One Shot | Lorde

I was just putzing around and looking through my files when I realized I never posted one of my favorite shots from 2014! Last March, Fel and I went to see Lorde play one of the last shows the Roseland Ballroom would ever see. We had a crappy spot off to the side of the stage, but I still managed to get this one frame. Later, we went to the back of the venue and danced our fool heads off. It was a good night.

Lorde at Roseland Ballroom, NYC

One Shot | International Rose Test Garden

Just a quick shot from last summer when we visited the International Rose Test Garden in Portland. I’ve never seen anything like it. Every kind of rose you could imagine—and a ton you could never imagine, too!

Bison!

While we were in Colorado, our friend Sally Spencer-Thomas (of the Carson J. Spencer Foundation) was kind enough to take us up to her cabin in Grand Lake, where there are—purportedly—a ton of moose, which we did not see. We had to get up before dawn to drive back into Denver to catch our flights, though, and did end up getting the tiniest glimpse of three moose in the distance, as well as THESE bad boys! Nature!

Elevating the Conversation in Denver (and a few other things)

Hello, hello!

Last Friday, I was incredibly lucky to present as part of a panel of attempt survivors (with Craig Miller and Eduardo Vega) at the third annual Elevating the Conversation conference in Denver, CO. It was—and always is, when it happens—amazing to talk about my experiences and my work in a way that has the potential to influence future service providers to treat those of us who struggle with suicidal thoughts with a bit more compassion than we’ve historically been shown. I was also able to meet and photograph three incredible survivors from the Denver area. I can’t wait to share their stories with you guys (but it’s gonna be awhile before it happens). To top it all off, Doug and Kurt, from The S Word team, flew out and we did some filming! I’m really terrible in front of a camera—unless I can manage to forget it’s there—and, luckily, they’re very patient with me.

We closed the day out with a poem performed by Craig, and a slideshow of 75 of the portraits I’ve made for the project set to the LTT theme song, “Redeemed,” by Charlotte Martin. It was apowerful day, and those last few moments really took it up to 11. When I got off the stage, I was all teary-eyed and shaky—but in a good way.

There’s been some really nice press coverage of late:

All of these were really refreshing after a time suck of a courtship by a huge national magazinethat ended in me turning down the feature because they continually pushed me to share information I wasn’t comfortable sharing. It was a painful experience that left me feeling emotionally manipulated and bullied in a way that seems wholly unique to large press outlets. I’ve felt it every single time I’ve dealt with one, and this was my third experience.

A big part of my mission these days is to change the focus of our conversations about suicide. I don’t want to talk gory details, I want to talk about how these experiences affect us and what helps. While exposure for the project is always nice, I decided it wasn’t worth compromising my principles again. Per the reporter, the editors would still like to run the piece—but only if I give them what they want, information which is in direct violation of the Recommendations for Reporting on Suicide (a good resource for all you bloggers and journalists out there). I’d much rather they made the choice to cover this story appropriately, as they claim to want to, but I’d also like to someday pay off my student loans—neither seems likely. I plan on writing more about this later, once I’ve done a little more processing.

In other news, I’ll be speaking at the University of Kentucky in Lexington next Thursday afternoon from 5:30-7:30. It’s free to the public, so if you’re in the area, come on down.

In April, I’ll be collecting stories and presenting at the American Association of Suicidology annual conference in Atlanta, as well as the National Council for Behavioral Health conference in Orlando, next month. I’ll make one last stop in Toronto in May to present at the American Psychiatric Association conference, and then I’m taking the summer off to go on my HONEYMOON!

Thanks again for supporting the project. When I started four and a half years ago, I never thought that I’d have built such an incredible community of survivors and advocates, or that I’d find myself collaborating directly with the professionals, and I’m so grateful for the opportunity. There’s still so much to do, but we’ve made a great leap in this past year, and I’m excited to see what happens next!

It’s 2015! Here’s an Update:

Turns out, I’ve been doing less photographing of things lately, and more talking/writing. I miss my camera, but I’m also excited about finally growing into my identity as an occasional writer, too.

So, in list form, here’s some stuff that’s happened recently:

1. I heard about the Leelah Alcorn story early on, and got pissed off that no one was covering it (which changed quickly). I wrote a story about it for Huffington Post Gay Voices.

2. That led to a guest spot on HuffPost Live’s QueerView with Josh Zepps:

3. I wrote a piece about my complicated relationship with my father, his criminal history, and his death in prison for xoJane.

4. I’m this week’s NY1 New Yorker of the Week! I got to be on live television for the first time! Exciting! Terrifying! Here’s the segment (live interview to come):

2015 is off to a good start!