Roughly one year ago I participated in a 30 day self-portrait challenge. I was roughly six months out from the onset of Transverse Myelitis (an auto immune disease that left me paralyzed from the waist down and in the hospital for over a month). After working hard at the hospital and in rehab (with the help of medicine) I was learning to use a wheel chair and walker for short distances. I won’t go into much detail (in this post anyways), but TM stole who I was; my strengths, my hobbies, my identity. I was battling depression, anxiety and post traumatic stress disorder. This photography challenge was meant to give me insight to “who I am now” and something to do (a distraction more or less).
The reason I am posting this now, is looking back on these pictures I am able to see what a dark place I was in at the time. It is still me, but I can recognize the pain and agony I was living. At the time I took the photographs I was so far gone that I appeared as an empty shell, a body without life in my eyes – the sparkle was gone.
A lot of my pictures show only pieces of me instead of me as a whole. Almost like I didn’t feel like I was a whole person; which to me I wasn’t anymore. I had lost so much of my mobility, my confidence, I wasn’t the same me. I also lost so much of my ‘personality’ per se because I couldn’t socialize in the same manner as before. I was hyper-focused on who I used to be, who I would never be again, what I would never do or what I would never be able to wear (shoes, heels, flip flops, heels – did I mention heels???).
I definitely was able to capture my emotions and feelings on
film digital media. As hard as it is to look back at these and remember so vividly the struggle I was having, I am grateful. I appreciate the reminder of how far I have come mentally. I am by no means “fixed”, “healed”, “better” or “saved”. BUT –
I am dealing with how I am feeling in a healthier manner.
I have accepted what I can no longer do.
I have acquired new hobbies.
I have lost all preconceived notions of what I will do going forward.
I am living in the moment, while planning for tomorrow.
I WANT A TOMORROW! —This has to be the best part, to want a tomorrow and a day after that.
I have changed and stayed the same. I am still me, just different.
2 thoughts on “A Self Portrait Challenge Reflection”
I was moved by your story. You will succeed at everything you do because your drive is high. You inspire me!
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Thank you so much!
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