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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…

Til death do us part

Relationships. They’re a funny thing.

Like a lever and a pulley, the interaction between two people directly mirrors the relationship each present individual has with their own self.

If a person does not love or appreciate their own talents and abilities, they can only offer so much of that appreciation to another without fully draining themselves and turning into the opposition of appreciation: resentment.

If a person does not love or respect themselves, the love they offer another person has a time limit before it turns into disgust.

If a person does not know how to communicate with themselves in healthy constructive ways that encourage growth, their words to others will, over time, tear the other person down.

We can only live as we know how.
And what we know is inside of us, in our minds and hearts.

We can only build with materials we own.
And what we own is stored in our minds and hearts.

But I believe we can nurture ourselves and love ourselves more and more. I believe we can learn more self-compassion and self-respect. And in turn, that improvement of self will begin to show up in the way we interact with others.

I personally have learned a lot about myself in the past few years. I've seen weakness after weakness uncovered inside me. I went on a date to get to know myself a year ago today and have been dating myself, so to speak, ever since.

I expected roses and wine, but the truth was much darker.

Over the course of the year I've seen my shadows and walked in them.
I've seen my pains and held them, curled around my fingertips.
I've seen my insecurities and danced alongside them.

I've seen my vivid fears and took them to dinner.

I've seen my ignorance and wrote it a love letter or two.
I've uncovered my false hopes and pressed them to my lips.

I've seen my hidden character when times turn for the worst, and I stroked the soft skin of its back.
I met myself. Fully naked, with nowhere to hide. Nothing to now hide.

And I had to make a choice. 

This was me. There was no other me at this moment, I thought.

Do I love myself? 

Am I willing to work with and encourage myself?
Am I willing to say "come on over, let's learn this new skill together."
or "I think we should learn how to get along."

Am I willing to invite my true self into my life?
Am I willing to tame the wilderness inside me?

Regardless if I am, we are one, always together. And always will be.

Til death do us part.

So, what kind of relationship do I want to have with myself?

The kind that I want to have with others:

Accepting. Calm. Content.