SERGIA DALCA is a Florida-born Hispanic & Native Hawai'ian person, living in Cleveland, Ohio at the date of this publication but prone to relocating constantly. A traveler, vegan, queer & inherently sad person, Riley has done many regrettable things, mostly in 2013 Philadelphia, but has experienced countless more beautiful & cherished moments. Riley loves its family & is very blessed to have such loving beings in its life, alive & dead.