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.
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.
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.
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.
I arrived with a bag full of emotions carrying over from the fall semester.
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.
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.
Somewhat anxious to go back to my mad schedule, the sadness of returning still crept into me, making coming back to my reality arduous.
School and work, but mostly school, takes over my life. It leaves me with little room to breathe.
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.
Up until a few nights ago, my body — my soul — was still in shock.
When we don’t take care of ourselves mentally and emotionally our bodies will break down physically. Mine certainly did.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Reach the photographer at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter @farias_perla. The self-portraits are a part of a 365 self portrait project Farias is working on.