It’s taken me quite longer than a week to finally create this image, but I am so thrilled to be sharing it today. The visual first popped into my mind a few weeks ago, when I was feeling a lot of resistance about this whole project. I felt really stuck, and really tired, and totally unmotivated. A big part of that was coming from the fact that, lately, I have been moving more and more into a new life the past few months. A life that my late-fiance is no longer in, and a part of my own journey in which I must begin to allow room for new people and new experiences that he is not sharing with me directly.
It’s beautiful to feel healed enough to begin to take the first steps into whatever my new life will be… making friends where I moved to, trying new hobbies I never imagined I’d try before, growing and changing more and more. I am surprising myself almost each day. It all feels really good, except that it is also a constant reminder of who I wish was by my side for it all. And even if – after two years – that fact is not as immediately excruciating as it once was, it still makes every normal thing in life incredibly exhausting. Because I can no long just make new friends, or try new things. Now, every single thing that is new in life must also pass through my grief. It must be examined from the viewpoint of who I was when he was alive and who I am becoming (which is still so up in the air!). All the new, wonderful, exciting things must somehow fit into this whole complex and intricate emotional world that already exists inside of me. I have no clue how I am doing it.
I think that every new phase or part of grief must be equally challenging in entirely different ways… because navigating this feels no easier or less tiring than navigating the first weeks and months after he died. It feels different. And challenging and scary in completely different ways. But it still leaves me right here… right at this image… tied between two worlds. Exhausted and spent, emotionally, mentally, physically. With each wave of new people and experiences, I am left trying to figure out how to balance it all into this one human being that I am. And at times it can feel like the pull of both my new life and my old life are too much to bear all at once. At times this project itself begins to get too heavy for me to bear, too. And so I give in to the exhaustion, floating, unsure of how to move next. Feeling like I haven’t the strength to move at all.
So that is why it’s taken so long to finish this image. Because I’ve been fighting even creating anything for weeks. And after struggling with that resistance long enough, I realized, it was the very struggle itself I need to talk about in my images right now. And that is when this visual jumped into my mind. I knew instantly what it should look like. Crazy how that happens, once you just surrender, or try to look at a situation differently, bam – there it is.
I’m sure others will find their own meaning for this image, which I always love – especially when you share those ideas with me (so please do!). For me, its about learning to become quiet even when I feel stuck or feel like fighting various parts of my grief journey… because in the stillness is where we will see what we need to. It is also about a yearning to find balance between different worlds… my new life and my old life. This earthly world, and the world that he now exists in. It is about feeling ungrounded, floating, and uncertain of the future… but still finding the strength to hold myself up in that uncertainty the best I can each day. I leave you with a close up below…
About the Series: Through 40 weekly photos and accompanying essays, 'Still, Life' captures a deeply emotional and psychological journey of what it means to grieve, to heal, and to live on.