Ready to Shoot

Updated: Jan 29, 2019

Someone reaches their breaking point, killing hundreds with a gun. yet the only thing we seem to take away from these tragedies is to, "Give a gun to every teacher!” “Lock away the guns! We need to confiscate them before it happens again!” It’s a cycle that never seems to make sense, and a point that’s often missed. The solution shouldn’t be the object that’s used, but the problem behind it, a person’s mental health. Mental illness is quickly becoming a modern day plague. Something that affects far too many lives, and is recognized very little. How many more mass shootings are we going to go through, witness, mourn, before we take action? Is anyone else out there tired of the cycle? I certainly had been. but to be honest. I was afraid. In order to help fix the problem, I needed to be apart of the solution.

Growing up, it wasn’t like mental illness was a hush hush secret, it wasn’t hidden behind closed doors, it was always right there in front of me. Living with a parent who has bipolar type 1 disorder, one of the many things you learned was that it’s okay to seek help. Yet, I was still so fearful. Afraid of the labels that I could be given, fearful that if I were labeled the same .. I would be doomed to go through the things they had. I fought for far too long. Until, November 13th, 2017. Every muscle; tense, my head full of worry as I sat in a crowded waiting room, watching as each person came and went, anxiously checking my phone every few minutes like I was in some sort of hurry.... I finally sought help, something that only took me 12 years to do… and who knew it would end up being this wonderful. My Dr. put it simply, we’re maximizing human potential... It was at that point that it stopped being scary, and I decided that in order to be myself... Let alone the best version of it, I have to shed the life that I was living that never quite felt like mine in the first place

I felt like I had been slowly sinking in quicksand, every move I made had me sinking even more. I got to a point of thinking that maybe if I didn’t move much I could just barely survive. Incapable of experiencing emotion, my body exhausted from constant anxiety, and lack of will to move forward. I had too many night's sleep where I would wake up dreaming that someone was screaming for help...I knew that person was me. I physically and mentally couldn't take another step. I became sick and tired of being so damn sick and tired. I finally broke down. My body revolted and I started to feel myself refusing to sink further into the sand, but I didn’t quite have enough strength to pull myself up... If it wasn’t for my wonderful friends helping me back up, and getting the privilege to hear other positive mental health stories, I don’t know if I would have ever had the courage or strength to seek help.

So now that I’m here, I want to encourage those who may not be strong enough to get out of the quicksand. I want to promote mental health awareness in a positive way. Which, seeking help definitely isn't always great, sometimes downright awful, but instead, to celebrate the courage to keep going. Follow along with my mental health journey as I continue to heal, and seek the beauty in the everyday. The thing that I love about photography, is that no matter what language you speak, how old you are, or where you came from. It’s something everyone can understand, it’s the language that doesn’t require any words. You’re able to show the world how you see it, and how beautiful it is, because it’s something we all view differently.

Photographing the more “ordinary” things in life helped me ground myself, especially when depression or anxiety would hit, seeking beauty in the everyday helped me appreciate the world around me, and before I knew it I started to get a little better. Some examples of that work you can see here. Photography gives me those little butterflies, that gut instinct when you just can’t get over how wonderful it is, so you just kind of come to an immediate halt and ya get a little excited... Like, hey guys, are you seeing what I’m seeing?? Over there... do you not see how fantastic that is?? I usually end up making some sort of embarrassing and awkward noise from pure excitement, and slamming on my brakes…. Oh yea, try not to drive behind me.