The Cosmos Series
The Cosmos Series is a visual representation of the effort to rewire my brain after traumatic experiences. The vines represent the thought pathways and signals, and the pink blooms represent the final thought or decision. The angular leaves are dead end thoughts, and you decide what the buds represent.
Through my journey of learning about PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) to battle the effects of trauma, I’ve learned that it is possible to have positive outcomes regardless of our negative history. I started to visualize my brain building bridges (brain matter) to new experiences, or imagining the complex grid of neurons and dendrites sparking new thoughts and patterns like the cosmos of the universe, and the shooting stars within. All in an effort to give me and those around me moments of peace, acceptance, and hope.
This series started two years ago while living in Snohomish, WA. I threw out a mixed seed package along our front pathway in an effort to make a rental feel more like a home and provide a nurturing presence. I wasn't even sure what was in that packet, but soon Cosmos took center stage and they absolutely flourished in the southern facing sun. I didn’t know it then but this was the beginning of my journey to rewire my brain.
We moved into “the big house” as we called it in desperation. Danny had been born 12 weeks premature and among other things he was diagnosed with Chronic Lung Disease. He had been unable to wean off oxygen for almost a year. When we discovered black mold in the little house we were living in, we scrambled to get out of there as fast as we could. This new big house was beautiful and clean, and we hoped we would find healing there both physically and emotionally. I was not yet aware of the mental work ahead of me.
It was a beautiful, sunny afternoon when I asked Erin to hold up a white piece of fabric behind the flowers, and I set my camera’s settings to a very fine focus. I let myself get lost in the abstract nature of the stems and leaves, which were angular and sharp and seemed to have no consistent direction or intention. I followed the lines, dancing in and out of clarity, and marveled at bursts of the most lovely pink. I was drawn to the chaotic yet elegant flow, and allowed some elements of the image to be crystal clear and some to be blurry. My soul was happy exploring this little universe.
As I look at these photos 2 years later, I not only see the beginning of rewiring my thoughts, but I see symbolism in Erin holding up my backdrop. The person who is helping me through my process, the person behind the curtain (literally) . Remembering that his process is different from mine, and reminding myself that I need to hold space for him, too. We all need to hold space for one another.
Then I see Danny peek from behind the curtain through my lens. His wide curious eyes wondering what I am doing. Always wondering what I am doing. I wonder what he sees? How is he processing all of this? This is our journey and figuring out how to navigate it is not easy. But we will keep trying. We will continue to build and rebuild.
This series continues on with my mission to inspire you the viewer to see the good where there is bad, hope where there is struggle, see the light in the dark, and to make the choice to think up a different outcome when remembering your own trauma. I hope you will join me in the challenge to think of a light filled thought, because sometimes it is indeed a challenge to find that positive glimmer in a sea of darkness. I also hope that looking at a piece from The Cosmo Series will help you do just that.