I made the split decision about three weeks ago to move to Brooklyn. A friend of mine had a room open in her flat, and as it was half of what I was paying here, in a place with no job prospects and fewer opportunities, I thought what the hell? I'm going. I have so many friends in New York. I like the energy there. I like the myriad of things to do. I'll be near the sea. Looking at this with an optimistic heart, I am so very grateful for the opportunity and do not want to waste it before it's too late.
I'm going from a spacious 1-bedroom to a cramped flat with three others and a space that's 8x10. I've literally sold and donated half of the contents of my flat here: furniture, art supplies, little things I've accumulated, half of my clothing. I hit critical mass sometime around August and it only hit me now. I've taken a lot of ideas from the "tiny house" movement on how to really understand a small space and make it livable. I'm not sad about letting go of the past ten years. It's been very therapeutic, actually. Clothing was easy to part with - I've lost seventy pounds since last year. I've made sure that my things have all gone to people I care about or are good people, as well. That makes the letting go much easier, knowing people will appreciate what I once had.
In the end, I'll give it all up. I'm longing for something different, something positive, something kinder. In Brooklyn? people keep asking. "New York is hard." You know what else is hard? Being in a prison of status quo. That happens anywhere. Hard is relative. Fortunately, so is joy. I find it working backstage in theatres. I want to do that, so I will. I am in a position now where I can do those things, live cheaply, and meet new people who don't condemn me for my past or feel sorry for me for not living up to my potential. I'm a slow burner. I'm ready to move to New York and enjoy it for what it really has to offer. So many people take that city for granted and only see the negatives. I'm a fucking Frank Sinatra song.
All I know is, I never want to be in a place again where I take on other people's sorrows, cast-offs, and negative energies. This has all been quite a change of life, to be honest. Suddenly everything was gone, people walking down the stairs clutching acquirements, gifts, and some cherished things. It's been cleansing. I've been fortunate to have many supporters along the way. It's the path I need to take. It's not been without emotional turmoil, but its a necessary sacrifice. In the end, you can't take with you. I'm in the moment now. There is no past, no future. Only now. You make a conscious decision over whether you are going to be a kind person, or a son of a bitch. Whatever works for you. I'm only interested in light, so I'm going to be a little moth and flutter towards it as often as possible.
For me, photography shows select memories of the past and a possible map of the future, but by no means is it solid. I feel some judgement here and there for doing self portraits - I must be narcissistic! I must be an exhibitionist! I must be looking for attention! - but the stark truth is, I am alone most of the time. This process demands it at the moment. It makes me feel better to look at my evolution and analyse where I've gone wrong and where I've gone right. It's part of the learning. I am so grateful to have means that allow this process. The iPhone is an amazing tool. If that's your definition of narcissism, have fun with it at my expense. I don't give a flying fuck!
I'm aware that I don't have a model's body, I'm full of face scars, my hands are small, I've got a gash wound scar in my thigh from a box cutting accident, and I've survived being hit by an SUV with a massive head injury and broken hand. These are all amazing things I'm proud to wear on my body. I'm a human crazy quilt. I'm not afraid of people seeing.
I owe so much of this transition to my often-blasphemous but always enlightenting conversations with my dearest Mr. Tovey, who has (probably unwittingly) bashed down so many doors for me as a human being, showing it's okay to express yourself honestly. I've also had many talks with Sara, Christie, Jess, Lillian - all women who have been amazing guiding forces. Who am I? I am an actress and improv performer, so I bring characters into my photos, channeling someone else to express what I need to purge inside. It's the best. On some days I feel like a monster, on others I feel like an angel. It's all valid. We all feel those ways at any given moment. If I can demonstrate that it's okay to feel vulnerable, beautiful, hideous, grotesque, or frantic, then take my portraits for what I mean them to be. We are all glorious, occasionally bizarre, but tremendous humans. We must learn to love ourselves, it's the only means of survival. When we love ourselves, we love everyone. When we cast away our judgements, we cast away our fears of judgement. And always be grateful. Always. I write love letters to the universe every night before bed. I highly recommend it. xxx
My latest self portraits have been taken after long days and long purging processes. This is my favourite.