You Celebrate My Growth . . .

Amber is a friend of mine who is going through a long breakup with a man she had been seeing for many years. She obviously cares deeply about him and is going through a period of mourning.

As I painted the words on her body we discussed what they meant to her. She explained, as tears ran down her cheeks and dripped onto her chest, that he was the first person whom she felt really got her on her many levels. That he was the first person who not only cared about her growth but also about helping her explore and start naming her darker side.

It was a powerful experience to be with someone who clearly loves someone else yet has decided not to be with them. Amber was pained but this exercise of putting words around why she loved him will hopefully provide some catharsis. She also recognizes that this reason why she loves him is also a reason why she loves herself. It seems that through her relationship she learned what things she needs (celebrating growth, embracing darkness) and can now provide them for herself. I appreciated her ability to open up and let me and my camera in to the darker space she was experiencing. The interesting thing is that with the colorful streamers and jellybeans the image feels like a celebration. But in talking with her I learned that the jellybeans represent unmet little girl needs. So this image that appears to be a celebration is also a sad thing addressing old wounds salved through a relationship that has passed.