Welcome to my therapy journal. I write in here everyday to process all the crazy thoughts swirling around in my head, to try and slow them down for a minute so I can breathe. It’s the journal of a 21 year old woman, living in NYC, fucking around, finding myself, and trying to have a little fun.
I can’t photograph the inside of my mind, so I let the emotions take over and just shoot. If I stop to think, I’ll never be able to keep going. When I shoot self-portraits, I get closer and closer to finding “myself,” but I haven’t found a single truth -- I am many things at once. I’m depressed and happy and horny and not in the mood and angry and hate life and love life so much and sometimes I have good days or hours or minutes and sometimes I want to evaporate into dust.
I took a year off school to work on my mental health, and everyone looked at my Instagram and wrote shit like: “omg gorgeous!” “love it” “looks like so much fun!!” (it was not fun). I hate Instagram, and it makes me hate myself.
Fuck them. I won’t perform for anyone’s pleasure -- I’m taking mine back. I want to cum first, demand what I want, I won’t shave my body hair or starve to be skinny or satisfy the male gaze. I want to love and be loved, and I need to be known deeply, in the lowest moments I hide in the dark and the triumphs I show to the world.
I’m doing better now, after LOTS of therapy (I’ll probably try to tell you to go to therapy, I love that shit -- it saved me), but everyday is a fight. Against the anxiety and depression, against the voices in my head and the ones outside it screaming YOU’RE NOT ENOUGH.
Everyday, I answer:
I AM I AM I AM
Emily Sieler is a photography-based artist living in New York City. She is currently studying Visual Arts and Computer Science at Columbia University.
I spend way too much time thinking about mental health, self, and identity in the increasingly image-saturated digital world. I document my personal experience as an antidote to the curation of self encouraged by social media. I want to make psychically charged photos, so others can feel what I feel.