This post is very personal for me. In fact, when read this message, I still get tears in my eyes because its so real for me- even weeks later. This project happened before the end of last year as we were preparing to move. I had greatly underestimated the amount of work and stress involved. I've moved before. A lot. But for some reason this move brought up in me a great deal of emotion, anxiety (I seriously do not like that word so I do not use it lightly), and personal blocks that I had yet to overcome- still working on most of them, actually. What follows is an email sent to one of my dearest friends who worked on this project with me. In and amongst the text I've put images from this project. But I would encourage you to watch the videos at the end as they help to showcase the story in a more cohesive way. **Reminder- This is a creative project. The makeup, styling, atmosphere, posing, and editing are specifically done to convey and drive the story. The elements mentioned are used to create a world thats not quite the one we live in, but, perhaps, the one we dream in.** "Really, I should have written this in the moment of feeling these emotions. I alway think to myself when I'm feeling really strong emotions, "I should write this down. I should write how I feel right now so that I can look back on it later." But I rarely ever do.
This project was much the same. I should have written what I felt as I felt it because this explanation will pail in comparison to what it really felt like.
I dont like the time that sits in between the start of something and the end of something- the waiting for it to begin- that is not fun for me.
Because I was not where I wanted to be my inspiration for this project was minimal. Like bare bones minimal. I almost felt exhausted just thinking about it. I felt tired just thinking about being a photographer.
As you know, we did the shoot.
It went as it did. You went back home and then we moved.
In and amongst moving (and prepping to move) I edited these. I was not initially pleased with what I created. I made a lot of mistakes that required me to do a lot of editing on the back end.
I was tired.
Emotionally, physically, mentally- I was tired of my craft. I was tired of prepping this move. I was tired of not being where I wanted to be in business.
And all that tired brought up a lot of stuff that I like to keep pushed way down deep
Fear of failure.
Fear of rejection.
Fear of not being good enough.
Fear of having these big dreams and never getting close to any of them.
Fear of letting down my family.
Fear of being outed as an imposter in this industry.
Just a lot of fear brought to the surface because I was tired and feeling unfulfilled.
As I'm editing these and the images are getting darker and Marinna's expressions more dramatic one image came up and my first thought when I finished it was 'mercy'. In fact, I titled it that and I dont title images with words. But I did with this one.
This image spoke to me and then the whole series did.
To me, as this story plays out, its about trials. Its about getting lost. Its about holding on to your pain because we dont know any better. We wrap ourselves in it, we smear our selves with it, we hold close to ourselves with our weak arms just trying to hold the broken bits in place all the while looking for an out, looking for a light . . . praying for mercy.
"Let there be an end to this."
"Let this be over soon."
"Let me not be tired anymore."
"Where is mercy? . . . . . please let there be mercy."
And then we wake up. We look up.
For me, as I am a religious person, that's where I turned. I have to turn to faith. I have to turn to my knowledge of a loving and merciful Heavenly Father who always, always, always gives mercy.
A loving Heavenly Father who knows what I feel and knows that I am strong enough to keep going because, despite what I think, the fear, the tiredness, the trials make me more. I become in these moments and He knows that.
We look to the light. We look to a brighter dawn and as we look for that, as we look for the warmth and believe that the sun will rise the next day, we find it.
The fear washes off, the trials end, and the morning is here.
And we are more.
We are greater.
We stepped onto the road that leads us to where our soul longs to be and the path is clear and the way is bright.
That doesn't mean that its not still a little dark. Because some fear is just gonna be there for me. It just is. I'm always going to fear rejection in my business. As time goes by I'll get better at processing it and move past it faster, but I imagine that certain fears will always be with me. And it will be up to me to greet them at the door as an old friend and let them clear the path for something greater. The key for me, and I venture for everyone, is to not hold onto the fear/pain. Feel it, know that its there, but let it move through you and then become more."
This being human is a guest house. Every morning a new arrival. A joy, a depression, a meanness, some momentary awareness comes as an unexpected visitor. Welcome and entertain them all! Even if they are a crowd of sorrows, who violently sweep your house empty of its furniture, still, treat each guest honorably. He may be clearing you out for some new delight. The dark thought, the shame, the malice. meet them at the door laughing and invite them in. Be grateful for whatever comes. because each has been sent as a guide from beyond.
— Jellaludin Rumi
Thank you for reading/watching this. And in your own trials and difficult moments that seem to stretch on too long, I wish you hope to keep going forward. Love, Melinda
Studio in Athens PA.
Serving Athens Pennsylvania, Towanda Pennsylvania, Corning New York, and Twin Tiers area.