Double Bind. A Collaborative Piece on Care and Its Mixed Perceptions

Pauline Picot //

Being taken care of is serious.

Being taken care of is the first thing you experience when you come to life. You surrender to another human being and in doing so, you establish your first human relationship. Being taken care of is belonging to someone; being the object of their care.

Being taken care of is a little suffocating and uncomfortable. I usually am unable to relax into that care unless it is from the closest circle. Being taken care of needs planning and prepping.

What are we waiting for ?
Why don’t we call 911 ?
Do you want to die ?
Do you even think about me ?

Being taken care of is not hurting anymore.

Being taken care of is a great privilege few can enjoy. The meaning has so many faces ranging from being taken care of due to age, health and financial dependency as well as being taken care of emotionally.

Do you know FWP ?
You know, First World Problems ?
Just kidding, can’t you take a joke ?

Being taken care of is when someone looks after my feet, looks after my hair, looks after my pressure points, my heels, I don’t know, shaves me, puts some cream on me, some perfume –  is that OK ? It’s hard for me you know, I don’t know you – I don’t know –

Being taken care of is…comforting but makes me feel vulnerable.

What is this ?
Is this a homemade bandage ?
You think it’s what WWII ?
Or better WWI ?

Being taken care of is kind of like being sheltered, pampered, mollycoddled, and mostly being considered as a whole, body and mind, with respect.

Being taken care of is first of all accepting the fact that you are ill. Being taken care of is part of my daily life. Being taken care of takes time. Being taken care of requires patience. Being taken care of is consulting 10000 different people, therapists and friends, and failing at getting any answers… but in spite of that, being taken care of means you try to find answers in order to heal. Being taken care of is the quest of a lifetime. Rumour has it that the power of taking care of yourself lies inside you…

How many more ears do you need ?
How many more years do you need ?

Being taken care of is finding one’s peace. Being taken care of is transitioning from one state to another.

Being taken care of is putting your own heart inside an ice cream cone just for you to enjoy.

Being taken care of is when your pain subsides; when you reawakens your taste for life. Being taken care of is comforting and gives you hope for the future. Being taken care of is when you hope you’ll get better ; when your suffering is taken into consideration.

What is he gonna fix ?
What is he gonna fix that I can’t fix ?
Why the third party ?
Well do you have the money ?

Being taken care of is a duty; you have to show yourself in the best light. It is a form of respect towards others and yourself. Being taken care of is also a right; the right to receive care when you are ill.

Why don’t you get your hip / eye / nose / rib / jaw / back / tooth / heart / foot  / palm / brain / knee / spleen / arm / thigh / waist / lungs / calf / lip / brain / chin / neck / ear / toe / chest / leg / face / skin / soul / fixed ?

Being taken care of is being brave; being a little scared; being happy.

Why would you shrink down to a shrivelled shrub ?

Why would you curl up like a wounded cat ?
Why would you go into hiding ?
Why would you hide to vomit ?
Why would you hide to cough ?
Why would you hide to limp ?

Being taken care of is benefitting from a medical help and feeling its positive effects on one’s health.

Being taken care of is relaxing and indulging. But it’s also like a little submissive.

Why didn’t you call ?
Don’t you know you can call ?

Being taken care of is receiving outside help, which will bring a solution to a problem. Whether you consider it on a psychological or physical level, being taken care of implies that you find help outside of yourself. Although some people specialize in caring for other people, everybody can take care of someone and anybody can be taken care of. It ranges from a comforting word to a surgical intervention ; what matters is that the person who is taken care of feels better afterwards. And if this person is feeling so much better that their problem is gone, then they are cured.

Being taken care of is firstly taking care of oneself, if oneself will deign to roll up one’s sleeves, which is not always a given; otherwise sometimes it can simply be suckling from a breast.

Being taken care of is healing from your wounds, be they shallow or deep, with the help of someone else. Being taken care of makes me think of an inert body whose wounds are being healed, but whose mind is troubled.

Being taken care of means being healed from your ailments, whether they are physical or psychological. The sources of this care are varied, as are the possible treatments.

Why don’t you go see someone ?
Do you think you can manage ?

Being taken care of helps me give a good impression to my entourage, and to galvanize my spirits despite my problems.

Why would you scratch your scab ?
Why would you scratch your scab with tweezers ?
Why would you scratch your scab with scissors ?
Why would you scratchg your scab with a pruner ?
Why would you scratch your scab with a chainsaw ?

Being taken care for is feeling like you are valued. Being taken care for is knowing that you are always going to have someone there for you to support you in your lows and highs.Being taken care for is feeling loved.Being taken care for is feeling worthy of love and respect.Being taken care for is realizing that there’s still good people in this world.Being taken care for is experiencing the best side of other people.

Being taken care of is warmth.


With the kind collaboration of – Gisèle (5, France) – Milo (15, France) – Yacine (43, France) – Antonia (56, France) – Marie (46, France-Belgium) – Natalia (26, Venezuela) – Yann (55, France-Italy) – Sorenn (5, France) – Boris (17, France) – Catherine (50, France) – Justine (20, France) – João (42, Brazil) – Julie (28, France) – Harri (50, Finland) – Anthony (31, France) – Mathis (22, France) – Élisabeth (60, France) – Wade (25, Maliseet Nation-Canada) – Gilberte (84, France) – Matéo (14, France) – Laxmi (27, India) – Isabella (26, Mexico-Germany) – Albert (28, USA)


Cover Picture : “Bain brisé” (2010), a performance by Yann Marussich.
©Émilie Salquèbre

One Comment Add yours

  1. Amala Poli says:

    This is such an exquisite piece, Pauline. I’m very fascinated by these varied perceptions of care.

    Liked by 1 person

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