A natural ending?

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Knowing when to stop a project is perhaps as important as when you decide to start it in the first place. My next project, which I’m hoping to publish next year after my Tulip project, has been with me for the last 5 years, but only recently I’ve been thinking heavily about how to end it. It feels like it’s coming to a natural end in someway, but I also don’t want to let it go. It feels like it’s been the most important project for me so far on a personal level. In those really really dark days when I struggled to feel like anything would ever feel better again, writing about it all was the only thing that felt like it helped. Writing this blog became my way, and perhaps my only way, of processing the pain, the grief, the utter sadness that was inside me. I didn’t feel strong enough to let on to others what pain I was in, I don’t really understand why. Perhaps it’s because I’ve always been brought up to be a strong person, to get on with things, be practical. So from the exterior I always have been, but the inside was, is, so different. Writing became my, very surprising, outlet. Writing I felt was not my skill, give me camera I feel I can take a decent picture of anything, but ask me to write something and I would shy away. I love the format of a blog, to me it feels personal, diary like, when in fact it’s the compete opposite. Anyone can, I have discovered, read it. I always assumed no one really did. There is something incredibly cathartic about getting all the jumble out of my head, forming some kind of structure of it, and then posting it. It reminds me of a session with a councillor, it’s exactly the same format, when you leave their room you feel relieved, you’ve left with some kind of understanding of all that is going on inside you. The blog, to me, is exactly the same.

The thought of ending this is strange, a bit scary. A bit like when I had my last session with my bereavement councillor, like you’re alone now, heading off into a different stage of your life. Obviously I don’t need to stop writing, but I need to stop writing about grief, I’m no longer in grief, so I’ve run out of material! Which is a great feeling, I genuinely never thought I would get here, it felt like such a deep dark whole I was in, that no one or no thing could ever help, but it did, and for that I am so very grateful. I don’t ever want to return there.

My Tulip project is all about saying goodbye to my dying mum, and this project, about the years after my mums death, is about saying goodbye to grief. I’m looking forward to that, and moving on. Perhaps to do other work that isn’t about such bloody depressing things! Though saying that my next planned project is about loneliness in the elderly, not sure you can get more sad than that. Though it feels like I’m approaching it in a different and more positive way. Having recently signed up to be a Befriender for a charity, it feels like a much more proactive thing, not wallowing in my own self-pity, I hope my work on this subject could help raise awareness in someway.

So I sign this off, of what could be my last post of my grief project, on a positive note and hope next year brings more fun and good times like the end of this year has started to…

Cx

A natural ending?

Cm_Xmas image

 

Knowing when to stop a project is perhaps as important as when you decide to start it in the first place. My next project, which I’m hoping to publish next year after my Tulip project, has been with me for the last 5 years, but only recently I’ve been thinking heavily about how to end it. It feels like it’s coming to a natural end in someway, but I also don’t want to let it go. It feels like it’s been the most important project for me so far on a personal level. In those really really dark days when I struggled to feel like anything would ever feel better again, writing about it all was the only thing that felt like it helped. Writing this blog became my way, and perhaps my only way, of processing the pain, the grief, the utter sadness that was inside me. I didn’t feel strong enough to let on to others what pain I was in, I don’t really understand why. Perhaps it’s because I’ve always been brought up to be a strong person, to get on with things, be practical. So from the exterior I always have been, but the inside was, is, so different. Writing became my, very surprising, outlet. Writing I felt was not my skill, give me camera I feel I can take a decent picture of anything, but ask me to write something and I would shy away. I love the format of a blog, to me it feels personal, diary like, when in fact it’s the compete opposite. Anyone can, I have discovered, read it. I always assumed no one really did. There is something incredibly cathartic about getting all the jumble out of my head, forming some kind of structure of it, and then posting it. It reminds me of a session with a councillor, it’s exactly the same format, when you leave their room you feel relieved, you’ve left with some kind of understanding of all that is going on inside you. The blog, to me, is exactly the same.

The thought of ending this is strange, a bit scary. A bit like when I had my last session with my bereavement councillor, like you’re alone now, heading off into a different stage of your life. Obviously I don’t need to stop writing, but I need to stop writing about grief, I’m no longer in grief, so I’ve run out of material! Which is a great feeling, I genuinely never thought I would get here, it felt like such a deep dark whole I was in, that no one or no thing could ever help, but it did, and for that I am so very grateful. I don’t ever want to return there.

My Tulip project is all about saying goodbye to my dying mum, and this project, about the years after my mums death, is about saying goodbye to grief. I’m looking forward to that, and moving on. Perhaps to do other work that isn’t about such bloody depressing things! Though saying that my next planned project is about loneliness in the elderly, not sure you can get more sad than that. Though it feels like I’m approaching it in a different and more positive way. Having recently signed up to be a Befriender for a charity, it feels like a much more proactive thing, not wallowing in my own self-pity, I hope my work on this subject could help raise awareness in someway.

So I sign this off, of what could be my last post of my grief project, on a positive note and hope next year brings more fun and good times like the end of this year has started to…

Cx

Recent shoot for Hanger Magazine

Recently I spent a fun day shooting for Malaysian magazine Hanger, looking at the new mens barber shops that are popping up in London. The feature is in their UK themed issue out now.

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Back to other times.

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On Sunday I did a strange but beautiful shoot, not beautiful images in particular but beautiful for what it was and what it meant to me. My last post spoke about randomly being invited back to my childhood home, so this Sunday I went. I was both excited and nervous about going back. The house, in Kentish Town, was where I was born (well half of me I got stuck so the other half was in the hospital) and spent the first 6 years of my life. It holds many dear memories for me, and the idea of going back brought up a lot of forgotten ones too, which were nice, not sad as expected. Ringing the bell and being lead in to the house was very strange, but in a nice way, the place still felt the same, it was newer looking and feeling but it still retained the same character. Many of the old features still there, the stained glass windows, the kitchen my uncle built, my mum’s Aga. I brought with me some images to show the new residents, and it was remarkable how similar some things were 30 years on.

I was worried before I went that this trip would bring nothing but sadness, but it was completely the opposite. I thought being back in the house would bring up feelings of grief, missing my mums presence, wanting to go back to my childhood in someway, feelings of missing or longing for that life for when my mum was alive, but it was none of these. The new family that live there are so nice and it was so lovely to see them all living in it as we once did. And what surprised me where all the similarities and beautiful coincidences that kept happening.  Like the fact there were a vase of Tulips in the kitchen, really there could have been any flowers but there wasn’t there were Tulips. The young child, Florence, that lives there now is 6 years old, the age I was when we left, and she is not dissimilar to how I looked then either. She was a lovely little girl, polite, friendly and a nice calm presence, I felt real similarities to the younger me. She and I even had the same child’s bowl with our name on. It was so nice to see all her drawings around the house, as mine would have been, all the happy family photos stuck on the fridge, clues of the new happy souls that are living in the house now.

It was all these things that made it a pleasant experience and so glad I went. It’s a kind of full circle in this project, I’ve been to the places of my mums childhood, and now to mine, and the feelings get less and less sad along the way. Perhaps why this project has needed me to take so long on it.

There’s still more to do, but it’s getting there and so are my emotions and feelings, they are changing as I progress through these times and experiences and if nothing but that comes out of all this then that is fine, that’s all I need.

 

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