In hindsight, this was actually a very interesting project, which is interesting to me because I had no desire to do it at first. I'm one of those people who thinks "Just give me a paper to write!". Despite being a creative type, abstract ideas and creative projects have never been my strong suit. They tend to be structured enough to take the fun out of creativity, and abstract enough to be difficult to create. This project, however, was fun for me and allowed me to express a part of me that is difficult to express often times.
At first, I had planned to do a very indignant photo essay on the misconceptions about millenials (my generation) by the media and earlier generations. I soon realized that, despite my passion for this topic, I had no idea what the hell that meant in terms of a photo essay. So I decided to go with my back up plan which was the anxiety of college. It included things like "lack of sleep" and "increased caffeine intake". I concluded that this was boring, but, it was the best idea I had so I went with it. It wasn't until I heard from my 8 year old sister, who was having a meltdown at school, that I realized what I wanted to do with this project.
As for some background, my sister has a form of anxiety called Sensory Processing Disorder. This means that a lot of stimuli, things that would be mildly upsetting if at all to other people, such as a loud pattern or a crowded party, are extremely upsetting to her. When she was very young, things as small as spilling her milk at the dinner table would cause her extreme panic attacks. Even now that we know and we can help her control it, and despite the incredible strides shes made in dealing with it (as an 8 year old, none the less!) people's reactions to her meltdowns and her lashing out are still "she's choosing to do this" and "she just needs stricter rules and harsher punishments for her actions". As not only her sister, but someone who also has anxiety and sees her struggle every day, I can assure you, she is not choosing this. It's very difficult for her, and hard on us as her family to see people who just don't, and often times refuse to understand. So, Sophia, thank you for inspiring me to teach people about our struggles.
Once I decided to talk about the struggles of anxiety it was mostly smooth sailing. I rewrote my narrative a few times before deciding I needed to tell Sophia's story to really convey my message. Another issue I ran into was how to portray some of the things I was discussing. I don't feel like I accurately portrayed panic attacks. How does one portray the feeling of drowning, the immobility and the inability to breathe, mixed with overwhelming feelings of guilt and fear? I did what I could with what I had, but I don't feel I did enough. Same with how to portray the impact of "small stuff". My friend and model, Nicole, inspired that one, actually. The day previous to us taking pictures she called me over to her room, crying and panicking because she couldn't find one of those stupid, rubber band, rainbow loom bracelets her boyfriend had made her. To a lot of people this would be disappointing but not panic worthy. (Not to worry, her roommate found it not long after.)
Overall, I enjoyed this project. I felt like I really got to express something about me that I generally try to hid and that was important to me. I hope people get the message I attempted to put into it.