A few weeks ago, I was talking with a good friend who is also a trauma survivor and has grown to hate the ubiquity that is trigger warnings. My own feelings on such disclaimers are very ambivalent at the moment, but I guess all I’m trying to say is: this piece is going to go to some very dark places, but I promise we’ll come out the other end ok. Consider yourself warned.
Yesterday, I celebrated my 27th birthday, or rather, my last day of being 26, by walking along the Fife Coastal Path between St Andrews and Kingsbarns. The Coastal Path is a 117-mile stretch of trail that runs along the edge of Fife, roughly between Edinburgh and Dundee. It is my favorite thing about living here. I took my sister and brother-in-law there last July, and I remember my sister saying, “anywhere you live after this is going to be incredibly disappointing in comparison.” She is not wrong. I would run along the path in spring and summer, and I used to do eight to ten mile walks along it with a group of friends from my graduate program. We’d take the bus to our starting point and make our way along the coast to the next town. I’d bring scones, and we’d stop often to lay in the sun or watch dolphins and seals in the sea. After one trip, I badly Photoshopped some dolphins (and myself) into a group picture. Hilariously, some people on Facebook thought it was real.
ETA: Trigger warning for sexual assault/rape.
You probably don’t remember me, but I worked for you during my time at Wellesley. I was in the technology department, if you can call one full-time employee and a work-study student a department. The bulk of my job consisted of a) importing digital photographs of artwork into your new database and b) updating your website, particularly whenever there was a new exhibition on. Because of these two activities, I am extensively acquainted with the vast majority of your 10,000+ works collection, and I am also pretty familiar with special exhibits you put on between 2005 and 2009. I remember some of these being more controversial than others—for instance, your “On The Edge” exhibit definitely sparked conversations around campus when you decided to advertise by sticking postcards of this guy in every mailbox: