“When I was seventeen, I told someone that “things don’t have to change”. Oh, how wrong I was. You would think that, nearly five years later, one would realise this, even momentarily. Perhaps I did. After all, “time heals all wounds” as the famous aphorism goes. But the skin where the wound was may be more vulnerable than the skin on the rest of your body. One day, you might just scrape over it again, scrape over it with an even bigger gash. And so the time it will take to heal will be much longer. It will be more tedious. Plagued by your obsessive neurosis, you’ll scratch the wound. You’ll pick its scab until your flesh breathes the polluted air. You’ll find yourself in this vicious cycle until your wound becomes a scar.
This is what memory does to the ego. We live for the little moments. But the very fact that we do often means that we get stuck living in them. These memories are painful, harrowing. They run deep. But then again, how can we blame ourselves? These memories are also precious. They are ecstatic, rapturous. They give richness to our lives. It was Alan Watts who said that “if we are to have intense pleasures, we must also be liable to intense pains. The pleasure we love, and the pain we hate, but it seems impossible to have the former without the latter.” This could not be truer.
My boyfriend took this photo with his Polaroid camera on a spring afternoon in Denmark. It was also the day I turned twenty-two. I didn’t have many images of me when I was twenty-one — it was a depressing year — so to have one of yourself during the purgatory between two ages is special.
This photograph is a tale of two times. It’s a portrait of my life lived and my life living; a testament of the flesh, body and soul that has endured and is enduring. It’s my visual reminder how fresh life can feel just when you thought everything has died. You know, like being surrounded by ferns in spring.”