It is no secret that over the last couple of months my life has felt overwhelming. The loss of my thirteen year old pup in August undid me. Dogs, in my opinion, provide the most authentic form of unconditional love, so when I lost my pup I felt so alone, even though I wasn’t. Prior to the loss of my dog, my brother had moved away to Seattle and asked me to watch over his pet. Her name is Luna, and she’s significantly different from the dog I had lost. Beyond a very obvious difference in phenotypical expression, her maturity is still developing. She is a beautiful 1 year old pitbul who’s eyes light up the minute she sees me. Raising her has been so different from my last. That said, I’m not sure I could’ve raised a dog that reminds me of my last. I most likely would’ve found myself wallowing in my own sorrow far more often. Luna is over saturated with personality. She keeps me on my feet, kicks me in her sleep and currently has developed a terrible habit of bringing me dead pigeons in the morning ha (we’re working on stopping this)! She saw me crying one day in the yard and sat across me confused. I don’t think she was able to process why I felt so sad but I could tell she wanted to help. She has been there for me over the last couple of months. Her joyous personality was enough light to pierce the darkness that enveloped me. She truly is one of a kind. I love her so much.
I woke up this morning to a cold grey sky. The light in my mothers eyes did not shine as bright. She asked me if I wanted coffee and turned away from my gaze. It was only seconds before I heard her start to cry. My mother is a strong woman, it is unlike her to show vulnerability like that unless someone has passed away. Oh, it suddenly clicks, someone must have passed away. It hurts to see her like this, she is clearly hurting. I go to her and hug her and while she cries in my arms she tells me her nephew, my cousin, has passed. She can barley hold the cup of unfinished coffee anymore. I feel her sorrow emanating and begin to creep its way down my throat. I'm conflicted, I barley knew the man, "why do I feel sad, why do I feel cheated?." Today is a reminder that I am a first generation Citizen. My life is torn between two cultures and unfortunately one of the ramifications is that I will most likely never get to know my entire family. I am heart broken that it feels like another set of books that detail my lineage have been burned and I was never given the opportunity to read their stories, to simply glimpse at the pages and see how their lives inadvertently affected mine.
Over the course of the next 8 weeks I want to share my thoughts with you, those interested enough to read this. This blog will be an open discussion with myself, upon which I plan to get a better understanding of my current emotional state.
For starters, I want everyone to know, including myself, I am a wreck. My emotional state feels like it is constantly shifting and I have no control over what I feel. Two nights ago, on what appeared to be an okay day, I felt terrible. I drove home crying from work because I felt overwhelmed with emotions. It is no secret that I am very overwhelmed with school right now. I mean, I'm taking 24 credits this semester, or at least I was until Monday night when I impulsively made the decision to drop out of my only photography class this semester, I will elaborate on this in another post, that aside 24 credits had me constantly stressed out about wether or not I was getting everything done. I was always at school and almost never had a chance to catch my breath, I still don't, even at 21 credits. I've burnt myself out and I still have 6 weeks to go. That said, last night I went to the campus gym and for a moment forgot that I was a student, that I carried the weight of what seemingly feels like the world on my shoulders, I simply played a game of basket ball with some strangers I met on the court. Maybe it was the lack of oxygen my brain was clearly not getting or maybe it was something more, but when I was out there playing a terrible game I had fun. I haven't felt "Fun" without the pressure of responsibilities nagging at my shoulders begging me to reevaluate my life in so long. It was amazing to know that the feeling could still manifest itself. These strangers were so uplifting, even though there was clearly two separate teams, the groups cheered one another on like they played for the same team. They acknowledged strengths without seeing it as their own weaknesses, they motivated each other to keep going when the odds didn't seem to favor the losing team. It was a competition nonetheless but it was free of everything that made it feel like somebody would come out being better than the other, still someone would inevitably lose but it didn't appear to matter. At least not to them, the game was just fun. It reminded me to breathe, it reminded me to keep going, that I could keep going but most importantly it reminded me to have fun.
