Being Reminded

Alexandra Manukyan

Alexandra Manukyan

A fragment of memory…

Of seeing this image a few months before.

And of how it rattled me from the inside out without fully understanding why.

Just the awareness of my stomach being turned and a desire to disembowel myself.


I wanted to turn my head away.

And yet I knew it wasn’t a message for me,


I was oh-so-closely-aligned with He-who-stood-in-the-middle.

This image represents what I walked in on…

What I bore witness to.

And it’s a situation I’ve seen play out more times than I care to remember.

What horrified me the most in this image is not the tug of war which is taking place. It is not the suggestion of invisibly torn hearts. And neither is it the suggestion of having to share the beloved. What turns my insides to the outside on paper is the idea that no expression is possible whilst the threads are in place. How the fuck do they speak with that shit coming right through their throats? How do they express what they feel? What do they think? It is not apparent where the cords originate; whether they do indeed come from the core of the man or if he is just caught up in the middle of it all. Is it not possible that those threads were just flailing around like those threads of life are wont to do? Could those threads have ensnared one of the women first? And then continued to weave others into the picture? Of course, anything is possible, but one thing I know for sure is that no one ever ends up in a drama like this if they don’t already have a part lined up for them. The internal script is already running, but those cords are also running straight through the heart and stomach of the man. Does he feel what they don’t/can’t speak?

Psychically speaking…

This picture could be a representation of the externalisation of an unconscious battle. Or in the words of C. Jung

“When an inner situation is not made conscious, it appears outside as fate.” 

Or in other words, He’s not owning up to the fight which is pulling at him on the inside. And the women do not own up to the reality that the one they hold onto is simply caught in a painful situation, or call it a trap if you must. His stance suggests a moving forward, moving away from both perhaps. Neither woman walks beside him, and neither holds his gaze. Both are attempting to keep him where he is ~ trying to stop him from taking any more steps. It’s going to hurt everyone if any of them leave the situation.

On the one hand, there is drama here; those hoop skirts are effective when it comes to making things look bigger than they are. This particular underskirt is visible which says there shouldn’t be any mistaking the drama…the man has his shirt off which could be an indicator of visibility of that which is usually kept under cover….Another thing I notice is that the threads are twisted (or crossed) to one of the women, does this indicate a miscommunication? Has he, she, or both of them somehow not got things straight between them? Those threads are crossed on both their parts; from his stomach to his arm, and from his arm to her throat. It’s more likely that neither is being straight forward in their dealing with the other.

Women, like men, have a number of roles to play in life, and those of us who are horrifically complex can often identify with the entire Greek Pantheon AND the mortals they came in contact with. Either or both of these women are likely to be trapped in their respective roles, each of them not living out the other half of their character represented by “the other woman”. Although, those roles may not be clearly defined and things are highly unlikely to be as they appear on the surface. The one on the left wears a mask; she’s hiding her true face.

I don’t have a place in this particular image, but it fucking disturbs me from the inside out. The expressions on the faces of the women; one looking at the back of his head, the other only seeing him from the side. The one on the left has almost got the eyes of the martyr and may even be looking above the head of the man she clings onto. The man, not looking at either, his eyes are on the floor, his hand only loosely touching the arm of the woman on the left. His head facing down could be saying that he doesn’t want to face the situation head on; confidence or even pride may be lacking here.

It’ll hurt like hell if any one of them pulls away. Flesh will be torn. The kindest way would be to cut with scissors or maybe some other sharp blade.

Symbolically speaking, truth can cut like a knife; maybe it’s a case of some brute force honesty being needed to release all of those involved. One thing’s for sure; there’ll be no sneaking away with those threads in place.