Photo Story: The Haunting of Kou


Photography, creative direction, styling, modeling: Adrienne Tingba

Sometimes, the best way to heal from something is to confront it head first. My mother would often advise me to keep silent about things – especially the controversial ones – in an attempt to protect me. As a result, for a very long time, and even up to now, all I have done is bottle up my feelings and forget they exist. “Keep pushing.” “You are strong.” I would tell myself. Although, as I continue to grow and heal, I’ve realized that failing to confront trauma isn’t strength – its actually the opposite. However, confronting it head on through positive means are the true steps to healing and growing. So in this spirit of healing, continue below for a photo story/performance art and self reflection.

The Haunting of Kou

Long nights with my eyes shut wide,

roaming the corridors of my mind with no place to hide.

I open the door, and there lies the untold stories.

Tighter, I squeeze them. Why do they all have to be so gory?

Behind one door, raised fists from my father.

Eyes shut tighter.

“You bitch!” His shouts grow louder.

Another door opens, and the chatters have no escape.

“She doesn’t belong here. She needs to vacate.”

Twisting and turning, my eyes now flutters rapidly.

All “she” wants to do, is live anywhere happily.

I turn to lie on my side.

Maybe peace will be found there.

But futile,

Are my efforts, as peace lies nowhere…

Nowhere, but in my truth.

The truth that lies behind another door.

Unconscious body, lying on the floor.

Or was it a bed?

Only he knows the tale to be told.


I push open the folds

He’s on top of me, bending my body to his control.

That’s what it’s about isn’t it? Control?

That’s why he wanted the story to remain untold?

“Maybe if I try to lie on my back?”

But all I gets is another mental attack.

“Maybe if I do it this way then it’ll all be perfect.”

Perfect! Perfect! Perfect!

The words echoes in my mind.

I open another door and am surprised at what I find.

Now, this revelation is a bit tricky.

Cuz mother never meant to be so damn picky!



The word reduces to a soft whisper,

Only, it comes from mine, and not from Mother’s mouth.

and so I think…. Maybe, the need for perfection has all been just a taunt.

And that’s why I’m doing everything to run away from this haunt.

Then creeks another door.

I can’t even get myself to open 

As the cries of the baby, sorry, “fetus” makes my ears go sore.

Without opening, I know what lies behind that door. 

Another sad story that doesn’t need to be retold.


So many untold stories filled with sorrow.

I guess this haunting will last till the morrow.

Then the last revelation becomes clearer.

Perfect timing, as morning is drawing nearer.

Not unless I live in my truth,

Can I ever find some peace.

For when I truly live it,

There will be no need for them to ask me for more proof.

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