30 days ago I began this challenge at an attempt to get to know myself as an artist and individual a little better. It was extremely challenging to say the least, on most days I found myself struggling to keep coming up with new concepts to bring to life as well as find the motivation to shoot. That said, seeing this entire project complete I am left with nothing but great pride. This entire month has been exhausting but this project speaks volumes on my ability to multi task and my character. I have definitely seen a growth in me as an artist all the while reigniting my passion for this craft. Thank you to those of you who have reached out and connected with my pieces since the beginning, I couldn't have done it without all of your constant support. I hope I inspired some of you to take the time to get to know yourself.
As some of you may remember back in May I was attacked in a parking lot by a man who attempted to mug me the night before my birthday. That said, on my birthday I photographed my first self portrait for the year. This served to remember what I had gone through but more importantly it was a reminder that I had survived. The image was a dyph-tych of my face and my back. I can recall looking at it for the first time because it was extremely difficult since I could see the imprint of my attackers grip on my shoulder as well as the scratches he left me as he tried to keep me from running away. For a while I hated looking at myself because I thought the bruises he left me would never go away and I knew that I didn't want his life woven into the fabric of mine. This image is not honoring the attack it is honoring my recovery. This image is shedding on light on my ability to grow and heal from my wounds under any circumstance. This year has been challenging to say the least but it has also helped me begin to love and understand myself more profoundly.
In a city like Las Vegas its hard to imagine ever looking up and seeing a star lit sky. However, the cities brightest stars are not found in the sky, they simply surround us. We can spend an entire lifetime searching for the brighter things in life and never realize that the brightest spots may lie amongst us. Life is filled with moments of beauty and sparkle its quite unfortunate that those instances are the easiest to miss. Todays image was incredibly difficult to produce, it wasn't necessarily intense post production but it was incredibly time consuming when I was out shooting. I will admit that today was another day I was scared I wouldn't be able to produce an image.
Today's image is about celebrating the idea that opportunities open to those who are ready to follow them. Yesterday's image inspired so many supportive people to message me and say that I was ready to fly to new skies and see what the world has to offer but today I finally believe it. After I graduate from the photo program at CSN I'm going to pursue a life where I can share my art and create work that feeds my soul and simultaneously speaks to others. The first step is realizing and recognizing that I have the potential to be the person I aspire to be. As scary as it may sound, I know that I will always have the support of people like you, those reading my captions, and those out there silently lifting my spirit when I am down. Thank you for believing in me but most importantly thank you for helping me believe in me.
I spend so much time thinking about the future and where my work is taking me but I am often afraid to admit that the idea of starting over is undeniably scary. I am scared to be alone again and scared to have to relearn new things. The very thought of having to understand where I fit in amongst strangers gives me anxiety. In fact, the fear is crippling that I worry that my desire to fly into new adventures can and may be overcome by my fear and the anxiety of having to begin my life again. I don't want to be trapped in city where my Art, much like myself, cannot grow and flourish. However, am I capable of meeting people again and developing connections on my own without fear of ridicule or judgment?
Today I discussed with a few people how we've inevitably become extremely reliant on technology as its advanced throughout the years. The minute our phone is unable to give us directions and guidance our desire to travel into the unknown diminishes. We've become so reliant on the knowledge these minuscule materialistic items offer us that we forget to think for ourselves. Technology is certainly bringing people closer together by allowing individuals to interact globally with one another. That being said, it is impossible to ignore the positive correlation found in the decrease in human interaction as opposed to the increase found in the desire to simply connect digitally. Are we afraid to unplug and simply disconnect from one another?
For so long I blamed the people in my life for simply choosing to watch me as I fell apart. I was never offered assistance or given a hand, the people in my life kind of just expected me to be able to put myself back together after others broke me. I'm not sure if anyone ever understood how mean the other kids were to me. I remember being ten and running for class president, I couldn't afford a printer back then so I distinctly recall asking my family to help me hand write my flyers in old English so that I could pass them out. We stayed up really late that night finishing them so I could begin to campaign and pass them out the next morning. That said, the sound of the other kids tearing my flyers apart and laughing is still woven in the fabric of my memory. At that point I know I wanted to fade away. This image is inspired by the story of a boy who didn't want to exist. It's the story of a boy who only wanted to disappear.