Facing Fears in Photographs
I recently had an epiphanic moment. I have never been to a psychic or had my tarot cards read. I am a Filipino-American immigrant, which I only mention because in some sense it makes me slightly skeptical of anything that could be deemed "hippie" by ex "punk" friends, given I have been raised with literal Catholic values by parents who value working towards a practical lifestyle with a safe home, and a moderate amount of material success. And they're good people so I take all of their values to heart, but let's just say, I probably would have had this experience a little younger, had I been raised differently.
It began when a friend of mine, Chrissy Angliker, had been in a group art show in which all of the artists had seen a medium and created visual art based on that experience. Since she had such an informative and life-alterin exchange, I decided I wanted to see this medium myself.
So I made an appointment and kept my mind open, and well... it's a trippy thing. You speak to a stranger in his apartment while he relays what the spirits are telling him about you. He flips through an invisible book called the Akashic records, and tells you about your general energy, the energy of anyone who you want to know about, and tells you what angels show up (or don't show up) for you. I mean, this shit could be considered bananas by a lot of people.
But what he said all rang very true. I cried through a lot of it (which I am prone to do.) The moment I sat down, he said that he saw four layers of protection around me, that someone had taught me how to deflect other people away from me to self preserve and that in learning to do that in such a hardcore way, I had also disconnected from many good things, too .
I have waited on people in the food service industry since I was sixteen years-old (half of my life.) I used to smile from when I woke up until when I went to bed with some crying in between. I would talk to anyone and help anyone. I had sort of a filterless emotional, but authentic and meaningful existence.
As I stayed in New York (from 2001- to today), I was exposed to a lot of people my sensitivity couldn't process. Rudeness, self-centeredness, and emotionless exchanges were intensely personal and hurtful to my being. And over time, I grew a tougher skin. I delayed reactions to negative people, learned how to block what some people call "energy vampires," and learned basic disconnection skills, so I could have some of myself left.
It wasn't until I saw this medium that I realized I had disconnected so deeply that even the things that brought me joy were no longer being processed, (and learning to operate in that mode was a necessary and important lesson in and of itself.)
A lot more happened and I sat with the medium three more times over the course of the year (one time at my house to cleanse it of what were apparently, an entire gang of spirits), but three main things stuck with me:
1. He said, instead of having the presence that you are always ten steps ahead of everyone, why don't you project the archetype of a Disney Princess. That's a much more suitable energy for you.
2. "When you were young you won many awards. You didn't do that for yourself and you don't know what it feels like to do something and just be happy for yourself that you did it."
3. "You are so afraid to be a bull in a china shop and you are so far away from it, it's almost funny. Try breaking a few dishes and doing what you want for a few weeks and see what happens."
For whatever reason, this unfolded into me going dancing all the time just to dance, wearing even crazier sh*t than I was already wearing, and most importantly, trying to come head-to-head with the illusion of fear, shame and embarrassment.
This photoshoot is about facing some of my fears: getting my photograph taken, showing people my body as it is, rollerskating, trying something I am unpracticed at in public, and of course, being laughed at.
I was lucky enough t have my best bro Mike O'Shea help me document the facing of my fears with beautiful photography. We have worked together doing fashion and cultural editorials for years, and this work is my favorite, the most fun, and it was the easiest to make.
Right now I am trying to follow the fun, and stop seeking the approval of everyone around me in order to have meaning. I hope you can share in this trip with me... It's very trippy indeed.