Tina Parker

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Wild Domestic Terrors

Thursday, February 22, 2018

For this, the third in a series chronicling my research project on women and mental health, I promised to touch on how living the domestic life of a stay-at-home mom made my imagination run wild with domestic terrors.

Well, that’s a tall order. I’ll start by saying that I had so many beautiful moments with our daughters when they were young—truly “In the moment” times when I could see the world anew through their eyes. It sounds cliché but it is true, every bit.

I also had times of feeling isolated, judged, and lost. There are so many expectations on parents, and I struggled to meet them all and maintain my own identity.

Before becoming a mom, I read all the stock lit on women and madness—I even took a class with that very title. I enjoyed the class at the time, but being home with young children made it really click. Suddenly I could relate to women gone mad in their domestic space, tracing the pattern in the wallpaper and cutting up the drapes.

I began to revisit books I’d read years before. I took a class on speculative poetry. I became fascinated by how ordinary, mundane household chores can become mirrors of our obsessions and fears. My daughter’s first time hearing about the myth of Bloody Mary led me to recall how real such tales were to me as a child. From my perspective as a stay-at-home mom, the prospect of Bloody Mary coming through the mirror and living in our house seemed less of a nightmare. After all, I didn’t have much adult interaction. I carried on imaginary conversations in my head constantly—I talked with my dead grandmother, with my mother, with fellow moms in the trenches.

These musings, classes, and readings all came together in a series of poems that brought Bloody Mary into the contemporary domestic space of an ordinary stay-at-home mom. I created a character, a fictional mom, who interacted with Bloody Mary. (She really is fictional—she’s not me!). And the poems started coming together from there.

To see some of this work, visit https://www.hellscapepress.org/blog/4-poems-by-tina-parker.

I am so grateful to the editors who have given my poetry their attention. These editors are mostly all volunteers who promote poetry out of their sheer passion for it.

So, that wasn’t so terrifying. But I do hope they poems haunt their readers just a little.