Thanks A Lot
Medium Used: Phone Camera Photo Shop / Photo Editor My Bathroom Floor
Length of Time: This project took me a week and a half to complete. It actually kept me awake for a couple of nights. I had so many ideas running through my head but I was so afraid of all of them. I apologize if the image seems too graphic. I really just needed to get this out there. I needed to see it with my own eyes.
What Inspired You To Do This?
Verbalizing my inner thoughts and feelings has always been a struggle. It honestly terrifies me to let others know who I am or what I’ve gone through. If I open up, will anyone truly care? Will they reject me for how I feel? And when I do try to communicate, the ideas I want to express fall short because I can never find the right words in the English language. Some cultures believe that a photograph can capture your soul. I was inspired to do a photo project so that I could capture mine for a moment and share it with you. It is the closest I have come to truthfully portraying how I feel inside.
As a side note, I’m so thankful that Stephan is such a lyrical craftsman. He has brought to life a lot of my inner dialogue. Showing the courage to write certain lyrics, to really put yourself out there, is amazing to me. His lyrics reveal a part of him in every song that he writes. To hear a crowd of people sing your words back to you must be the most badass feeling of affirmation in the world.
Tell Us What You See
This image is a reflection of my former self. These are the words that were on repeat in my head. This was the shadow that lurked in my peripheral and followed me to my bed at night. This is what I thought I looked like.
“The clothes she wears misfit and she’s nervous when she speaks.”
A couple of years ago I was put on antidepressants for social anxiety disorder. I did not enjoy being around large groups of people and would have an extreme panic attack if I was put into a situation I didn’t want to be in. I believe this condition developed over a period of years as the result of a troubled childhood. It wasn’t until I had to come to terms with my issues that I realized how much of my childhood I had internalized and kept hidden away. I finally got the courage to seek help and, when I did, I was able to see what a direct impact my parents’ unsteady relationship had on me as a person, as a wife, and as a mother. I grew up being very afraid of my father. He was a great guy to all of his friends but at home, he was a ticking time bomb. I learned at a very early age to follow the rules and to stay under the radar. If I stepped out of line at all, it was instant reprimand. I had to silently watch my father abuse my mom and listen to all of the terrible things he would say to her. I would hear her sobs when my dad would not come home until the next day, another woman’s perfume lingering in the air. I quickly learned to hide the bruises and to always have a smile on my face, even though I was secretly hurting on the inside. Only at night, when I laid my head down, would the tears come. I was able to be my true self when I was alone, amongst the solace of darkness.
The lessons I learned from my childhood remained with me as I grew into an adult. I’d like to say that these experiences taught me how to be compassionate towards other people and I developed a heart for service. But on the inside, I was not as empathetic towards myself. That scared little girl was still inside me and she could still hear her father’s voice telling her she wasn’t good enough. My poor husband had to deal with the remnants of a broken person. He really did try his best to help me. Over time, it wore him down.
“Her zombie mom and dad live in separate house of freaks.”
It finally came to a point where I wasn’t able to function in normal society without my medicine. It made me completely numb. I wasn’t able to feel ANYTHING. I was a zombie. I saw my life passing by and I didn’t care. I could see my children laughing and playing but I could not feel any joy in my heart. I knew this was wrong. I didn’t want to be a zombie mom to my children and in turn repeat my parents’ mistakes. I stopped taking my mediation and decided I was going to fight the demons inside of me, by myself.
Being a Third Eye Blind fan has made my ongoing fight more of a joy than a struggle. Their music has been the only thing that has opened a conduit to my heart. Listening to their music and connecting with their fans is the only time my heart genuinely burns again.
I wish I could end this by saying that I am fully healed. I am not. This ghost still haunts me, but she doesn’t have the power she once had. I am strong enough now to handle the hurtful thoughts and see beyond those things. I may still walk with my head down but there is a genuine smile on my face.