Maybe she’s born with it, maybe its ketamine.
I when choose to use myself as subject, I hope to convey a certain vulnerability that resides within the human condition. My self-portraits draw from my own personal experiences, and through an abstract approach I detach from my physical self while maintaining a tone that is emotional and narrative. I believe human emotion is the binding thread of our civilization. If you took everything else away, pain is still pain and love is still love. Someone once told me that, ‘You can’t measure pain. Its relative. We all experience it in our own way.’ Through using my physical self, I strive to use my form as a vessel to convey something beyond the physicality of the body itself.
This is struggle.
In response to the thirty million people whole lost their healthcare overnight and to the fifty-five million women who will no longer be able to afford birth control. Women who are no longer given the simple human right to be in control of our own fucking bodies. The only thing that truly belongs to us, nothing was ever promised. We were never entitled to anything, other than what we were born with. Skin. Thats all. Skin. If we aren’t allowed to be the boss over our own bodies, then what can we control? In a time when abortions are next to illegal, overpopulation and a limited resource epidemic, climate change; more women are left without access to birth control?! When you think about it, they are telling us that we aren’t allowed to decide whether or not we want children, suppressing our libido and keeping us in check. It is a mans world after all. We all better behave. To live in a country whose leaders don’t care about the safety and wellbeing of other people, says a lot about the place. It is clear that according to the current political structure, and perhaps for previous political structures, humanity is expendable.
Recently, I have begun taking self-portraits again. My self-portraits usually obscure my face, blur my features and fall somewhere in-between abstraction and narrative. In talking about gender without actually portraying gender, the conversation becomes about the neutrality of gender itself. Gender roles are learned behaviors, we don’t come out of the womb “knowing how to sew” if we are born with female genitalia. The same goes for people born with male genitalia, the genitals you’re born with don’t determine your gender either. Sometimes the universe gets it wrong. I always attempt to encompass my feminine and masculine energy into my self-portraits, because both are equally important.
In a culture where they tell you that exercising your freedom of speech is unlawful, be loud. Scream if you must, stand up and demand human rights. As a woman, living in a patriarchal society, where men tell me what to do with my body, determine how much money I make, what I should be doing with my life, whether or not I should bear children, get married etc, its important for me be bold, daring and unapologetic.
This is my loud mouth.
Two months without a post, I feel like thats the longest I’ve ever gone. I have been shooting a lot of photographs over the last two months, compiling a body of work for this new direction I fell into, sort of by accident, which does not surprise me. I’ve fallen into a lot of things, seemingly by accident in my life. I will begin posting the images I’ve been shooting after I complete this post. I have been absolutely loving it. I am ready to take the work to the next step, and I plan on telling you all about it.
Despite my connection to the new body of work, I have felt an immense disconnection to the world in which I inhabit. The state of affairs is frightening and maddening at the same time. It’s devastating and absurd. I want to reach out to fellow human beings and say, “Why are you so fucking angry?” all the while I sit here biting my fingers and furrowing my brow, in disgust at the motivation behind such atrocities. The ignorance behind it all, the willful ignorance is enough to make me vomit. My heart has broke many times as of late. I wake up, and scream silently into my pillow, in hopes to meet catharsis for breakfast, before I go about my day.
What is this life we live? Consume, throw away, repeat. Stripes are in, spots are out. This lipstick, that haircut. Eyebrow trends are actually real. For what? What is the reward of being so vain and desperately needing to project our best selves into the world, cause god forbid we show our real selves… Then everyone would see the flaws we work so hard to cover up. So, we just try to fit in. Conform to the idea of who we are supposed to be, based on what someone or something else said. That same someone or something, has no reference to who we are personally. Something like a magazine, or the media. Someone like the person who writes for them. And we listen like lambs, being led to slaughter.
This is me trying to fit in.
