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Photo taken by contributor Craig A. Miller, a 37-year-old author, speaker, photographer, and suicide attempt survivor from Boston. For many years he struggled with OCD, extreme anxiety, depression, and suicidal thoughts. After a suicide attempt nearly ended his life at age 20, he became dedicated to understanding what led him to such a decision, and more importantly how he could gain control of himself and his life to ensure it would never happen again. He published a book in 2012 titled, This is How it Feels: a memoir of attempting suicide and finding life. He is a member of The Massachusetts Coalition for Suicide Prevention and regularly speaks everywhere from libraries to state conferences sharing his story and the steps he took to move forward.
About this photo: “A friend of mine once confessed to me that bullying was the motivation behind her suicide attempt. She said, ‘What hurt so badly was that everything they said was wrong with me was exactly the way I already felt about myself.’
Growing up as a victim of bullying as well, I deeply identify with her. It took me years to quiet the negative words that repeated in my mind every time I reflected on who I was. But today I have reached a place within me where I can say with confidence and conviction that I love who I am. I care about my own feelings just as I do for those I love. What I’ve learned in this process is that our voice is the only one that matters. There is nothing anyone can say to us that can hurt us as badly as we can hurt ourselves. We control how we feel, how we see, and how we allow our perception to be influenced.
This photo is of a pure, white mask reflecting in water. The mask stood steady in a shining, bright light while droplets of water splashed into the reflection below. I watched almost meditatively as the droplets controlled the image in the reflection. They warped it. They distorted it. And, in some cases, they made it completely unrecognizable. But no matter how many times I let the drops fall and no matter how distorted the reflection became, the mask itself remained unchanged- still beautiful and steady in its shining, bright light.
The water may fall. The reflection may become distorted at times. And the image we see may appear as though it is broken. But the truth is our image can only truly be affected from the inside. There is nothing more powerful and more influential than our own voice and our own perception. Love who you are. Always.“