A new life requires a death of some kind, a letting go. What we let go of, is a way of being in the world that we have outgrown. I am working on exorcising my demons. In childhood I knew turmoil and the fear of being sent away, the physical, emotional and sexual abuse. I knew I was the disposable child. I understood I had no worth. So I carried this into adulthood. It was filled with contradictions for I made a secure home and yet never owned more than I could grab to flee with in my car. My spaces are quite empty in my house and clutter makes me uneasy. It is better to only care about a few possessions, for might I not lose it all?

I carry my daughter's childhood in a few of her dresses and a single box of her artwork and momentos. My dogs old name tag and red leather collar. My film cameras are packed in their bag and mentally I practise a list of my favourite clothes so I could pack in a hurry. This is the weight I carry; to travel light. 

Images from Still I Rise commissioned by the NHS. Those who heal.

“Tell your heart that the fear of suffering is worse than the suffering itself, and no heart has ever suffered when it goes in search of its dreams.” – The Alchemist

My dreams and imagination are a refuge and a delight. The quest to let go of trauma began on a yoga mat for me. I read "The Body Keeps the Score" by Van Der Kolk and knew I had so much trapped in my tummy, throat and shoulder. The places had been injured years ago but I was still holding the pain inside and that felt dangerous. So my practice became more somatic and a desire to relinquish the shadows. I began other experiments to heal, visiting a reiki master, a white witch, I learned about tapping and had my cards read, I went back to the witch. I began to visit stone circles.  I decided that if somebody offered a healing I would not think or judge; but trust. The healers have poured into my life. I was commissioned by the NHS to photograph surgeons and doctors; serendipity - for I listened to stories from these people about adversity, how they live with it and the effects it can have in our bodies. I felt lighter. I felt a burning need to publish my photo essay, "Shadows" and to tell the story of my father's death. 

What if joy was an act of resistance, or the struggle to find peace my life's quest? 

I have spent two years capturing portraits of those who have survived domestic abuse. This work is ongoing, yet I need a different space to inhabit, light to balance my shadows. I'm looking for resilience more than anguish. Change may be painful to embrace, a new life takes courage. I know I'm a peaceful warrior and I'm learning my worth.

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