After creating my photographic collages about my anxiety disorder I felt as if I could breathe again. The feeling of no longer being embarrassed or ashamed of my struggles was an experience I wanted to explore even further. I hope whoever may be experiencing the same things as me will find strength and no longer be living in silence or fear.
Anxiety is just the surface of what I've experienced: I have always had anxiety but once I entered a middle school I was bullied, a lot. Anything from my dyslexia, to the beautiful mole on my face, I was picked apart. By the age of fifteen I was deeply depressed and hospitalized for suicidal attempts, just shy of my seventeenth birthday I was raped during the first time I had sex. After experiencing a heavy load of trauma all I did was keep my head down and dream of Chicago and attending art school. I thought if I left my small New Jersey town all my problems would stay there.
Once I've shown my Anxiety Project at Catherine Edelman's Gallery I was getting a lot of people coming up to me saying how much they related to my artwork, that they too where carrying around anxiety with a dark secret. I realized (with two years of focused therapy) that the more I talked about my traumas the more I was setting myself free.
I can finally say out loud:
The first time I had sex, I was raped.
The first time I fell in love, I was emotionally and physically abused.
And I refuse to let these things control my life anymore.
If you didn't know already October is national Domestic Violence Awareness Month and I only found it appropriate to tell you all my newest photographic project that I've been working on: it's about overcoming verbal, physical and sexual abuse. In this series there will be medium format self portraits and still life photographs as well as some Polaroids and photographic collages which I later plan on turning into a book. I'm testing myself in ways I never thought I would but I'm looking forward to turning my experiences into artwork that other women and men can relate too.
Thank you for reading.