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A self-portrait

In the age of selfies, the art of the self-portrait is a drowning art. Like an anchor. It sinks to the bottom of the clear lake to remain as a foundation, while cell-phone portraits float at the surface by the millions each day.

What constitutes a self-portrait? I'm hardly a versed artist, but I can say this: a self-portrait almost always includes

thought & intention planninga message or subject& an audience.
Recently I took a series of portraits to tell a story. I wanted to show what it was like to have schizophrenia through emotion, fabric, highlight and shadow.

I chronicled through portrait my journey with schizophrenia:

Symptomatic but not medicated or diagnosed.Diagnosed but not medicated. Medication trial and error through hospitalization.Isolation out of fear and shame.Despair because of that isolation.Accepting my diagnosis. Coming public with my diagnosis.Advocating for others with the same diagnosis.

I know that the term schizophrenia is hardly praised, so I want…

Make a change, or make a mistake

Hello, again.

My sister posted an article the other day titled:

"Real Awakenings Are Not Elegant. They are Messy, Ugly, Shattered, & Raw."

Damn. That hit me.

It's a beautiful article you can find here.

That title jogged some pondering, and I asked myself:

What elements have been a part of my own awakenings that I've lived through?

Some of my awakenings revealed the beauty of life, the tragedy of our own existence, and have even helped me see people who they really are on the inside, whether full of light, deep pain, or somewhere inbetween.

But I think the majority of my own awakenings revolve around my own mistakes, or the mistakes of others close around me. You know: the chronic, deep set patterns that I was blind to and suddenly catch a glimmer of light on. Eventually I can't ignore it, and I have to choose:

"Make a change, or continue to make a mistake."

I'm pretty stubborn. But continuing mistakes creates such a visceral physical sensation as to make it nearly impossible for me to continue comfortably. For me, I compare it to scraping the back of my hand on a cheese grate. It's entirely painful and leaves a terrible mark. When I get that sensation, I know: Danger! It's trouble and I have to turn back.

Do I always turn back though? No. Not every time. 

A few select times in my life I have pushed forward foolishly. At the time, I think surely if I push through the thorns, sharp glass, entangling weeds, deepening mud, and biting gnats that I'll reach through to the other side.

It continues to get worse, and I get weary, and think: just a few more steps, I just know it. Then this will resolve into a clearing where I can rest and catch my breath.

But the rest never comes, and I am finally awakened to the now panicked reality that I've become entangled, trapped, with no hope of escape on my own. I realize that I need to enlist the help of others to rescue me from a spot I had been given internal warning after warning to stop and turn around. At this point, it's easy to give up hope. And the piercing thought sinks in:

"Damn. Why didn't I listen?"

In those moments, I have always held on, because rescue does come. It's not instant, and takes for damn near ever to get unstuck and heal from the experience.  And I have never really forgotten it because I'm always grateful for the lesson learned.

These times become sacred, life changing, motivating even. And these experiences really help me identify others that are following in the same patterns, where I can say: "heyyyyyy. Let's not go down this path, k? I've been there before and barely survived to tell the tale. Come over this way with me and I'll tell you the beautiful story of my progress and spare you the pain."

Interested in learning more?

Check out this TEDtalk about the neuroscience behind motivating yourself to change your own behavior.

Live, love, and learn, folks.

I would love to read any input or ideas you have on this topic. Feel free to join the conversation on Instagram or in the comments below.