TW: suicide, threats, language, etc.
My stomach is balled up in knots as I set myself into to write this post..
Truth be told, it probably was easier not to write it at all. There are so many reasons to type this, that it prolifically doesn't make sense not to. Alas, here I am. A shrouded corpse of adjectives that have been used against me in the determined battle to do what I perhaps should've done decades ago..
Get off of social media.
If you know me personally, you know that most of my young life has been spent, consuming social media.. whether it be curating photos, starting an agency for the safety of models or just spending 100% of my time trying to build up other people. Last month I got a booking inquiry, that I suppose I would entitle bullying-- using words like terrorist to literally strip me of my worth.
I could go on and on with nuances about how each individual line of every statement is written in such an insensitive and impersonal way, picking and choosing facets of information, as opposed to directly acknowledging the deterioration of one's physical and mental health, but.. It's fruitless. The screenshots are more or less an exhibit of reality-- to what level people are eager to stoop to prevent any single person from sleeping soundly at night. It always speaks volumes that people who are emotionally charged speak in hypocritical statements while at the same time, taking true effort to flex more creativity in motive than in ethics.
In that same 48 hour span, I got an onslaught of messages from clients basically saying I'd betrayed my purpose for why I'd essentially got into photographing: to make people feel safe. Words showed up in my Twitter mentions like "get help", "take business classes", basically start over.
To paraphrase 230 statements from people I'd thought were confidants, give up. Disappear. We hate you. You fucked up. To put it plainly, I had a stroke, lost my career, home, animals, loved ones, and friends.. As I anxiously feared all my life, no one truly gave a shit. The show went on, friends went on to talk about how they'll never find a photographer who will do xyz, and it hurt. It hurt so much, I typed out a very lengthy suicide note that will never be published.
Everyone makes mistakes.. Unless you're "Queen" of anything. Then..
You're basically signing up for a nightmare. I never wanted to be "famous", big, or rich, I just wanted to help people. I never wanted anyone to face the slew of bullying I was faced growing up or the jokes that were made about my father, my anxiety, my depression, so on and so forth. There's so much that exists now that didn't then, and social media makes it easy to just type whatever you want... without consequences. I spent weeks stressing over: "Well, who would write something like this? Who would say these words to someone who did this and that,.."
Truth be told.. anyone. I'll never know exactly who, but considering the people who have boldly alluded to wishing I would take my life, there's no need for a round of guess who.
I don't even need to point out the irony that in the months I tried to recovery properly, I spent so much of my time, trying to make amends with people I'd emotionally scarred while I was scrambling to bounce back, to be physically well enough to follow through with making sure everyone got everything they wanted. There were moments I was seated on the hardwood floor, looking up at people, going "If I end up back in the hospital, promise me, you'll make an effort to tell every single person how sorry I am, and get them their money back." Broken promises were made, texts were sent, messages were not relayed.
"Friends" walked out of my house, with my cat, my computer, stories they inevitably shared with others as a cautionary tale, as opposed to what was really happening.. I was dying in front of everyone and sobbing for a semblance of safety I never got. Strangers walked off with electronics that had every single layer of my existence lying on it, and police reports were filed, though nothing was ever returned. Still, I was trying to utilize what would've been my last hours, giving the last of what I could, my love and everything I could remember that I'd learned so that others could succeed.
I will never walk away from photography. I will always be the first one apologizing with full honesty and disclosure about what took place from the malnutrition, to the stroke, to the time spent in the hospital, and while the months proceeding were nightmares in which I will probably never remember fully, I won't be returning to social media. I'll still be privately booking and shooting, but as far as making some grandiose return to the battle grounds of toxicity, it's not good for my health. It's not good for the very few people in my life who have seen me laying in the ER, who witnessed the break-in and the fraction of words written on the walls of what was the one place I thought I would be safe. I don't feel safe in that environment, and I don't feel safe around 80% of the people I spent decades working with to make sure they could the photos that are featured in magazines, blogs, etc..
I took the advice of the various commentators, and I sought out the help. It all led to the same understanding: The same community I depended on became determined to leave me behind-- rightfully so. If social media cares more about your "image" than about your physical well-being, its wrong to sow your seeds therein. I'm still as reachable as I can be. I no longer have Facebook, no longer use Instagram, no longer can you find me posting to Tumblr, Twitter, etc. Contrary to the world's shifting climate, some people do still check their emails. My best friend Chris is remarkable at relaying booking information for those who want to physically have their picture taken and can assure both my presence and my health being in tact.
As far as the rally of people praying I've finally made the leap and taken my life, I'm sorry to present you with the disappointing news that every joke you've made regarding my physical and emotional well being is only karmic energy for the universe to suss out. Unlike the energy wasted to create a cycle of self deprecation and misery, I've spent most of my days praying that those who find this sort of behavior funny seek out and successfully acquire the same help they're encouraging me to get. I hold no ill will and I still love my friends (who may have started out as clients but essentially evolved into family) dearly, so dearly I still hold in my heart the hope that I'll be the photographer at your wedding, your maternity, etc.
I wish all of you wellness, prosperity, and abundance. Even if I (gratefully) never encounter most of you ever again. I also wish anyone I've ever called a friend a much more peaceful life whether you've poured your energy into being a giver or being a taker. The weight of words, especially in terms of spilling blood is heavier when unfortunate events finally take place. When that tragic day comes, my funeral will be small, private, and reserved for those who understood that my life purpose was solely meant to bring as much good as possible.
May we all go forth and prosper in peace moving forward.
No need to write a thousand more fake inquiries, the "influencer", "let's help 400 models get $4,000" in OnlyFans subscribers died with whomever stole my assets, and then continued to allow incredibly innocent supporters to continue to be charged for services they aren't receiving any longer. (if you're the lucky owner of my iMac and iPhone, just do us all a favor and stop every single charge.) To those who are waiting on a refund, I pray your bank has been much more understanding than mine, as I've lost more money fighting to get people's refunds than I have trying to make my return into the industry that pushed me out without so much as a "Get well soon."
To those who have been Inspired over the years by what I do..
I love you. You're valid even when the world encourages you otherwise. It's easy to pull together a collective of people motivated by pure hatred to try to push someone to the point of no return. It's harder to swallow that pain and tell yourself there's any reason to keep believing you're worth a slither of anything. While I'm taking my permanent leave from social media, I still will take your photo. I still will answer your emails. I will still encourage you to love yourself and to give good to those around you who want you to be who you are until my very last breath.
If something happens to me, know I died with nothing but hopes and dreams for your greatness in my heart. Every mile I've traveled, every hug I've held (digitally or physically) has been my personal testament to you and who you are, whether healthy or ill.
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I wish you the best and I wish you better days. I miss you, I fought for you, tried to be the bridge between you and your circle and I was burned in the process, I didn’t allow you to hear or see the things from the other side. Love you always my forever friend.
I love you jas please let me know you’re awake. We got the world to prove wrong don’t let the bastards bring you down