I’m going to get really naked here…I don’t mean that literally (that is several entries back), I mean I’m going to expose myself here and let you into my head.As an introvert, this is not easy.Tensing up….deep breath…ok, good.
I’ve battled depression for a very long time.Usually it rears up as part of Seasonal Affective Disorder…aka S.A.D.(worst name ever), but this year it showed up, completely unwelcome, early summer.Wtf, depression?Don’t you know you’re supposed to hibernate in summer?
This past winter was actually one of my best because I had help.No meds, no doctors office, but the support of Sunny, an amazing healer.
I decided to start The Depression Project, a serious of self portraits to observe this more closely and track my mood. Rules: do it, especially if I really, really don’t feel like it.
Thankfully, after a lot of really unpleasant work on myself facing the depression head on (with more help from Sunny) I’m back on track and feeling better.Perfect?No.But who is?It can be a frustrating process, both for myself and those who only want me to feel better but can’t wave a magic wand to fix me.No magic wands…just a lot of self exploration and support.
Going to jump on the Throwback Thursday bandwagon today. This is a self portrait, taken at college. I’m pretty sure my lighting consisted of a harsh desk lamp while I was crammed into a loft bed space in my dorm room. This is the time I learned film and darkroom developing…lots of harsh chemicals, but lots of fun. I miss those days when I had hours and hours to spend in the darkroom. It gave me a very tranquil feeling…expose, develop, rinse, repeat.
Going to get a little more personal here today.I shot this self portrait last week since I haven’t done that in years.I’m definitely more comfortable behind the camera, which meant it was time to confront those nervous feelings.I’m going to be completely honest here…the range of thoughts and emotions that went through me during that 30 minutes varied widely.Some thoughts congratulated my willingness to do this, while other thoughts were more negative towards my body type.Some thoughts raised me up, while others tried to knock me down.It was like I was split halfway, one part subject, one part photographer.I allowed the photographer side to take over, eased into it more, and forgot about the negatives (ugh…photographer pun not intended).My role as the photographer is to make the subject feel good (while geeking out over gear) so I did just that.This was done with a timer, so there was a lot of hopping back and forth to reset the camera and look at the shots to see what I needed to adjust.Shoulders back.Leg a little to the left.All that fun stuff I usually use to direct others.By the end, I was having fun!
Yes, I’m aware of my body type.And I don’t hate it anymore.Yes, I’m aware that dropping weight will make me healthier…I’m working on it and already feeling better.It’s been a struggle and I take full responsibility for it all.That’s not the point of this though.The point was to confront some things and I did.I don’t know what I’ll look like in a year or even three months.But this is me now.And I accept that.To all those that have wanted to try this and hesitated:don’t worry.You’re fucking fabulous 😉
I’ve begun seeing the beauty in vulnerability lately, after tackling some personal issues. I know many of my subjects feel vulnerable, especially first timers who are not accustom to being nude in front of others. Once they settle in, however, they tend to find the experience very freeing, therapeutic even. Since I wouldn’t ask my subjects to do anything I wouldn’t, here is my act of vulnerability…as someone who feels wayyyy more comfortable behind the camera! An older shot, taken with film and a timer.