Obsessive compulsive disorder has taken captive my once free hands in a misguided attempt to protect them. And as I have said before [see Raw Proof] my hands suffer from severe dryness because of frequent and thorough hand washing compulsions. So when I paint a creepy black tree on my hand it is an act of rebellion, not simply because it is a beautifully dark depiction, but because it is my way of liberating the primary physical area that OCD has manipulated. By painting something that is aesthetically pleasing to me on the area which most symbolizes my obsessive compulsive disorder, I have taken that area back and reclaimed it as my own.
OCD can crack and damage my hands all it wants, but at the end of the day my hands belong to me, Valerie, not this mental disorder. And if I want to paint a skeletal tree on my hand because it makes me feel strong in the midst of a crippling mental disorder then you bet I am going to paint a tree.
– Valerie Parente (5-14-16)