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Photo taken by contributor Cla-c, a 45-year-old wife and mother of four who was diagnosed with Cyclothymia a year ago. She has battled severe depression, paranoia, and fearfulness throughout her life, and has always felt like an outcast. After she lost a much loved cousin to suicide, she knew she had to face her demons. Growing up in Africa in the 70’s and 80’s, going to a therapist was not part of the culture. Instead of dealing with her feelings and shame related to childhood trauma, she merely existed. She never felt like she had a voice, something that she struggles with even today. Her sensitivity has at times led her to isolate, which is especially challenging as a portrait photographer. She has come to both fear and love people at the same time. Today, she has a small but amazing support system. She dreams of having a cabin in the woods with the butterflies.
About this photo:
“I used to wear my mascara tears like jewelry, like a crown.
I was so proud of them, I wore them daily, nightly, weekly.
Now, I can’t remember how to cry anymore.
I haven’t cried for the longest time.
Have I forgotten …Or have I forgiven.
Took me so long to forgive…
I am free now, free from their clutches, free from my tears.”