FOR THE PAST YEAR OF my life, I have been battling seasonal depression, anxiety, and self-doubt. It began during my freshman year of college, about the time I convinced myself that I would become a doctor against all odds. It was before I realized I was an empath and held a creative spirit. It was before my mind spiraled into something so messy and cynical that I rarely knew what to do beyond existing. When things got good, they immediately went sour at every right turn. I had my writing and my books, but it was never enough. The deadlines were tight, I was confined in a science I absolutely loathed, and all I wanted to do was breathe.
But I couldn't.
I lost my contract with my publisher.
I failed two classes, lost my friends.
I gave up on the idea that Med School would work out for me, and then I was left with emptiness.
I'd find myself in crying fits every night, unsure of what was upsetting me. Other times I knew exactly what it was, and that upset me more. I realized soon after that I wasn't merely angry for the moment, I was emotionally stuck and something in me was fighting to break free. Being sad all the time isn't normal for someone like me who is, virtually, always happy.
I found relief in photography and in music. Like with everything I've pursued in my life thus far, photography was an accident. I had switched my major to journalism and I needed a minor. When my academic advisor suggested photography, I jumped at the challenge. I didn't know a thing about cameras, and up to today I've only taken one actual photography class. But I wasn't confined in statistics or rules, or a science, and I think that's what won me over.
It took a while for me to see it, but as long as I'm creating something and expressing myself through it, I will forever be happy. Writing did that for me, book designing did too, and now photography is the thing that has changed my perspective on life and love.
The photography project I will be venturing on this summer was inspired by my year in the darkness and how hard I fought to stay in the light, still do. I will choose seven songs to lyrically influence the themes of seven photoshoots featuring seven different models, seven different dresses, and seven different locations.
The number seven is rooted in the seven emotions/phases I've experienced while trying to find myself. They'll unfold as the project does--April to August. This will be my first photography series, and it's one that makes me smile every time I set my mind on it.