Arts featured

Olympia is over it, a poem and a photograph by Cara Jones

After 30 minutes of questions
To summarize over 40 years of blood sweat and fears
The psychiatrist looked up from her notepad
I held my breath for the verdict
Slowly, sitting back in her chair
She delivered it with certainty
Revealing to me
That I have achieved too much in life to have ADHD
I released my breath
It was hot with frustration
Pure exacerbation
Tears streaming down my checks
Releasing years of desperation
Desperate to be believed
I WAS OVER IT
I should have been over it a long time ago
But I was trained to be a good girl
To not question the status quo
Don’t ruffle the feathers of the collective ego
I needed them to keep this avatar alive 
NOW, I’m a woman on a journey 
Of unlearning self-doubt and projected fear
And I have noticed that I give less fucks with each passing year
So in this particular moment I am unapologetically pissed
As I sit in front of this doctor thinking of the growing list
Of moments I was not believed
Unnecessary hurdles between me and all I have achieved
Lost keys, appointments missed, daily anxiety that it would all come 
crashing down because I knew I was forgetting something, I just couldn’t 
remember what it was but I knew it would find me, I just didn’t know 
WHERE or WHEN or WHAT excuse I would need to create to make sure 
that nobody knew that I had ten TVs on in my brain and every show
was the best show I have ever SEEN, and I couldn’t decide which one to
watch so I try to watch them all missing the entire plot of every episode.
I knew without a doubt I had ADHD
Just like my mother knew when I was a child that I had epilepsy
Even though mom was told I was a fake
And that she was just an overprotective mother who shouldn’t question authority
To check her place in the ranks of superiority
Thank God she learned to unlearn or I would probably be dead
Instead of standing here feeling grateful for the privilege to be angry
AND OVER IT
I want to make something clear
I have had incredible doctors help me to succeed
Doctors who listened and believed
That I knew my body, myself, my pain
It’s their example that instills hope when faced with more of the same
IGNORANCE

We’re delighted to present this poem and photograph by Cara Jones, one of the five poems that were selected after we issued a call for poems earlier in the year.

“Exploring text on the body and the experience of being “read” or “judged” by people became a personal fascination at a young age,” she writes. “Growing up with various medical conditions, I struggled with how society perceived my (dis) abilities and began documenting my experiences through poetry.” 

“Experimenting with the art of poetry and photography, I explore the relationship between language, perception and environment. By placing the subjects in diverse environments, I combine elements that reflect my experiences captured in the poems. 

“The Multi-Media Series, People Paper, incorporates handwritten text within the image as a way of infusing the artist into the portrait. This reflects her connection with the writing, the experience and the people (paper) in the portraits.

The photo, “Olympia Is Over It” pay tribute to Édouard Manet’s, Olympia, a painting that stirred a century long debate in the arts around “Nakedness” & “Nudity.” Women are constantly faced with a misogynistic duality of the “Madonna/Whore” construct.

Olympia is Over it, showcasing Albertan artist, Tina Martel, seven weeks after her double mastectomy, is a commentary on the strength, diversity and fluidity of the female experience. The empowered gaze and the ownership of her own life leaves her mentee (Cara Jones) enamoured with her essence, showering her with love and gratitude for her fearless authenticity. 

 The Poem, “Olympia Is Over It”, captures the frustration many women experience when it comes to gender bias in medicine and the struggle of being “believed.”

Bio:

Cara Jones is a writer, poet, photographer and award-winning documentary filmmaker. Passionate about the power of storytelling, Cara has reached out to extraordinary people who have inspired her life journey sharing their experiences through her podcast, Cara Jones Speaks, Shedding light on the Extraordinary. She is a graduate of NSCAD University, BFA, and currently resides in Antigonish, Nova Scotia. To learn more about Cara Jones, please visit her website www.carajonesspeaks.tv 

Note: My WordPress skills are modest, and I wasn’t able to entirely reflect the typography and layout of the original poem. Here is a PDF that is closer to the original.

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