The Assignment: to identify what builds up my self-esteem, calms me down, and makes me feel less fragile and vulnerable.

Well, nobody said this was going to be easy, and here I am, exploring life from the inside out, and learning to live. Not just live alone, or live in a foreign country, but truly LIVE.

It is not enough to exist from day to day, go through the motions of a routine or meeting the requirements of one thing or another. The objective is to feel alive again, to heal, and feel as though the shards somehow fit together again, with the concept of “whole” replacing “hollow”.

There have been far more painful descents and difficult uphill battles than I can count, but none as difficult as putting myself back together again when I no longer know who I am supposed to be. All the roles that defined me – and that was the mistake – are gone, and this journey I am on is uncharted territory. The rules of the game have changed, and it incredibly frustrating that I am learning new rules by the day, either about things I never even knew existed (and have to be done) or I have entered a new phase in my life for which I am totally unprepared. Come to think of it, the game has changed altogether.

This is the time I become painfully aware how much I suppressed, ignored, or didn’t feel the need to do / learn over the years, simply because there were others around me to carry it out for me, with me, or guide me. Life has become incredibly scary and I feel completely exposed, vulnerable and fragile.

legs1

OK, I have identified the issues. Now what? Ha! Good question.

I was asked yesterday in therapy what aspects of my life make me feel less fragile. I had to think about that for a while. I thought writing and photography were my shields but I have learned that they more than that – they are actually my most peaceful moments, activities I do with reverence. These are instances when I am in touch with my emotions, and my soul finds a voice.

Spontaneous, adventurous, and daring moves have taken on a whole new meaning, together with uncalculated risks. Nothing reflects this more than the photograph I share with you today. It is a bold move in a direction that challenges me as a photographer, my fragility and an attempt to feel worthy of a photograph.