We have become Facebook friends and every day I see her strength. Her ability to fight through her fear and physical limitations, for herself and her son. Honest with herself and those around her. She is a tough and beautiful spirit. One that has had a huge impact on me in a very short period of time.
Those who know me are aware that I am not religious or spiritual. I consider myself a humanist. I do believe in the golden rule and I often fail at it more than I'd like to admit. My photography for the last 6-7 years has dealt with peoples identity. During this time I've tried to use my platform with photography to make everyone feel inclusive with respect and beauty, of their individuality. This is genuine and meant to break the societal norms that make us question our own self and unique individuality.
This shoot was different. It was a mutual FB friend that ultimately brought her to the Zu to be photographed. Before, during, and after a photo session, I am often most interested in our dialog. I'm not one for small talk so discussions usually become personal. This session and our conversation, was the same. I discovered a woman so empowered with her own identity as a woman, mother, and human being. Facing such challenges yet so full of fight. Maybe that is the only option available?
I myself have been battling severe depression for many months. Withdrawing from society whenever possible and really faking it until I can pull myself out of it. This experience with such a brave and open soul, has taught me more about life in the 3 1/2 hours we shared, than any other life experience. I haven't snapped out of my depression for those who understand the seriousness of it, it's not that easy. What I have done is use her example of strength to move forward with a feeling of optimism that tomorrow will be a better day, and if not tomorrow, maybe the next day.
Life is learning, and I do feel that there is a rhythm to life. Things ebb and flow. People come in and out of our lives. Nature has a way of teaching us all. In my heart, I know that this special person will beat this cancer and continue to positively affect those around her as she has with me. Peace.