Official Artist Statement:
Inside Out started when I looked at 2015 and realized how much my life was being controlled by my mental and physical problems. I have a myriad of ‘interesting’ disorders that lend themselves to making everyday life sometimes hard to cope with, and my body (via gallbladder) tried to kill me earlier in the year. To those looking at me, however, I seem to have my life completely together. They can’t see through my careful lies to the turmoil inside. My intent through this project is to not only give myself a place to confront that which controls me, but to also show that even the most ‘together’ of people can be quietly falling apart. The mantra echoes around me all the time: “You don’t seem shy!” “You don’t seem autistic!” “You sure you have social anxiety? You’re so friendly!” “When are you ever depressed?” My photos will directly help those immediately around me better understand the chaos in my brain, and I hope will also bring empathy to those like me, especially the younger ones, who need to know they’re not alone.
What a year this has been. I could call it a roller coaster, but if it was, it was most reminiscent of those rides where they drop you, but you don’t know if your harness is secure and you’re pretty sure you’ll end up splatted at the bottom.
Followers of my blog know about some of my issues, especially the near-death-by-gallbladder, and even some aspects of my anxiety and body image. This is the first time I’ve ever confronted all of it headlong, unashamed, and in stark visual media. As my statement above reads, a big part of this confrontation came from realizing no one actually knew about the molotov cocktail in my brain, and also seeing some young friends of mine struggling with the same damn problems and potentially not realizing they are NOT alone.
Too, in part, I found the courage to speak up because of a friend and fellow author named Amy McCorkle whose memoir entitled Letters to Daniel is being turned into a film. She has started an #imnotbroken movement, helping to highlight how those of us with brains wired differently are not always broken, we just need more maintenance.
Inside Out is one of the more personal things I’ve ever done, and it was as hard to put my face in front of the camera as it was to illustrate what goes on inside my brain. My anxiety is having a field day at posting this; irony at its best.
I welcome comments and discussion, but keep it friendly and polite. I will not tolerate trolls. Period.