46. Portraits

A long time ago, I started taking photographs.

I started taking photographs of the gowns I wore –  the pills I took.

I started taking photographs of pain.

At first I thought it was a weird, pop culture, selfie compulsion… but I wasn’t sharing these photos.  They never touched a twitter or a tumblr.  They never left my phone.

For months this went on, needle after needle, table after table, crumpled white medical paper and a camera phone.

When he left, I cried and told my mother I finally figured out why I was taking these pictures.  I don’t look sick.  I look like a normal girl.  And in trying to be happy, in trying to be normal, I look from the outside like nothing is wrong, or if there is something wrong, it can’t possibly be too bad.

Somewhere deep inside, afraid that no one believes me, I have been documenting my descent… can anybody hear me?

Last week a friend told me he had been suffering from Crohn’s disease for over a year.  It took them that long to diagnose it, and silently, secretly he suffered.  I wanted to tell him that I understood, that I truly understood, but how can you?  Then I realized that in the midst of my completely inward terror, I had, somehow, created a tiny bit of good to give.


Better than a billion of my stupid, useless words – portraits.