Portraits

A little over two years ago, I started taking photographs.

I started taking photographs of the gowns I wore – the pills I took.

I started taking photographs of pain.

At first, I thought it was a weird, pop culture, selfie compulsion… but I wasn’t sharing these photos.  They never touched a twitter or a tumblr.  They never left my phone.

For months this went on; needle after needle, table after table, crumpled white medical paper and a camera phone.

When my boyfriend left, I cried and told my mother I finally figured out why I was taking these pictures.  I don’t look sick.  I look like a normal girl.  And in trying to be happy, in trying desperately to be normal, I look from the outside like nothing is wrong.  Or, if something is wrong, it can’t possibly be too bad.

Somewhere deep inside, afraid that no one believes me, I have been documenting my descent.  Can anybody hear me?

Last week a friend told me he had been suffering from a disease for over a year.  It took them that long to diagnose him, and silently, secretly, he suffered.  I wanted to tell him that I understood, that I truly understood, but how can you?  And then I realized that in the midst of my completely inward terror, I had somehow created a tiny bit of good to give.

Better than a billion of my stupid, useless words.  Portraits.

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