woman, red, self portrait, tripod, golden hour, red, tulle, elements & emotions, elements, emotions, element, emotion, blind, sunset, 85mm, sigma, sigma art, bokeh, portrait, fine art, art, photography, Karissa eaton

It has been a year since I decided to step away from social media & photography. Aside from weddings & client work, I picked my camera up only when I felt the desire. It saddens me how very little that happened. I started closing my calendar & focusing on family-

Because, today also marks the one year anniversary of finally asking another human for help.  I have always found myself incapable of asking for a helping hand in all aspects of life. Realizing now that I was just trying to prevent dependency encroaching on my personality, I can also admit I am a very stubborn woman.

Going into my first therapy appointment was surprisingly easy. Holly had used an outdated picture of herself online, much to my relief. She looked very young in her picture, & I was quite pleased to be met by a well-aged woman with an inviting smile that pushed wrinkles around her intelligent eyes.

Our first & second session consisted of different philosophies & the animalistic side of our actions. She explained how the abuse I endured as a child, in my own home, caused me to stop moving & stop breathing. The natural reactions to fear, FIGHT, FLIGHT, or FREEZE. During fear I freeze.  She taught me how to breathe & nod my way back into motion. I can’t thank her enough for all the connections she helped piece together, but the most helpful gift she gave was the ability to breathe again.

How does a stubborn woman finally find herself face to face with a therapist? With the help of another woman, of course! Bailey was an acquaintance from years passed. She turned into my savior.  She was constantly by my side the month I hid away from my family. While I avoided talking & continued to act as if nothing was wrong, she saw through me. She was looking in a mirror of her former self. What was a wife & mother of two children doing taking a month break from her family? Even if she’s in the middle of taking care of her grandmother’s hospice care… What was this need to be constantly moving and the inability to stay still for more than a minute? Why couldn’t this silly little woman sleep? For f**k’s sake, it was 3 in the morning!

O how I ran through the streets barefoot that cold damp night…

So Bailey insisted I take an hour long session with her therapist. Her treat. She video chats with her therapist, so it would be an instantaneous commitment. I said “no, thank you.” Bailey made me promise to make an appointment with someone local before I left for home. It had been time for me to return home. My grandmother had passed. My youngest child had pneumonia. I had burnt the bridge I had traveled to burn… It was time to go.

 

All at once I realized that something was wrong, because nothing was wrong.

For so many years I just assumed that it was seasonal. However, it wasn’t the lack of sunshine during my absence… Hell, it had been November in Northern Arkansas, the sun had been shining all month long. We had been hiking practically every day. Hiking the local parks… I was in constant movement. I was clean & feeling so very alive. That glorious cat nap basking in the sun on the banks of the river with the bluffs reaching high above me…

None of that mattered. It didn’t matter that I had my self awareness. Or that I had my self love. It didn’t matter I had created my own small family filled with life. I had found the wall of contentment. I wanted it all to burn away. To be erased. To have another go at life. This one was… felt. I felt it all, so deeply. It was on a consistent loop. It was time to close my eyes of that dream & wake into another one.

My husband wrote me letters. My family reached out in the most awkward & concerned ways. I felt deaf & blind. I felt numb & full of everything. Being a very sensitive & empathetic person had made me feel & experience more than ever desired. Sometimes the need to stop feeling the world was, & continues to be, overwhelming. I realize my distance from people started with not wanting to share my pain as I grew up. It was constantly on the tip of my tongue. I had been wronged. I had been hurt. I had been dismissed & told I was a liar. That I was imagining things. I had grown up in a home where my mother protected my abuser & left me with only self hope that there was a brighter universe, even if I had to create one. Unfortunately, focusing & creating my own solar system & sunshine also created a vast darkness that only expanded inside me over time…

During my six hour drive back home I researched & called various therapists in the area. I questioned them about their typical clients, their life experiences, & their travels. I wanted someone who could peel back my protective layers, but more so, someone who hadn’t lived in a small town their whole life. Someone with wit, someone relatable & empathetic. I found Holly. We had a handful of sessions that tapered off, but I love knowing that I can reach out again if, or when, I need to climb another towering wall of subconscious obstacles.

 

Sometimes the reason we sabotage our own happiness is because of fear. Especially when it’s a level of happiness in your life you’ve never experienced. It’s us fighting the fear of an unknown feeling. So we sabotage it so we can be living in the comforts of our previous state of mind. We have to learn to allow ourselves the contentment & happiness. Sometimes as artists it’s so very hard. The darkest colors inside of us are what we use to paint with…

 

The RED series shown in the blog was shot exclusively for our local gallery in September, 2018. All the other images were taken in the first few months of 2018. They were so forced & are a constant reminder to only do something if I am moved to do it. To create because I have the desire to feel the experience as a whole…

My last attempt to document for the sake of documenting with my camera was the image of me with my husband. This was the last morning of our trip. Right before we hopped in the car to leave Pensacola, Florida. I didn’t even edit, because that was the moment. I remember it so perfectly. It was that dark. The clouds were that monstrous & gorgeous… Some of us create art in storytelling. But I can’t tell a story when I’m 95 if I’m focused on creating art in the moment instead of living it.

I regret not having more documented for this year of my children & myself. However, I also spent more genuine time with them. I look forward to challenging myself with a healthy balance of creating & mothering.

I will be doing a self portrait once a week with my children, along with video clips & participating in a group for 2019 weekly challenges.

See you lovely humans in the near future <3

woman, red, self portrait, tripod, red tulle, elements & emotions, elements, emotions, element, emotion, blind, sunset, 85mm, sigma, sigma art, bokeh, portrait, fine art, art, photography, Karissa eaton

For this yearly review of my self portraits I have collaborated with amazing artists from our photography community. Most of us have used this group & our self portraits as a type of therapy & creative outlet. Through our words & images, we create open conversations for everyday struggles along with some of our more difficult obstacles in life. Please check out, Diana Hagues, the next artist in our blog circle, and continue through all the artists until you get back to me!

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