PICTURE YOURSELF WELL

Art & Photo Therapies: Creative Solutions to Everyday Concerns

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(#8) The Tree In Me - Sunday's Best

Posted by Kelly Gauthier on March 1, 2015 at 9:35 AM Comments comments (0)

 

EXITING WITH GRACE

I hadn't realized how heavy the darkness was until it was gone.  My clothing fit the same way it always had, and yet I felt a 100 pounds lighter. I felt like I was floating now rather than sinking.  What a wonderful feeling it was!  I remember taking each step forward with such pride, because for the first time in a long time I was leading myself.  This time my life was my own to create.  I was given this brand new white canvas that I could colour anyway I wanted, and boy was I excited.  Having the freedom to choose was something I had deprived myself of for far too long.  Now that the door was open again I was going to take every opportunity I could to walk through it.  And I did. 

My journey has been a long one, and while it has changed and grown for the better, it still contains moments of darkness.  However I am now able to identify these moments and see them for what they are.  Just moments.  I take every opportunity to remind myself of the goodness that resides in my life and that I am the one responsible for that.  As long as I feel good about my choices, I feel good about me. 

I remember not too long ago uttering these words "there but for the GRACE of God go I".  And somehow despite all the darkness and fear that had followed me in, I found my way out.

Blog 9 - 2015TTIM

 

 

(#7) The Tree In Me - Sunday's Best

Posted by Kelly Gauthier on February 22, 2015 at 3:10 AM Comments comments (0)

FIGURING OUT A WAY THROUGH

The forest had somehow grown thicker.  The trees seemed to have multiplied leaving only a few openings from which to enter or exit from.  I found myself faced with a decision that I was not prepared to make.  Would I keep going or would I go back to where I came from? An unspeakable fear arose inside me when I thought about moving forward.  The uncertainty of where I would end up left me shaking.  However when I thought about going back to where I had come from the same fear arose inside me, only this time it was much stronger.  I knew I could never return to that life I had been living - what a contradiction of words it was.  If I was to find my true self then I could only do so by moving forward.  

I stood in front of that dark forest for quite sometime before I found the courage to enter it.  Everything was a blur.  Picturing myself already on the other side in a forest of lush green trees and blue sky was the only thing that got me through.  I held onto that image every step of the way.  And somehow despite all of the darkness and fear that had followed me in, I found my way out.

Blog 8 - 2015TTIM

(#6) The Tree In Me - Sunday's Best

Posted by Kelly Gauthier on February 16, 2015 at 6:05 AM Comments comments (0)

 

IT'S ALWAYS DARKEST BEFORE THE DAWN

Self-destruction is a hard truth to swallow.  Let's face it, passing blame is so much easier than catching responsibility.  So choosing to be a truthful me despite everyone else's expectations was only half the battle.  The other half came like the perfect storm.  Years of judgement, negativity, and self-blame aligned itself perfectly to create an unimaginable turn of events.  Drowning in the judgement of others is one thing, but drowning in self-deprecation was beyond words. The realization that I was the culprit of all the terrible things being said about myself was devastating.  How could one person dislike themselves so much that they would be willing to destroy their own self-worth?  It was the darkest of secrets I had ever kept, but one that I could keep no longer.  This was my dark forest to walk through, not theirs.  

Blog 7 - 2015TTIM

 

 

(#5) The Tree In Me - Sunday's Best

Posted by Kelly Gauthier on February 8, 2015 at 2:05 PM Comments comments (0)

 

THE DARK FOREST

I remember that forest very well.  I remember its unmistakable smell, its empty sound, and its unseen touch.  I lived in that forest for what seemed like forever.  I lived and breathed it.  It became a part of me.  In fact, it became all of me!  I found comfort in its emptiness and relief in its ability to make me feel invisible.  Here I didn't have to be the sturdy tree that held all the branches in place and gave life to new leaves.  I didn't have to be anything ... or anyone.  And so I stayed there in that empty forest feeling content to be invisible and unnecessary.  I now welcomed the stranger with no face that I had once feared.

At certain times in our lives I believe we need to feel invisible and unnecessary in order to survive.  To take it upon ourselves to walk away from all the pressures and worries of everyday life, and venture to a place where no one thing matters enough to cause you to be untrue.  I had always prided myself on being strong enough to know that fear had no place amongst the living.  However it took dying inside for me to realize that as truth.  I now face myself with open eyes and a warm embrace.  All that I am is a result of all that I have been.  I choose to be a truthful me regardless of everyone else's expectations.  That is their dark forest, not mine.

