"I hated this photo. I hated this moment. I remember it so vividly. Before this photo was taken my friend asked me to do something that at first seemed so trivial and yet it was so much harder than I could have imagined.
I had asked him to help me remember this time in my life. I had asked him to help me process what I had just been through. I asked him to take photos of me, so I could no longer deny the reality of what was.
Here we were, standing in an abandoned home, surrounded by dust and decay and walls with memories long forgotten--now absorbing the weight of the story I had to tell about my experience. As he prepared for the next series of shots, my friend asked me to do one simple task: he asked me to point.
Point to every bruise on my aching body.
He asked me to show him where it hurt.
Oh, if only I could have torn the flesh from my very bones and laid my heart out on the floor instead. The hurt was everywhere. The surface of this pain was so insignificant in comparison to the true depths of my heartache that it almost felt insulting to point at the surface of my skin. But how does one point to their very soul?
So I stood there and pointed to a jaw, to a chest, to a neck, to an arm--none of which felt like they were attached to me anymore, at least not to the me I'd once known. I immediately felt the pain well up inside me. I felt it fill me to the brim as tears began to swell in my eyes and I remember thinking, "stop", "don't do this", "you're hurting him"--"him" being my ex, being the man I loved, being the man I'd left, the man whose heart I'd broken, the man whose child I'd given up, the man who couldn't contain the storms of his heart to the point that he nearly drowned us both in his rage and despair.
The man who left his mark.
My friend asked me to show him exactly what I had asked him to help me show myself, and instantly I felt that wall go up. Instantly my head and heart and adrenaline were all screaming for me to continue to ignore the truth.
But the truth was written all over my body, whether I wanted to see it or not.
And so, through tears of sorrow I stripped myself bare and I pointed."
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