One of the silver linings of self-isolation is the time it affords to learn more about ourselves. In unexpected and strange situations like this pandemic, we long to see meaning in everything. And sometimes finding that meaning requires us to rewind and study the past.
There are things about my childhood that I supposed would never see the light of day. Family secrets, deeply ingrained for generations. Protected by seemingly impenetrable walls, constructed with blocks of control and deceit, fortified by distorted thinking.
What happens when children grow up scared? I learned to be vigilant, always scanning the environment for signs of problems. I found safety in following the rules, trying so hard to be good, nearly perfect. I learned to pretend, to lie if need be. I buried my pain and put a smile on my face. Never truly at home in any place.
As an adult, part of my healing has come from revisiting the small rural town where I grew up. With this series of photographs, I allowed myself to experience the emotions that I’d put on hold because they were too overwhelming to feel.
Making these pictures helped me to reframe my growing up years and bring them into balance. I flip through the pictures, like the pages of a calendar, and feel connected to who and what matters to me.
The messiness and tenderness of being alive. I try to understand my personal history, in the light of the day, before those recollections fade.
This series of photographs is my second journey—exploring the bittersweet struggle of holding on and letting go. So I can move forward.
“Life must be understood backwards, but lived forward.” —Søren Kierkegaard