Mutilation is the badge that can never be taken off, and sets us apart from all others. Pain is important to the bonding-a physical horror that bonds us ever tighter to all those who have partaken. The intensity of the experience helps to widen the gulf between us and those who have not shared.
I have sat here happy in the gardens, Watching the still pool and the reeds And the dark clouds. . . . But though I greatly delight In these and the water lilies, That which sets me nighest to weeping Is the rose and white colour of the smooth flag-stones, And the pale yellow grasses Among them.
When a female character sets herself on fire in an effort to interrupt her culture's violent abuse of disenfranchised people, or physically tortures and punishes her guardian rapist, or picks up a gun and fights back in ways that make her not pretty, or aggressively rejects her role as the object of desire, or even when she waddles off into the woods to squat and have a baby without the safety and expertise of hospitals and doctors, these are the kinds of violences and stories we can learn from.
I toyed briefly with an image someone once mentioned to me, of a village in the shadow of a twin-peaked mountain. In the morning the sun rises. At lunch it sets behind the mountain. In the early afternoon it rises once more. The cocks crow for the second time, and later the sun sets again. No. One peak. Metaphors should not be belaboured.