Learning to Heal

It all started on a balcony… Or off a balcony I should say. Making up stories what happened is a new hobby I’ve acquired, but the real story is this: I don’t actually know what happened. That’s dangerous part of sleepwalking; waking up sometimes includes a broken right wrist. Breaking a limb is an entirely new experience for me, especially since it’s my dominant wrist, and it has seriously impaired my manual dexterity and mobility. It has forced me to look inward for inspiration to create photographs instead of my normal photo-journalistic subjects. This series is about a new experience for me and each image represents the process of learning to heal. The first image is the balcony from which I plummeted, and the bushes that very well could have saved my life. It terrifies me to think what could have happened, and I still feel woozy when I look down where I fell. As my mother keeps reminding me, I’m very lucky to be alive, and that’s one thing we agree upon. The next is of my actual X-ray. The white pins you see are in my bones, holding my wrist in place while they fuse back together. As irritating as they can get under my cast, I know that they’re going to help me come back together, and I know that they won’t be a part of me for very much longer. Since this is the first time I’ve broken a bone (and have only had a handful of serious injuries), this has also been the most painful injury I’ve sustained. Part of this experience has been, “how do I deal with pain?” and for a while, it was through the medicine they gave me. There became trade off between how much of this pain I was willing to endure vs. how much mental clarity I want. Also, will I still want them even after the pain stops? A lot of things have become a lot more difficult for me since I broke my wrist. I long for the day when I won’t need to tape a trash bag to my arm to shower. Pretty much anything that requires two hands is a challenge now; opening cans, carrying the laundry, even tying my own shoes has been an endless source of frustration. Thankfully I have an incredible support system of friends who support me and help when they see me in need, even when I’m being stubborn. Though, the worst part of this chapter in my life is that I’m not fully able to pick up a camera. My fingers on my shooting hand ache when I fiddle with the controls and Nikon doesn’t make a camera for lefties. My salvation has been my tripod. It used to only get used for long exposures and portraits, but now it’s the most essential tool in my kit. It has allowed me to keep shooting, even if it slows me down. I may have lost a hand, but I’ve gained three feet.