Healing in January

Healing Photo by Perla Farias

Healing
Photo by Perla Farias

January is a special month for me. And this January was no different, except that this time, an earthquake hit my body and shook my soul.

It’s the month I get to celebrate my life, which usually entails some tender, love and care; the month when I get to reflect on my growth; the month when I feel like I can get a fresh start given it’s the first month back from a usually cold winter break.

But this time around, it was a sunny and warm one for me.

Backyard Glow Photo by Perla Farias

Backyard Glow
Photo by Perla Farias

I was blessed and privileged with the opportunity to visit my grandparents’ home in Mexico. A second home filled with childhood memories situated in a rural area with no internet access and very little phone service if any: La Mesa, Jalisco, Mexico. My siblings and I felt paralyzed away from the social networking world. Yet here we were in a literally off-the-grid place with its funny name for a small ranchito.

Exhausted Self Photo by Perla Farias

Exhausted Self
Photo by Perla Farias

The nice thing about going back to a place that resonates well in our hearts and our minds is being able to notice the growth we’ve made since the last time we’d been there.

Tan Bella Photo by Perla Farias

Tan Bella
Photo by Perla Farias

It was five years since I had stood on top of La Mesa, the table, but that’s where I was able to to do some self-healing by reminiscing on my childhood and adolescence.

Beauty of experiencing nature Photo by Perla Farias

Beauty of experiencing nature
Photo by Perla Farias

I arrived with a bag full of emotions carrying over from the fall semester.

Broken Photo by Perla Farias

Broken
Photo by Perla Farias

Everything I touch dies. Photo by Perla Farias

Everything I touch dies.
Photo by Perla Farias

With myriad concepts going on in my head, I found inspiration to root and produce my photography. There were so many emotions and thoughts flowing through me weeks before that I started to conceptualize images in my mind that reflected most of what I was going through such as hoping for an out of body experience because of the overwhelming emotions I did not want to deal with, which I was able to portray through the following photo.

Out of body experience.  Photo by Perla Farias

Out of body experience.
Photo by Perla Farias

Being able to reflect my inner struggle onto my photography was so therapeutic for me, allowing me to leave a different mark on this other place I call home.

The smokey mirror. Photo by Perla Farias

The smokey mirror.
Photo by Perla Farias

Morning Greeting. Photo by Perla Farias

Morning Greeting.
Photo by Perla Farias

 

Somewhat anxious to go back to my mad schedule, the sadness of returning still crept into me, making coming back to my reality arduous.

Back to Infrastructure. Photo by Perla Farias

Back to Infrastructure.
Photo by Perla Farias

School and work, but mostly school, takes over my life. It leaves  me with little room to breathe.

Determined. Photo by Perla Farias

Determined.
Photo by Perla Farias

And the change of going from a slow paced, disconnected, safe haven to a fast paced, extremely connected environment with the Internet, literally, at the tips of my fingers with my iPhone, overwhelmed me to the point of magnifying my stress, sending my body  into some sort of shock.

Just the beginning. Photo by Perla Farias

Just the beginning.
Photo by Perla Farias

Up until a few nights ago, my body — my soul — was still in shock.

Feeling. Photo by Perla Farias

Feeling.
Photo by Perla Farias

When we don’t take care of ourselves mentally and emotionally our bodies will break down physically. Mine certainly did.

Pain. Photo by Perla Farias

Pain.
Photo by Perla Farias

I almost neglected what I was going through by keeping myself busy while my body fell ill with a kidney infection leading to an almost unbearable 105 degree fever. From passing out at least once every day for three days to vomiting, feeling dizzy and getting the chills that made me feel like my body was giving up.

The beginning of crisis. Photo by Perla Farias

The beginning of crisis.
Photo by Perla Farias

Frustration and disappointment  hit me during recovery as I fell behind in school when it was only the beginning. But these emotions led me to question why I put forth anything else before my health.

El Ojo. Photo by Perla Farias

El Ojo.
Photo by Perla Farias

Overwhelmed.  Photo by Perla Farias

Overwhelmed.
Photo by Perla Farias

Obviously school is important, but not if I’m dying. I think this is such a common thing for us students to do, and this infection truly helped me realize how important it is to listen to our bodies and to listen to what’s going on in our minds and in our hearts.

Thankful for life. Photo by Perla Farias

Thankful for life.
Photo by Perla Farias

My birthday fell right along my recovering days, and it was all so symbolic for me. I literally felt like I got the opportunity to celebrate my life.

Release and refresh. Photo by Perla Farias

Release and refresh.
Photo by Perla Farias

I went from being in what felt like my death bed to finally getting the strength to walk around, have dinner with some loving friends and feel alive.

Feeling better despite the demands. Photo by Perla Farias

Feeling better despite the demands.
Photo by Perla Farias

 

Reach the photographer at pfarias@asu.edu or via Twitter @farias_perla. The self-portraits are a part of a 365 self portrait project Farias is working on.