 

Blog 6 - 2015TTIM

 

 

 

(#4) The Tree In Me - Sunday's Best

Posted by Kelly Gauthier on February 1, 2015 at 8:25 AM Comments comments (0)

 

FEAR AND PANIC

It's terrifying to think just how strong fear can be.  How one single emotion can take over all the rest and render you helpless and alone.  You go along minding your own business and suddenly out from behind your life jumps this thug named fear that scares the shit out of you.  If it were a movie you could cover your eyes until the scene was over, but in real life the scene stays the same until you decide to change it.  And deciding is only half the battle! 

So now what?  Here I am stuck in this movie watching this horrifying scene that I don't want to be watching, but that I can't bring myself to stop watching because I'm too afraid to close my eyes.  If I close my eyes I have no control over what else I might see.  I know the images in my mind will be much worse than the scene I am watching, so I keep watching.   I don't move.  I don't breath.  I just watch.  I am trapped in this horrific life I use to call mine with a faceless stranger I use to call me.  A dark forest with no exit.  Fear was just too strong for me. 

 

Blog 5 - 2015TTIM

 

 

 

 

(#3) The Tree In Me - Sundays Best

Posted by Kelly Gauthier on January 25, 2015 at 3:00 AM Comments comments (0)

 

 

THE NOTHING THAT BECAME SOMETHING

 

The day I realized that nothing had become something was a day I will never forget.  The feelings that came over me in that moment were so big that I found myself unable to breath.  Full on heart pounding roaring panic took over as I desperately tried to take in some air.  "Breath Kel, breath!!!".  That's all I could hear myself saying.  "Breath, just breath damn it!!!".  Then through the waves of panic that were suffocating me, rose this voice of strength that came out of nowhere and found a way to calm the sea of fear.  So I breathed.  One breath and then another.  And before long I was breathing normally and everything else was gone.  All the feelings that had attached themselves to that realization had fallen away.  This image of one falling leaf replaced the fear and panic, and a moment of complete "ah" came over me.  I sat with that feeling as long as I could, soaking in its feathery lightness.  I loved that moment out of all moments.  I still do, and I bring it back to me whenever I feel fear or panic rising.  It's amazing to me how one single moment can mean so much.

 

So you're probably left wondering what the fear and panic was all about.  What was the nothing that I realized was something?  Have you ever reached a point in your life when everything you thought you were was nothing like the person you had become?  Well that was my realization!  I had spent my whole life accepting things about myself not because they were true, but because I had been told they were.  All this time I was living a lie.  I believed everyone else's truth over my own.  In moments of weakness I took the things that people had said about me and I adopted them as truth.  I became exactly what they wanted me to become.  And if that wasn't cause for fear and panic, then I don't know what is.

 

 

Blog 4 - 2015TTIM

 

 

(#2) The Tree In Me - Sundays Best

Posted by Kelly Gauthier on January 18, 2015 at 1:20 PM Comments comments (0)

 

THE EMPTINESS

I remember the day I took this photograph. I was focusing on the subject matter and getting ready to click the shutter button, when I felt this odd sense of connection to the tree.  It wasn't a good feeling at all, in fact it was a rather unnerving feeling. I chose to ignore it at the time, but later on when I was looking at the photograph again I remember thinking how cold and empty the tree appeared. There were just so many bare branches going in so many different directions that it made the emptiness of the photograph feel very overwhelming.  That's when I figured out what the connection was.  Yup ... this tree I had taken a picture of sadly represented my life.  Cold, empty and overwhelming.  No buds, no leaves, no colour, no movement.  Just a tree left to stand alone in it's own emptiness.  And in that moment, that's exactly how I felt. I tried my  hardest to outrun it, but for some reason the emptiness was faster than I was and always seemed to catch up with me.

So I did what was asked of me (by whom I am still unsure of) and I sat with the emptiness until I could sit no longer.  I turned it inside out, upside down, and front to back, and still I came up with nothing.  Which is ironic since the definition of emptiness is "the state of containing nothing".  So why was I looking to find something where there was nothing to be found?  I know it sounds crazy, but sitting with the overwhelming feeling of emptiness was one of the most fulfilling experiences of my life.  Nothing became the something that helped me change my life.   

 

Blog 3-2015 TTIM

 

 

(#1) The Tree In Me - Sundays Best

Posted by Kelly Gauthier on January 11, 2015 at 7:00 PM Comments comments (0)

 

THE BEGINNING

As a photographer and photo therapist it seemed fitting that I turned to my camera for direction on my road to self-discovery.  In truth, I've actually been turning to my camera for direction since I was 16.  I was never one for words and so my photographs helped fill in the silence.  They gave me the opportunity to share what I needed to share, but in a way that only I could understand their truth.  If I am to be honest, my camera became my salvation.  And now ... well now I would just be lost without it. 

Blog 2-2015-TTIM