invisible-i-am by Gregg Davis
Publication date: August 18th 2015
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult
An experimental, literary YA multimedia narrative centered on the experiences of 16-year-old Gregg Davis, who undergoes brutal bullying and sexual violence by her peers. Spanning the mediums of the printed page, online social media and the screen, this story offers a wrenching, empathetic look at the experience of bullying through a victim’s eyes, and then extends this theme of oppression, humiliation and violence to address issues of historical and systemic racism in the U.S. today. A picture book.
Read Chapter One for free at invisible-i-am.com.
For updates on Gregg and the invisible-i-am story, follow her on Twitter @iaminvisibleiam, Tumblr via http://iaminvisibleiam.tumblr.com, YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCJ3_…, and Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/invisibleiambook.
“Caroline Lee Davis.” my mother’s second command penetrated my sister’s brain and she left me to the inevitable interrogation. Her thoughtful eyes met mine as she passed. Good. my sister and i understood each other.
(at least this time)
As she went upstairs, i turned to face my parents.
Mom still wore her yoga clothes from teaching classes earlier in the day. The thigh-length, mossy green, cashmere sweater and dark teal leggings complemented her brown hair and hazel eyes. She was barefoot yet she had draped a silk paisley shawl across her shoulders. Typical.
my father was fashion hopeless. Think tan khakis, a button down, light blue. Yet i never doubted their absolute love.
As if reading my thoughts, Dad put his arm around me and pulled me closer to him in support. His touch made me stiffen at ﬁrst but i reminded myself to breathe. my father was not going to abuse me and if i was going to pull off this charade, i needed to act like nothing was wrong.
“Spill,” Mom ordered, stepping into her role as disciplinarian. To her, living a well-regulated life was an act of self-friendship. She believed consistency provided a foundation for creativity. Dad was more into chaos, despite the fact that he viewed the scientiﬁc method as his religion. Both believed in balance. Or, as Mom taught, “hugging-the-midline of life.” Dad used English and called it moderation in all things.
(my hair-cutting exercise hardly fell within their parameters)
“Well,” my mind sifted through strategies and chose the ﬁrst line of defense. “You know how Jack and i broke up a couple of weeks ago?” How could they forget? i used every invective i could access in my vocabulary and invented new ones. It took them days to calm down my rage.
“Yes,” Mom answered. Succinct, as ever, my mother. She poured me a cup of Temple of Heaven Gunpowder Tea from Zhejiang Province, China, out of a delicate Qing Dynasty china pot.
Mom knew the best way to break me.
(hated when she did it)
“i wanted to make a statement?” i offered, hoping this would be enough. The skeptical looks on their faces said maybe not.
Dad changed his usual approach and challenged me, “Kind of extreme, don’t you think? What are you not saying?”
His eyes sought the truth i would never give him.
Fate intervened when a convoy of guys in pick-up trucks roared by our house. They blasted their horns and shouted obscenities about me. Their noise intruded into our sanctuary.
Mom and Dad raced over to the window, pulled back the heavy, indigo velvet drapery and stared as the thugs made another pass. The full moon rising added drama to the scene.
my parents turned and looked at me. And then they did something so them. They drew me off the sofa and placed me in the middle of their gentle hug. My father whispered, “Gregg sandwich.” A’ja rubbed against our legs, purring.
The sweetness of their gesture contrasted with the horribleness of the day and overwhelmed me. i began to cry heart-wrenching, broken-animal sort of sobs. Mom stroked my hair. Dad sang the lullaby, “Hush, little baby, don’t you cry.” Their tenderness made me blubber even more. i don’t know how long we stood there.
Harriet Showman (born 9 May 1954) is an author and multimedia artist born in South Carolina and raised in Pennsylvania. She returned to South Carolina for university and lives there today. She holds undergraduate and graduate degrees in colonial South Carolina history and has spent much of her life helping children and young adults succeed amidst challenging circumstances, including poverty and abuse. With a strong core of allies, Showman helped to establish a statewide Guardian ad Litem program to provide legal support for abused children; a Cities in Schools organization to serve underprivileged students; and a vehicle for the accumulation of monies to be distributed in grants through the Children’s Trust Fund. As a development officer for South Carolina’s flagship university, Showman attracted resources from major, national foundations to target South Carolina’s most urgent needs. She remains interested in the plight of children, teens and adults who suffer abuse, oppression and the paralyzing pain of invisibility.