2009 - present
In my 20s I was doing exactly what I thought I wanted to do for the rest of my life until I ended up in the psych ward. The subsequent years were a blur. I wasn’t sure if my voice was loud enough, eloquent enough or even important enough to be part of any conversation. I wandered for quite some time, not understanding what moved me anymore or at the very least, how to be a contributing member of society. Then I got pregnant and I thought that with this new identity, I would find myself. But parenthood wasn’t my immediate answer. The isolation fed my loneliness. The hiccups that came with being a first-time parent magnified my insecurities. So I did what came naturally to me; I picked up a camera.
Photography was a cathartic exercise when I was in the throes of depression. This time around, I endeavored to chronicle the banalities of my day to day, hoping I would somehow get a glimpse of the profound. In the past nine years, I’ve given birth to two loquacious boys and @bonetiredmama. What started as an effort to find connections in the midst of severe post-partum depression, evolved into an anthropological study of Family. I bask in the hilarity of my kids’ honest observations. I also have a near pathological obsession with dissecting the dynamic my partner and I create as a result of generational trauma. At what point does our past stop defining us? When must we start owning our own mistakes? Can one fully escape the hand of child abuse, bullying, sexual assault, infidelity, suicide… the patriarchy? The latter sounds nebulous, but when we come shackled by societal definitions of masculinity and gender roles, the family dynamic can unravel. We come with so much baggage. Unchecked, we consequently make so many mistakes. What can a union look like if the ripples of trauma are too much to confront?
These questions allowed me to step back and understand that I didn’t need to be the loudest or the most eloquent to contribute to the narrative. I just needed to be observant and receptive. I’m not sure that these images end when the boys hit their teenage years, leave home, or start their own families. The feeling of completion might never hit me; it might not have to. Closure could fall on the shoulders of my children.
I do know this: I continue to make images because these are stories that I feel compelled to share, not for reasons of moral responsibility, but for the need to find connections. I understand the power of community and I hope that others find respite in these stories. I yearn to know those who can relate to my triumphs and pain, who see my failures as stepping stones and who have lived through my present and are all the wiser. We need each other because being a woman straddling the line between career and motherhood can be lonely and daunting. I found that the fabric which makes up our stories — as sons, daughters, mothers, fathers — is exquisitely layered. It took having children to understand beyond the theoretical that the answer to the question of what binds us, is as simple as it is complex. It is as profound as it is superficial. It wasn’t until I had the boys that I can truly say, I feel it in my bones.
Family is complicated and messy. Family has literally driven me mad. It has also been my savior. Family is my heartbreak, and it will always be my Reason.