We’ve all had moments where we’ve channeled Thelma & Louise.
Hit the road.
Left it all behind. (Except that Brad Pitt hitchhiker.)
For years, I’d get into my car and drive for hours, taking along the only companion I’d wanted: a reliable, standard point-and-shoot camera.
We’d stop and go, stop and go. All the while poking my head and its lens into forgotten places in the hopes that I’d find a bit of myself reflected in what I’d captured with the press of a button.
And I did.
At first, I thought that the shots were just of buildings.
But years after they languished in an external hard drive, I saw them for what they truly were: self portraits.
I wasn’t so much looking for old buildings, but part of myself. Something that may have been hanging on by a thread, or left to molder in darkness.
Bits and pieces from my past lives, all united by a common theme: decay, with a touch of sophistication, and plenty of room for improvement.
The conditioned traits I’d embodied but never really embraced.
The parts of myself that I tried to express and frame, but found extinguished and skewed at one time or another.
Something about these broken, beautiful places drew me in, filled a void I’d let grow inside me. Perhaps, like puzzle pieces, random fragments of others’ experiences completed me.
Whether it was a gutted living room, or a little floral bouquet–last respects paid, left on a soon-to-be demolished window sill–I felt less like a disembodied part and more of a whole.
It’s always odd to pinpoint what exactly inspires us to push forward and grow.
Sometimes it’s adrenaline pumping through our veins, or a slight, reassuring squeeze on the shoulder.
Sometimes, though, it’s just us.