I was exhausted. The girls were playing on the living room floor and my husband was sitting on the other end of the couch. We are doing very well for a couple in their 20's to say the least. Yet I was the most tired I have ever been in my life. I was emotionally and physically drained, nothing left to give.
That night I came across a Facebook post about Tribe Archipelago's Field Trip opportunity. I literally had nothing to lose, so I applied. For one of the questions, I wrote the intro to "Dark", a blog post I later shared on my Facebook and Instagram accounts. I was so honest with how I felt, not only at that exact moment, but for months. Nothing was held back.
When I received an email saying I was selected, I was shocked. I called several photographers and asked if this was legit. They all shared their excitement and told me, "Yes, go for it! But why you?" That's literally the biggest compliment and worst insult all in one because it made me question my worth more than I already was.
I had a location selected but I wanted this trip to be more than just going from point A to point B on a map. This voyage was to remind my heart and mind what I desperately needed and to be honest, I wasn't 100% sure what that was most days. I knew I needed the time and the distance from my day to day to sort my thoughts and to just be a person. To prepare for the trip, I started writing about the journey of my mental wellbeing.
The more I wrote and shared the more people I had come forward and say, "me too." It can be so much easier for us to see other people's worth than our own. This is one of the reasons I love photography: I help show people how the world sees them, while also, more importantly, capturing their emotions that the world misses.
When I was selecting my gear, I knew I wanted to pack light. Every day I'm carrying a purse, diaper bag, lunch box, makeup bag, etc. I'm literally the bag lady. But this trip was to breathe and be light so all I took was my Canon Mark 5D IV and Sigma Art 50mm.
Rain followed us the entire drive to Nashville and I was worried. However, we rolled into the city and the sky cleared over every location we stopped at, honestly. You could see the dark clouds ready to come forward at any time, kind of like depression. We got out and shot at cool little locations we ran across. And you know what was perfect? We were the only two people at every location. If you have been down Broadway Street you will know this is very rare.
Portraits are my thing. I love capturing who a person is and how they feel at that exact moment. What do you see when you look at their eyes? What is their body language telling you? Did they stay up all night questioning every choice they have made? Are they finally at peace after getting out of a toxic relationship? Everyone has a story and I am honoured that people ask me to help tell theirs.
If you are struggling with depression or feel as if your worth is less than other people's worth, I promise the people surrounding you think otherwise. And if the people around you are the ones causing this pain and confusion, I promise there are people out there ready to love you for you.
I wish I had a grand life-changing statement, but all I have is to learn how to love and stand up for yourself. My skies have been clear for some time now but I know dark days can easily come. Which is why I take the good days for granted, as we all should.