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Finding My Voice Through Art: Self Expression Photography

When I was a kid I learned that I could use art to express what I was feeling, especially when I couldn't find the right words. A few years ago I discovered that I can use the camera to capture the images that plague my mind and they lost their power over me. Tonight I wanted to share some of the photos I've taken over the last few years as part of an ongoing personal project using photography as means for self-expression.

In 2013 I was in a car accident on the way home after helping out a friend. The car flipped and rolled down into a ravine. The only part of the car not completely crushed was the roof over the driver's side but some how I managed to walk away with nothing more than a few bruises, a couple scratches and a minor concussion. But it also left me in a really bad head space and I had a hard time dealing with all over the overwhelming emotions I was experiencing. That was the first time I realized that I could use the camera to show people what I was going through because I couldn't find the words:

The last night at Dragon Con 2014, I fell in front of the Sheraton and sprained my "good" ankle and ended up with yet another concussion. A few months later ended up having surgery to repair the torn ligaments and wasn't able to run as a result. It was a rough recovery time and also a time in my life when I was dealing with a lot of changes. I went to GPSI a couple weeks after the surgery. Then I celebrated Thanksgiving with my family but wasn't able to cook dinner for us. The first 2 weeks of December I was at CPS training which was intense and life changing. I completed the 4 month Plan for Profit course with The Edge Connection and presented my business plan during the first week of training, which was beyond intimidating. It was a lot all at once, and while it was all good things, it was still a lot. The result was that I was feeling seriously overwhelmed and unsure of how to deal with everything going on. So once again, I set up the tripod and used the camera to help me figure out what I was thinking and feeling:

​Last year I realized that I could use photography as a way to express some of the less difficult emotions too because self expression doesn't just have to be a way to get rid of the difficult emotions and images in my head. Sometimes it helps to show people things through photos because it's less intimidating than telling them, especially before I felt comfortable reaching out. I still struggle with understanding interpersonal relations and communication but I realized that I could use photography as a way to illustrate my attempts in an effort to help others understand things from my perspective:

Another way I've learned that I can use photography as a means of self expression is that it can help me process some of the more difficult emotions and struggles I sometime face. At the end of 2016, I got sick. Nothing too serious, just a nasty case of bronchitis that knocked me on my tail and prevented me from running which was my main coping skill. Combined with a variety of other things going on in my life I started feeling extremely overwhelmed and struggling with suicidal thoughts. Again. But instead of acting on the impulses or falling back to old coping skills I once again set up the tripod and used the camera as way to express the feelings I was having in a less destructive way:

Last week I finished up another personal project, the "30 Day Thankfulness Photo Challenge", and one of the things I shared about being thankful for is the ability to use photography as a means for self expression. Tonight I've shared some of the photos from the last 4 years and described how it's helped me overcome some of the more difficult things in my life. I've gotten more comfortable with myself and starting to gain more confidence, not only in my ability with a camera but also with speaking up for myself. But photography is a great way to help me process the thoughts and emotions I don't always understand in a positive and productive way:

Until next week, thank you for allowing me to share about my journey with both art and recovery. I hope you have enjoyed reading this and learning a little bit more about me. But also hope all who read this will explore ways to express their own thoughts and emotions through art.

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