Stories from the shadows

Cover of the visual essay collection, depicting a blurred and overlapping pen and ink illustration of a mansion, which can be understood as representation of the asylum.

a collection of visual essays by two workers in the care industrial complex
about Trauma.

the things we tell ourselves

the things we tell ourselves about others

the things we tell others about themselves

the things we tell ourselves

text & art by
Kathryn Metter
Patricia Ki

A note on reading these stories:

This collection contains stories about institutional violence — coercive practices, ableism, sexism, classism — as well as resistant responses to violence, such as swearing and visual representations of ruminative internal processes.

None of the stories contain violent imagery. Each story is preceded by a cover page with the title of the story. Descriptions of coercive and oppressive practices appear in the first story, “the things we tell ourselves…” and the fifth story, “… incident at 3am”. Visual representation of rumination and swearing appear in the first story, and the last story, “things we ask ourselves at 3am”. Substance use and intimate partner violence are referenced in the fourth story, “déjà vu”, and the fifth story.

The visual devices that tell the stories are themselves institutional tools that enact control, surveillance, and subjugation. We feel that it is important to tell stories about the violence we witnessed in spaces that were supposed to be caring for people who have experienced violence. We hope that through contemplating these stories we can imagine practices of care that do not replicate violence. As Eli Clare writes, trigger warnings can be tools for collective care. So we wish to encourage readers to honour and make space for all feelings and responses that arise from their individual relationships with these stories, to care for themselves accordingly, and to connect with supportive beings as needed.