After going back and forth with ideas of how I could artistically share my story I finally decided on photography. I enlisted the help of my closest confidants, my sister and brother. We talked about locations, props, themes and my emotional health throughout the project.
I asked my sister to photograph me for the purpose of telling my personal narrative. To capture a time in my life that has been the most painful thing I’ve ever experienced. She didn’t even hesitate. She agreed.
With the intial idea of re-creating my past my heart sank to my feet the day we were supposed to take sunset photos at the local shady motel. I was ruminating about how I should portray myself in these photos. I was making myself sick. Finally I called my sister to let her know there would be a change of plans.
We met at Betty Dangers a popular local Northeast restaurant. There was a bridge near by that crossed over the mighty Mississippi. I was wanting to take pictures on a bridge. The shear structure of it captivated me. Here I am a women who has a million emotions running through her blood at this very mintue and who just realized that she almost re-traumatized herself by ruminating on how she should portray herself who is now walking towards the river.
Thank goodness for my sister. I look up at her and she patiently asks me if I’m ready to take some photos. I think to myself you just saved me from myself. She takes lots of pictures and we talk about the message I’m trying to get across.
Finally we started walking back to our cars and I keep saying to myself you are doing the right thing by sharing your narrative, by exposing your truth. You could help some one who is looking for a way out. You have the strength to make this about women who are marginalized and abused. How they are dehumanized for the purpose of exploitation on various levels.
This was only the beginning of what was yet to come.
Love Always Lives Here,