I am, I am, I am.

In my own terms

I visited the exhibition after a mini meltdown, and it brought stillness and held space. The works presented in the exhibition were hauntingly intimate. It felt like they were enticing me to stranger depths, to liminal spaces, as if, as if leading me to a window sill. There on the window sill I saw the world as the participants saw, as captured unflinchingly honestly and courageously bluntly in rawness. In the world that has tried so hard to destroy me, and to get me to destroy myself, there is a place to hold my hand and quell my fears, there is a place and there is room within me to see this cruel world as it is — in my terms.

In my own terms

The world as it is/in my own terms. The participants in PhotoStory didn’t have a sudden gigantic epiphany about their conditions or themselves. Rather they found and held the power of lens and words and media to hold their own narrative, to tell the world how they see the world. The participants did not have to step out of themselves. They merely found space.

And through the terms they uncovered and the space they conquered, I found myself. The exhibition made me realise that catharsis is personal and that I can claim that catharsis. Catharsis is not explosive and miraculous, rather it is the slow erosion and letting go of a self and claiming the new world through the new lens set before me.

The lens is before me, and on that windowsill I can see the world as it is to me now. It is raining, my neighbours are on their evening walk, and I am, I am, I am.

— a place where thought / can take its shape / as quietly in the mind / as water in a pitcher / or a man

can be safely without thought / — see the day begin / and lean back, / a simple wakefulness filling /

perfectly / the spaces among the leaves.

The Thought of Something Else / Wendell Berry

If the sun is shining, stand in it — yes, yes, yes.

Jeanette Winterson

Authored by: Valerie Eng. Valerie fights for the deconstruction and reformation of the mental health system in Singapore. Aside from reading, writing, and studying, they enjoy playing wheelchair tennis in their free time.

We thank our blog contributors and applaud their strength in finding the words to share their lived experience, not only as part of the personal recovery journey but to inspire and bring hope to others who might be facing mental health challenges.

PhotoStory: From Darkness to Light exhibition ended a successful physical 1st run with over 1,100 visitors at Raffles City. While the exhibition and fundraising efforts continue online, the second run of the physical exhibition will take place from 5 to 18 March 2021 at Plaza Singapura. Visit www.resilience.org.sg/photostory for more.

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