7/24/2016

74

‘I started to become aware of myself and my emotions after my mom died. She was six months out of getting her nursing degree that she had worked on for eight years. My dad is in the military and we have to move to another country or state every three to five years. We ended up moving to Korea and my mom had to stay here to finish college. She couldn’t handle us being gone for so long and she asked my dad to join us but he couldn’t afford the plane tickets and she ended up killing herself. She was hearing and seeing things. We came home for the funeral and then went back to Korea and then came back here again. My sister also tried to kill herself…she overdosed and ended up in the hospital at the University Neuropsychiatric Institute…it’s kind of like a mental hospital. She was there for a few days and she came home. My dad remarried and it upset my sister. Even now, she’s really fragile. I’ve been staying with her for a while and it’s hard sometimes. The bottom line, though, is that I want to be a nurse like my mom was going to be. I want to feel better about myself by helping other people. I want to help people because I know what pain is and I don’t want to see anyone in pain…and I might not know that if I hadn’t gone through all that I’ve gone through and I’m just fourteen.’

7/22/2016

76

‘I’ve been married for a year. My husband is the kindest soul I’ve ever known. He does the small and little things that might not mean much by themselves, but when you put them together, they add up. He takes the pressure out of my life and I think of him as a safety net. I think, when you’re alone, you don’t really have an emotional safety net and, I think, being able to talk to someone at the end of the day, even about the smallest things that happened at work…they might not be important, but it’s nice to have someone who knows what you’re going through. Marriage is a lot harder than people talk about. Learning to let a person into your life is something I’ve been doing. You might not think about that when you’re dating, but letting that person see you at your worst and at your best…and being able to be open and honest with them about your life…makes it worth it.’

7/19/2016

‘I’ve recently become vegan. That, to me, is not only better for my own health but also for the environment. I’ve discovered that it’s more beneficial not to consume meat products. It’s not about just a health and an environmental perspective, it’s also about an economic perspective. The funny part is that it’s easier not to be vegan than it is to be vegan and, of course, some meats are cheap. Looking for what you need in a vegan diet is also a challenge, but it’s worth it. On a personal level, I feel like I don’t need to try to change anyone else, but it’s right for me. It really came down to what I believe is right for me. When it comes to making any decision for yourself, you have to forget what you’ve been told by others, question what you believe, and ask yourself, ‘what is the best possibility for me?’ and then go find it…go create it and make it happen.’

1-111

7/18/2016

78

‘I have bipolar disorder. I’ve been dealing with it since I was nine years old. I take medication and I go to therapy. We’re not really sure what happened to cause it…we think something happened but it was so long ago, I don’t really remember. I go from one emotional extreme to the other…I get really crazy when I’m up and I start to do strange things like talking to strangers or going shopping and spending a lot of money. When I’m really depressed, I can’t even get out of bed…I can’t even take a shower, I’m so down. I usually just lay on the couch and try to get out of my head and that happens a lot.

People need to know that trying to be understanding of people with this illness is so important. We fight every day and knowing that people can try to be more understanding is a big help. There are classes to help get educated on how to deal with a bipolar child or even an adult. My parents didn’t know how to deal with me and my challenges until they went to these classes and got educated. They were very supportive…my parents had me in hospitals and psychiatric wards and did everything they could to help me. One time, when I was sixteen, I hitchhiked to California. They were terrified while I was gone. But I came home. The good news is that I’m still a survivor…I still fight every day. I’m still a person with a good heart. I try to deal with my disorder in the best way I can and I’m still kicking.’

7/17/2016

‘I’ve been thinking really positively, lately. Something clicked and I realized that I needed to start getting out more and doing more. I got an apartment two days ago. Things are just going my way and it’s nice. If I have an opportunity to do something new, even if it’s outside of my comfort zone, I try not to turn it down…you never know who you’re going to meet or who you’re going to run into. I love meeting new people and seeing people doing positive things. It’s a shame that people can get stuck in their lives doing their routines and they don’t think about it. They just get stuck in that mindset and they’re happy with it but it’s because they don’t explore and they don’t know what’s out there. I broke my routine and everything’s been good because of it. I’ve found out that people are a lot nicer than you think, especially if you give them a chance and you’ll never realize that until you do it.’

79

7/16/2016

80

Dear Salt Lakers,

I photographed this man about two years ago over at the Gateway when he was homeless and panhandling. I run into him every once in a while and I thought it would be fun to give an update:

”I’ve got my own apartment now and I’m doing great. Haven’t had a drink in three years and I’m studying Jesus. In fact, I wrote a song about Him:

It’s come to the Lord and the Lord comes to me.
I open my mind, my heart, my soul.
There is a spirit in me.
I shine my light on everyone I see.
I love the earth but it’s a heaven in me.
I love the earth but it’s a heaven in me.
The Savior’s grace is free to me.
The Savior’s grace is free to me.
It’s my journey, my destiny.
I’ll love the Lord for eternity.
This world doesn’t have a hold on me.
It’s my spirit, wild and free.
I love my life God gave to me.
I love my life God gave to me.
The Savior’s grace is free to me.
It’s my journey, my destiny.
I love the earth but it’s a heaven in me.
I love the earth but it’s a heaven in me.
My Lord Jesus has set us free.
My Lord Jesus has set us free.
My Lord Jesus, my Lord Jesus, my Lord Jesus has set us free.
Set us free, He set us free.
My Lord Jesus has set us free.

A big, bad voodoo lady tried to put a hex on me, but I told her, ‘hey, I got Jesus. You can’t do better than that.”