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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…

Ona is a Bar

Ona is a Bar
and life is unexpected.

Dimly lit, we only see as far as needed
in order to move forward.

Every other reality is left up to the imagination.

For me,
I lived in a very dim reality until recently.

I grew up wholeheartedly dedicated to Mormonism.
It wasn't easy, but I was loyal.

In 2015 I moved to Lexington Kentucky.
Married, with four children.

A very quiet, but friendly person.
Following every rule to a T, even in thought.

I was in control.
And it was slowly killing me.

In 2016 an infection spread to my brain,
deteriorating normal neural function.

I experienced in those grueling months what it meant to not have control. 
And every view and perception of myself burned to ash.

When I got my life and body back after treatment
and after slow healing,

I was reborn.

And I realized:

I have been given new life.
A second chance.

Is my old life what I still want?

No. No, it's not.

My relationship with my parents?
Change it. I'm no longer a child only wanting to please, but am now an adult wanting to take action.

My relationship with myself?
Change it. I'm no longer the last person I think about, but am now the person I care for.

My relationship with my husband?
Change it. I'm no longer an object to just meant to please and bend to his will, but am now an equal partner. He didn't want an equal partner, so I am having to say goodbye.

My relationship with my children?
Change it. I'm no longer giving strict expectation and standards, but am now giving grace and encouragement.

My relationship with my God?
Change it. I'm no longer not ever enough, but am now always good enough.
In Mormonism, He didn't want someone good enough, so I am having to say goodbye.

My relationship with my community?
Change it. I'm no longer hidden and tucked away, but am now showing up and putting myself to work.

All that change happened here in Lexington. Sealing this place in my heart forever.

And right now:
Is my life what I want?

Yes. Yes, it is.

Thank you for being here in my life with me.