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In a State of Catharsis by Ana Maria Torres

Ana Maria Torres

Artist and Photographer

Boston, MA

The only way out is through - but there is no path to follow. Suspended in a state of limbo, wandering blindly among darkness and shadows, searching for direction that does not exist. I was 14 when I met him. I was a child, naive enough to trust without hesitation. Alone, in a strange, new country, I felt grateful just to know someone. As the relationship became romantic, the dynamic underwent a monumental shift. It restricted me; clung to me like a parasite. I constantly questioned my own sanity, finding myself limited to my partner’s distorted perception of me. My self-image deteriorated beneath his cruelty.

When I did find the courage to leave to reclaim what I once was, my world collapsed. I was no longer a child. The sky descended onto me like a blanket, and the lens through which I had been viewing the world transformed overnight. The rose-colored glasses that distorted his abusive behavior with allure finally shattered. I no longer believed his excuses or justifications, I saw him. Authentically and unapologetically, I saw how I had been treated. I understood it, and I felt it deeply. But without him, I am free to flourish.

This body of work visually addresses my history with abuse, suffering and eventual liberation. It is a uniquely female, coming-of-age exploration that dives into the uneven gendered-power dynamics and abuse often tainting romantic relationships. I am utilizing self-portraiture to address both my affliction and my growth , hoping to also address the collective pain of women who have endured abusive relationships. This collective voice is important in a society that is so quick to defend the harmful and abusive actions of powerful men, while invalidating the traumatic experiences of the women they victimize. As I strive to share my experience as genuinely and authentically as possible, this work is raw and unfiltered. Revisiting my trauma and exploring it with visual introspection has been liberating and cathartic. It has given me closure on my own terms.