How do you see yourself as complete, whole, worthy, if your body is always broken. I read a quote recently that asked a simple but important question, "Who hurt you so badly that you started hating yourself?" My mind kept churning those words over and over. And I had a simple answer. I've been physically sick since I was very young from allergies, to stomach pains, to high anxiety with depression, nerve pain in my legs, sinus headaches, migraines, high fevers, constant strep, ear infections, and foot pain. Of course I hate myself, this body is a torture chamber. Why would I like this? I am recovering but to strip away the modes I've been in to survive for over 30 years will not happen in a day. I have to give my younger self a voice. I have to be kind and have patience. Most of my self portraits are distorted figures, bent in odd directions, scarred, fractured and dark. If the lens we see ourselves through is flawed for so long, its going to take as much time to fill every tiny crack with gold. The Japanize filled a cracked bowl with gold. What an amazing, spectacular, healing idea. I can't go forward and I can't go backwards. And I'm sick of this grey area I've been living in. Perhaps those new golden moments we experience are the ones that fill in the fragile places within ourselves. Maybe its switching to a new lens to see the hope in the picture. I think this is why I get lost in photography. I see life's truths through a lens. Its my voice and its my therapy. Its my own private safe place. Away from the internal and external chaos. It is peace and quiet. I joke with my family that I like photographing in the local cemetery because the people there are quiet. Total peace is rare for me. And I find it in the lens of my camera. And each special moment I view heals me a little more. Its something I have to teach myself, to let the good things in. To give the good things a chance to be in my space. Over the years so many good things left, people left, family left, connect left. The loss of chronic illness is so profound on so many levels to the point you hate your body and illness for creating such a black hole of pain and loneliness. You hate you for being the sick you and making all the good things go away. It adds to the torment. Its a twisted logic but I know I am not alone in feeling this. I've had so many patients say they feel they are unlovable, ugly, weird, outcast, a social ghost, lyme zombie, etc. We try to joke about it but it only masks the true pain underneath. And trying to build new happier memories that do not include illness or pain during a hurricane is an impossible task. But little moments, second, minutes, those are doable. I could pick up my camera and lean on the window frame inside my house when I could barely stand and see the icicles forming off of our roof. They sparkled in the daylight. I remember loosing myself for a moment, staring at their disco lights they created. So maybe its little moments that fill in the cracks when we feel at our absolute worst. My cats cuddling with me, saves me. I can't tell you how many times their fluffy warm bodies curled up on me has kept me sane. Its the little things that save us. Its the moments of kindness and goodness that fill our cracks to make us whole again. Its a long lengthy process this healing thing. But please know you are not alone on that journey.
You can click on Angeles Wings Photography and view my work.
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