Based between NYC (Lenapehoking) & Hamilton, Canada
Conversations with the self. The fear of not understanding the diagnosis of...READ ON
Conversations with the self. The fear of not understanding the diagnosis of BPD and CPTSD deepened the emptiness in my heart. I was aware of my thought patterns, my emotions, my behaviours through the many journals I had written. In my books I looked for the reasons why, looked for advice and comfort in my past self speaking of memories that still live in my body. Upon being diagnosed I was told the way to heal this is through DBT (Dialectical behavior therapy.) A therapy that gives you the tools and skills to navigate daily life in a “productive” way. I called multiple therapists to set up an appointment only to realise that this was not something I could afford. Therapy is not accessible to families like mine, I realised getting treatment is a luxury, I could not afford.
I felt like I was lost in a universe all by myself, I looked at the world as...READ ON
I felt like I was lost in a universe all by myself, I looked at the world as it moved on, as the fights continued, as people raged and I was in my room without the ability to get up. I watched my life enter into a state of silence where I no longer functioned or could be “productive”. With a candle flickering in the background, I remembered that I wasn't alone. I remembered that the spirits were around me and that I was as powerful as I chose to be. Looking outside for hope.
Going in and out of these intense emotional states, I found myself being...READ ON
Going in and out of these intense emotional states, I found myself being grounded by the smell of the palo santo burning on my desk. Leah in the background talking about yoga, reminding me that my body is sacred and giving me the permission I never knew I needed. I remembered that I can breathe, that there is knowledge that lives in me. The smoke of the palo santo acted like a lifeline in the darkness. In the darkness, in yana. In Kichwa, Yana means darkness, black, and the emptiness and vastness of the emptiness or the universe. I have always used the word “darkness” as a metaphor to describe the depression that I have carried with me since I can remember. As the pandemic raged, I finally built the courage to ask for help.
I grew up by a river, I would sit on the hill that overlooked the river and...READ ON
I grew up by a river, I would sit on the hill that overlooked the river and watch the water flow. The dogs ran freely, the cows ate the grass and 8 year old me came to dream here. This was my happy place, the sound of the water was a constant reminder that things will naturally flow. The water gets me. One day in Bethlehem I had a panic attack and Charlie drove me to the nearest forest we could find. I ran inside and saw the walnut trees lining two paths. I heard the water, went to touch it and remembered a song I knew when I was small. I hummed it as the sun lit the water so carefully, with so much love. The sun is always peering in from the smallest creeks and reminding me that life is waiting for me outside of my darkness. I take a deep breath. I remembered my childhood, I remembered my hope. The water gets me.
I allow myself to feel my darkness. Uku Pacha, the infinite waters, yana...READ ON
I allow myself to feel my darkness. Uku Pacha, the infinite waters, yana pacha, the space I created to hold my spirit, my sadness and the other parts of myself. Somewhere in my darkness I learned to listen to my pain, in my isolation I delved into my emotions like Tayta once told me. “If you’re going to cry, make sure you cry well. Let it all out.” I cried and held on to the teachings that have come in cycles past.
Unravelling of the trauma body. I unravel my story by sharing it. Each knot...READ ON
Unravelling of the trauma body. I unravel my story by sharing it. Each knot in my lineage makes itself known in my physical body and it is almost a need that I have to unravel, I let myself be. Cada hilito de mi faja se va zafando y voy entendiendo cada historia tras el tejido. The red thread is used to tie our hair, to put on our alpargates, to make bracelets for protection. The colour is a color that corresponds to the flowers that grow in the mountains, to my blood. To me it is a symbol of memory that travels through time and space in our textiles. That string, that hilito que se va zafando y me muestra historias que necesitan ser contadas.
Project commissioned by Indigenous Photograph X Illuminative as part of "The Indigenous Futures Storytelling Project"
In 2020, a few days before the world went into lockdown, I was diagnosed with borderline personality disorder, complex post traumatic stress syndrome and depression. Through my failed attempt to access services through my local hospital I became aware of the urgent need for culturally sensitive services and for the unique experiences of racialized bodies to be included in conversations of mental health. In Kichwa, ‘yana’ means “darkness, black, and the great emptiness that exists in the universe.” I have always used the word ‘yana or darkness’ as a metaphor to describe the depressive states that my body goes through.
Guided by my personal ceremonial practices, the guidance of my ancestors, the elements, dreams and spirits, this past year I embraced the idea of shadow work and allowed myself the space to embrace this darkness and solitude.
In my community, we often refer to our godmothers as “achik mamas”. The word ‘achik’ means light; our godmothers are meant to be our ‘guides of light’ throughout our lives. After a year of learning to live with my diagnosis, I began imagining ‘yana achik’ as my chosen godmother. The darkness and light became the guides that led me to narrate my experience, to trust my voice, and to see beauty in the transformation my mind and body go through.
Project commissioned by Indigenous Photograph X Illuminative as part of "The Indigenous Futures Storytelling Project" view full project at: https://indigenousfutures.illuminatives.org/