Recently, I recorded a series of videos of my poetry. My photographer, Rodney Smith of Tempus Fugit Design did an amazing job on all of them. We chose to launch this project with two videos about sexual assault and victim blaming. (They are “The Car Accident” & “How To Stop Rape“.) I am sad to say that I would be unable to count how many times I have physically been a victim of sexual predators. From being molested as a child, to weekly assaults while I was in a home for children, to the two “normal” rapes and my relationship with a violent alcoholic… there’s just too many attacks to even count.
For reasons still unknown to me, I have found myself in a position of some notoriety in our little town of Asheville, NC. I suppose it’s less to do with my being voted the Mountain Xpress’ 2015 Best of WNC poet, and more to do with my odd outfits, emcee work, and making people laugh on social media. That tiny bit of “celebrity” has put me in an unique situation. If people know who I am, and I am not ashamed to say that I have been raped multiple times, then maybe, just maybe, it will help someone else. Maybe they will see that no matter what they were wearing, or if they’d been drinking, or even if they were dating or married to the person who attacked them… they are still not to blame. They did nothing wrong.
On Saturday, May 7th, a lot of my male friends will throw on a pair of high heeled shoes and walk (or even run) a mile through downtown Asheville. They’ll be hot, tired, sore, blistered, & everyone of them will be my hero.
Each team raises money for Our Voice &, of course, my favorite guys are Greg Garrison’s “Team Hop Ice Cream.” Greg has actually walked for me twice… the small act of wearing a sticker with my name on it had an immeasurable impact on me.
Walk A Mile raises money & awareness to help stop rape, gender violence & sexual assault. If I’m lucky, my poem can do a little of that as well.
For a little more of my story, as well as Greg’s reasons for walking, please read & watch the interview we did with the wonderful folks at WLOS News 13 in Asheville. My thanks to Aaron Adelson & WLOS for also recording and posting a short poem I wrote about the negative backlash I’ve received from speaking up about sexual assault.
One of my other collaborations with Rodney Smith of Tempus Fugit Design is our recent photo shoot, entitled “dreams of impact – a love letter to my pain.”
This is the story behind those pictures….
Rodney is not only my photographer, he’s my close friend and writing partner. We had been planning to get together to talk, because it had been awhile, and figured we’d both prepare for the possibility of a small photo shoot as well.
Normally, the photos we create are about my outfits, fun, confidence, individuality and the character I play onstage and online. Finding the beauty in the ridiculous way that I am. However, I’ve been having a rough life lately and that wasn’t how I felt. I suggested we create a love letter to my pain.
This is a record of the girl beneath the tulle skirts & thigh highs.
We shot these outside his studio, blasting music I associated with my sadness and talking through facets of my life. Rodney never asked me to pose, or look a certain way. As we walked and talked he would click away, finding the magic in that moment.
I’ve never been comfortable with my looks. I don’t see anything more than the homely girl everyone made fun of…. but, even to me, these pictures are breathtaking. They break my heart…. and I think this is our best collaboration yet.
– barbie angell
~ Keep an eye on my social media pages, as I’m about to announce another project that I’m honored to be involved with…. and this one is going to be so much fun.