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Posts tagged ‘feeling stuck’

Week 19 // Between Two Worlds




It’s taken me quite longer than a week to finally create this image, but I am so thrilled to be sharing it today. The visual first popped into my mind a few weeks ago, when I was feeling a lot of resistance about this whole project. I felt really stuck, and really tired, and totally unmotivated. A big part of that was coming from the fact that, lately, I have been moving more and more into a new life the past few months. A life that my late-fiance is no longer in, and a part of my own journey in which I must begin to allow room for new people and new experiences that he is not sharing with me directly.

It’s beautiful to feel healed enough to begin to take the first steps into whatever my new life will be… making friends where I moved to, trying new hobbies I never imagined I’d try before, growing and changing more and more. I am surprising myself almost each day. It all feels really good, except that it is also a constant reminder of who I wish was by my side for it all. And even if – after two years – that fact is not as immediately excruciating as it once was, it still makes every normal thing in life incredibly exhausting. Because I can no long just make new friends, or try new things. Now, every single thing that is new in life must also pass through my grief. It must be examined from the viewpoint of who I was when he was alive and who I am becoming (which is still so up in the air!). All the new, wonderful, exciting things must somehow fit into this whole complex and intricate emotional world that already exists inside of me. I have no clue how I am doing it.

I think that every new phase or part of grief must be equally challenging in entirely different ways… because navigating this feels no easier or less tiring than navigating the first weeks and months after he died. It feels different. And challenging and scary in completely different ways. But it still leaves me right here… right at this image… tied between two worlds. Exhausted and spent, emotionally, mentally, physically. With each wave of new people and experiences, I am left trying to figure out how to balance it all into this one human being that I am. And at times it can feel like the pull of both my new life and my old life are too much to bear all at once. At times this project itself begins to get too heavy for me to bear, too. And so I give in to the exhaustion, floating, unsure of how to move next. Feeling like I haven’t the strength to move at all.

So that is why it’s taken so long to finish this image. Because I’ve been fighting even creating anything for weeks. And after struggling with that resistance long enough, I realized, it was the very struggle itself I need to talk about in my images right now. And that is when this visual jumped into my mind. I knew instantly what it should look like. Crazy how that happens, once you just surrender, or try to look at a situation differently, bam – there it is.

I’m sure others will find their own meaning for this image, which I always love – especially when you share those ideas with me (so please do!). For me, its about learning to become quiet even when I feel stuck or feel like fighting various parts of my grief journey… because in the stillness is where we will see what we need to. It is also about a yearning to find balance between different worlds… my new life and my old life. This earthly world, and the world that he now exists in. It is about feeling ungrounded, floating, and uncertain of the future… but still finding the strength to hold myself up in that uncertainty the best I can each day. I leave you with a close up below…     -Much love-


Click to view larger.

If you’re new to this project, you can read more about it in this post. Or to see the full image gallery visit 2014 PROJECT. Please share with anyone who you feel can relate to the imagery, my hope is that it gives many others a visual for something they are going through in their own lives.

Week 14 // Debris


The debris we are left in during grief can seem insurmountable. Let’s face it – for a while – it IS insurmountable. For a while – months, maybe years, you just have to learn to be in. You have to learn how to find some version of peace with it. This image talks about being stuck in that aftermath of losing someone you love. You are surrounded on all sides… by grief, by pain, by anger, by every other raw emotion in existence. You are also surrounded by thousands upon thousands of pieces of yourself that have exploded out from you – particularly if it was sudden loss. And there you are… right in the middle, knowing that there is no way you can ever fashion this mess back together into the life you had. The pieces are too many. And the most important piece cannot be put back where it was.

There was something about this boggy, dark place that spoke to me when I was out looking for places to shoot. It called to me. It LOOKED like a place I have been and sometimes still find myself. And I will tell you… it was NOT fun to crawl down into this muck. It was scary. I could not see what was below the surface, and all kinds of debris was stirred with each step – slipping past the skin of my legs – feeling like danger. It was dirty. I had big and small bits of debris all over me… in my hair, covering every inch of my body. It was COLD. Being that we just had an unusually cool week here in Texas – that water literally stole my breath away as I dunked myself down in it. Definitely NOT pleasant.

I got to thinking as I began to write about this image though… isn’t that what it should have been? For me to create something that symbolizes a place so full of pain and despair… shouldn’t it feel uncomfortable? Shouldn’t I be willing to crawl down into the mud and the rotting debris, into the icy water that steals my breath? Shouldn’t this project sometimes require me to get extremely uncomfortable? And is it worth it? To both of those, I answer yes. It’s worth it if it makes a different in even one person’s day.

As this project has progressed… I’ve started to have a much different feeling of its purpose. In the past month or so, during the process of each image, I am initially thinking of my own feelings and searching for what will express my story. But immediately as the idea forms, and as I bring the images into the computer to work them, it’s no longer about me. Instead, lately I am thinking of the one person that this image is meant to go to. This is a bit strange to explain, but it feels like being a vessel I suppose. As if my soul knows the exact person it wants to create this image for – someone I have never met nor talked to or seen before. The reason I’ve started to feel this way is because I have found that person several times already. They will write to me or I will hear of their experience seeing my image, and I know instantly that they are the one I made it for and that it found its rightful place. I’m not sure how I know – it is just a knowingness inside me. It’s kind of an eerie concept to me, but there it is.

My hope is of course also that these images will help many many people feel less alone in their grief. Because we always need more of that. I have an enormous support system of amazing people, many who are grieving themselves, and I still have moments where I feel completely and totally and profoundly alone in my grief. That will always happen. Because my grief is not your grief. My loss is not your loss. And there will always be parts that are only mine. But I believe that the more ways we express our grief and engage in the grief of others – through words, music, paintings and photos, kindness – the less alone we will feel. And the more beautifully we will heal. I suppose that is why I make these. I want to feel less alone, I want to heal more, and I want to do it in a way that might help others to do the same.

“Still, Life” is a year-long self portrait series about living on after loss. If you’re new to this project, you can read more about it in this post.
Please share
 with anyone who you feel can relate to the imagery, my hope is that it gives many others a visual for something they are going through in their own lives.

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