— “What It Looks Like” is an ongoing photographic exploration into the stories of individuals who have experienced depression, anxiety, grief, mood disorders, or any other mental illness. This project aims to share awareness, end stigma, and create dialogue and open communication around mental health. Instead of asking what it feels like, I’ve asked each person ‘What does it look like?’ —
“Grief for me looks like a gentle, still place where I can stay sunken into its embrace. Maybe some would say it’s not good to wallow in pain but it’s different for me… it’s not so much succumbing to darkness as only taking deep breaths and letting it envelope me loosely.”
I’ve known Lulu Lovering for several years, our photographer circle is ever growing and she was one that suddenly appeared like a firework, filled with laugher and love and messages all at the right time. Lulu and I are similar in the sense that we are feelers, we feel things deeply and because of this I think it’s one of the many reasons why I feel so connected to her. I’ve laughed with Lu, cried with Lu, been amazed at her stunning photography and modelling and humbled by her kindness and generosity toward her friends.
Recently Lulu experienced a loss that no person should experience. Through her journey, her experience through grief and healing and living she has been incredibly strong and open in a series of instagram posts. Her honesty has touched and moved people from around the world and her writings have laid bare the pain of loss, the swining pendulum that grief is, and the daily steps toward healing a hurting heart.
The writings that I’ve included in this post are quotes from her Instagram posts, they say more than I ever could.
Please follow Lulu’s work at https://www.instagram.com/lulubeeisme/ or www.lululovering.com and consider supporting Ben McKinnon’s memory by donating to PureArt foundation https://pureartfoundation.org/cause/in-memory-of-ben/
What It Looks Like – Grief
“Grief to me looks like a heavy pool of water that wants to pull me underneath it”
“I have to focus on only one breath at a time. One step back out into the Earth.
I’m not the same as I was before, my very soul has changed. And once I wanted nothing more than to pile all of life’s troubles into my arms and rock them into sweetness, but I don’t have that strength now.
I have to stand guard over myself so that my heart can keep beating. There are questions I can’t answer and problems I can’t solve and so many things I will never understand or know.
Sometimes love is on the march and sometimes it’s a deep blue holding place where surrender happens.
I don’t know how long I will be there but maybe this is what healing wants to do with me.
A slow and steady dance across the sky.”
“I am so determined to eventually shed all this crushing darkness one layer at a time.
My love deserves so much more than to watch me succumb to every heavy and suffocating emotion.
But my light isn’t delicate and sweet anymore. It’s as my Ben said- the swing of a sword that cuts the darkness in half.”
What It Looks Like – Better
“When I’m feeling better it feels like the light is back, that the sun is shining and I can see the bright parts in life again, it feels electric”
My name, Lucinda, means ‘a beam of light’.
“And the morning brings a kind of determination, a sweet and delicate hope. The weight of grief is like an electric circuit around my wrist, I feel it always. But I’m learning how to pay attention again to other things. To other people. To myself, finally, dear old shaken up thing that I am.
I’m learning how to be a person who has been dealt a very specific crippling blow. And I’m learning how to lie down and heal and then how to get up and limp around a little and even how to wink at the darkness that pretends it won any measure of victory at all.
I’m still here. And I intend to do something special about it.”
“I love real hard my darlings. If you really set me loose I’d love even harder. If I could get my spirit truly free I’d be out everyday saving baby birds and kissing the hands of the people begging at the intersections.
My only duties would be embraces and silly accents for cheering up with and reassurances.
I don’t always remember who I really am or even understand it. I find myself just as strange and peculiarly mysterious as anyone else does.
But who I REALLY am wakes up when I can love. When I can shelter or protect or make beautiful and better.
I didn’t come here to be a photographer or a writer I’m certain. I came to overflow. To gush adoration.”