I wear many hats, and it can be frustrating because some days I just want to know one thing and excel at that instead of getting pulled in different directions. However, that's not my lot in life. I am a creative, and I think I permanently hold residence deep in the rabbit hole. I have long held a belief that you don't have because you don't ask. It is a mantra that has led my life for a long time and still does. I find vulnerability exhilarating and terrifying at the same time. It can be so difficult to embrace in our own lives, but we love to see other people do it. I am a narrative photographer (among other things). I have an important photo shoot happening in November, right in my front yard in northern Alabama. I am a long time survivor of domestic violence and abuse. I live in this tiny little town because 623 days ago, my abuser was going to kill me. I left everything, my studio, my business partner, my home, my friends, and loaded up my Nissan with my cat and left to get some help through a local organization. Why here, 1560.9 miles from everything I knew? Someone I am close to is a domestic violence advocate. When I was finally truthful about what was happening, she intervened to save my life. I decided a while ago to try and give back to the organization that helped me through photography.
I approached 12 other survivors I've been healing with, my tribe, and posed one question. If you had to pick an image to represent what life after abuse looks like, could you tell me? They have come up with some fantastic ideas that go far beyond a phoenix rising from the ashes. I took that information and hired multiple hair and makeup artists and booked flights for part of my team to come from Arizona. I hired a seamstress in Colorado to help, and I asked counselors and support to be here on that day to encourage and lift these remarkable women up. These photos, along with their stories, will go into an online gallery eventually. Still, for now, I get to witness the joy and happiness of a large group of people coming together to create art for a special cause.
I have been contacted by the media in 3 states who want to do stories about making art through the pain. What does any of this have to do with not having because you didn't ask? It's because sometimes you have to face your fear and embrace your vulnerability. After all, you never know what the payoff will be. I have contacted people from all walks of life to find support for this project and bring awareness to domestic violence. I have no idea if my messages ever got past the secretary. I don't know if they read it and just laughed, but I know that the answer would always be a resounding no if I didn't reach out. I hope that whatever you are working on, if it is looking for employment, or creating, or writing, just do it. Drop the pretense and allow the vulnerability in and just ask. You just never know what the answer might be. Did you ask?
"Carpe diem, quam minimum credula postero!"