What is ego anyway? The textbook definition says; “A person’s sense of self-esteem or self-importance.” What is self-esteem? What is self-importance? A pedestal of sorts, where we all sit perched. While our ego delegates the day; what to wear, where to go, whats in, whats out, who’s hot and who’s not. She’s a slut and he’s never cried. She must be crazy. His dick must be big. Everyday we make judgements. Everyday we assert some sort of power to make ourselves feel better, usually at the expense of somebody else.
The stench of this trash is so rancid, we no longer remember what it’s like to be nice. Women compete with other women, rather then rally with one another. We have the same parts and we are on the same team yet, we would cut our sister with a knife for a man? I’m not claiming to be a saint. I have done things I’m not proud of. I am not perfect, nor am I better than anyone else. There is however, a sense of real pride that comes from standing on your own. Standing up tall and proud; using your sense of self-esteem and self-importance to perpetuate the greater good. Patti Smith once said, “In art and dream may you walk with abandon. In life, may you walk with balance and stealth.”
This is my pedestal.
How many times undone can one person be? Ani DiFranco once said. The skin will always be there, until it sheds. Shedding is destruction on the most molecular level. The dead cells of our skin flake away slowly over time until, every seven years or so, our body has completely regenerated itself. Every cell has been replaced by a brand new cell. Every seven years, we essentially become new. Reborn.
We shed more then skin.
I bleed for several days, once a month. I shed the lining of my uterus because I’m not having a baby. Metaphorically speaking, what is washed out with my menstrual blood is more than just the lining of my uterus. It sheds the bad day I had last week, it sheds every time I allowed a person to hurt me, it sheds my vulnerability, my fear, my regrets, my loneliness, my anger. It reminds me that I, in fact, am still human, it allows me to feel and let go of things that don’t deserve my head space or emotional energy. Every full moon, I bleed. Every full moon, I start over. Female sex organs are located in the second chakra, The Sacral Chakra. This is the epicenter of feeling, emotion, pleasure, sensuality, intimacy, and connection. The energy of this chakra allows you to let go, to move, and to feel change and transformation occurring within your body. It allows you to experience this moment as it is, in its own fullness. This is also the chakra in which life is made. Every month I am reminded of my feminine power. I can make life, I can make breath. Whether I choose to or not, is not the point. The point is that I can.
In this world, in which we all live, it’s easy to forget. Us girls are still considered second class, and once upon a time menstrual blood was considered sacred. Our uterus is in the sacral chakra after all.
This is me shedding.
I used to have this recurring dream where, I would get catapulted out into space and almost instantly start to descend. Right before I hit the sidewalk, I would wake up. I haven’t had this dream for quite a while. I’m still not sure I ever knew what it meant. The concept of falling; we fall in love, we fall off our bike, we fall for bullshit, we fall short of someone’s expectations. We just fall. People choose to jump off of buildings to end their lives, as dark as that may be, it happens. The feeling of when we physically fall, or fall in love is practically identical. Both exhilarating and terrifying at the same time. Butterflies and nausea all at once. Fear and acceptance.
But when we make the choice to “jump ship”, in whatever metaphorical sense we decide, we always have the choice. It is ours to make. It is a bit like falling, after all, the uncertainty that comes with making a radical change in our lives leaves our tummies turning; the excitement is just as real. We are never sure exactly where we will land, while we fall into place in our lives. It is good, it is hard, its sporadic and it is rewarding in the end. The fear will eventually subside and acceptance of ones fate is allowed room to breathe. When the pain of not changing is exceeded by the pain of actually changing, the change will manifest itself and take shape.
This is how I fall.
Stand the fuck up and dust yourself off.
The goddesses are still working hard.
Open your eyes and relearn to see,
you’ve been asleep for far too long.
There is a great big world
for you to make your presence known.
Get down to business, girl
you only get one.
Shake off the spell thats been cast on your soul.
Peel back the layers of skin;
reemerge from the ashes and flames.
Let the wind take you higher than ever before.
This is life,
this is living.