Words & images by Kathryn Hayes
“Have you ever photographed yourself… naked?” had become a common question. Ironically after first entering the space I’d be renting for the summer, I couldn’t seem to ignore the image of a figure lit up by sunlight laying naked on the floor. A good part of me just wanted to pass it off as a metaphor, pointing to the current phase I am in.
Almost two years ago I moved and changed my lifestyle, leaving behind a life that had been seven years in the making. Took a leap of faith to pursue a relationship with someone I had developed a deep admiration, love, and soul-attachment to. A connection that developed so quickly its unexplainable with words. Manifestation? At times it felt like it. A mutual desire for constant companionship, transpired into a best friend, lover, business partner, creative match with room to develop into so much more. Until it all of a sudden came to a screeching stop. Projects unrealized, plans unfulfilled, unmotivated, unstimulated, and in limbo. Or at least that’s how it seemed.
“I have come to the conclusion that the first step in letting go is to realize your pain, accept it and let it wash over you.”
I felt like I had been left lying naked on the floor, unable to explain the unforeseen turn of events. This has resulted in months of sadness, confusion, inevitable anger, and an overwhelming feeling that I am loosing a piece of my soul I will never get back. We naturally reach out for things that are familiar and constant, trying to fill the void. I slowly began putting the pieces back together. Regaining aspects of my life that had been pushed aside to make room for this being and new life, my soul thought it couldn’t live without. I had time to ride again and bought a new bike. Couldn’t bring myself to attend class at the one studio in town she frequents so I started practicing at home again, daily. For the first time in years, meditation also became a daily importance. And reading. Juggling so many books, searching for answers, it started to make my head spin. Attempting to push through the unneeded sadness in my heart, caused by the illusion of needing another person. The unwanted pain my heart was feeling, because when it comes down to it our souls are attached. Connected for eternity. I have accepted that I will never understand. And will be battling the epic tale of letting go, for a very long time.
“It represents the mind’s eye, how I have come to see and accept myself when I am not ok. A portrayal of having realized that acknowledgement of the painful loneliness deep in my soul is really my heart attempting to touch me, forcing me to touch it back.”
This has been the hardest part. I have come to the conclusion that the first step in letting go is to realize your pain, accept it and let it wash over you. Because in the wake of distracting myself, starting a new routine and thinking I’m fine, drowning the pain only intensified it. This was the realization that inspired the images shown. The last is the image I set out to capture. It represents the mind’s eye, how I have come to see and accept myself when I am not ok. A portrayal of having realized that acknowledgement of the painful loneliness deep in my soul is really my heart attempting to touch me, forcing me to touch it back. Attempting to heal itself. The others are a small representation of the emotions experienced in the hours that unfolded, as I witnessed a new side of myself come into light I hadn’t fully recognized before.