This week I wanted to share one final shot from the ropes. Unlike most of my images which are very still and calm – I was drawn to the movement of this one. To me, it likens the energy of a wild mustang fighting to break free.
There are times in the midst of grief when we are so fully depleted and exhausted that we haven’t the strength even to hold our head up. I’ve talked a lot about those times in my past images. But there are also times when we have the chance to rise up… bucking the despair off our backs and fighting like hell to break out and embrace life. I think sometimes fighting can be a bad thing – when you are resisting feeling the emotions that need to be felt. But there is a different kind of fight, too. Fighting not against our emotions, but FOR the expression of them. It is the kind of fight that throws us up into the wind with our faces skyward to remind us that our story is worth expressing. And not only THIS part of our story, but the rest of who we are too. Painters, dancers, writers, mothers, humanitarians, friends, sisters…. although we are tied closely to our pain, there is still a soul within each of us wanting to be fully expressed.
I’ve felt this kind of fight in me so often since my fiancé died. More than in all my previous years combined. And the thing I am learning is that this beautiful fight is not in spite of the pain and the grief, but because of it. Being tied to the pain and having to struggle with it daily has made me fight harder to enjoy life, to express myself, to have compassion, and to stand up when I feel like falling. My pain has brought me the lessons which have taught me that I have the capacity to rise up and not give up. And pain has somehow (even though I don’t want to admit it) made my life far richer than I ever knew possible.
Of course we can’t always succeed at fighting for a new life after losing someone we love. We all have times we just get exhausted and must give up for a while to recharge. And that’s okay. It’s vital to be kind to ourselves, allow rest, and trust that we will regain our energy eventually. There will always come a next moment, or a new day, that will bring a renewed strength. It may not be tomorrow, but it will come. We must trust this as best we can. And when it arrives, let’s choose to rise up and fight to express our soul and embrace what is left of this beautiful life.
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.