On Wednesday, my boyfriend and I went to see Frozen 2.

The movie was super cute, and I loved the music. I hadn’t been to the movie theater in about two years, not since I saw A Star Is Born, when my date and I walked out of the movie because I felt triggered by a few scenes.

I try not to let my mental illness hold me back. My therapist tells me I am doing well because I am functioning. I can go to work, doctor’s appointments, and synagogue with minimal distress. But when it comes to bigger things, like traveling, I find myself saying, “I can’t.” I tell myself I can’t watch TV because it seems like everything on television is full of violence, loud noises, and gore. I tell myself I can’t go to concerts because I fear crowds and people touching me. I tell myself I can’t adopt a cat because I’m irresponsible and lazy.

But sitting in the movie theater with Chance, I felt completely normal. I wasn’t Katherine the mentally ill. I was just Katherine.

Living with mental illness skews my perception of myself. I don’t feel like a regular person. There is always the fear that I will suddenly start hearing voices or seeing things in the back of my mind. My symptoms flare up and disappear randomly at times, making it difficult to navigate life.

Wednesday was one of the happiest days I’ve had in a long time. For the duration of the movie, I forgot I am mentally ill.

After the movie, Chance and I drove up A1A, past Flagler Beach, towards St. Augustine. We listened to music in the car and chatted about this and that. When we saw something interesting, we stopped to take photos.

I am teaching Chance how to shoot on full manual mode on my digital camera. It makes me so happy that he wants to learn how to use a camera, as photography is one of my passions.

In many of my past relationships, my partner and I would just sit at home, and never really go out and do much. While it is nice to have a quiet, domestic life, I am finding that I do also enjoy getting out of the house and seeing the world. Being in nature is peaceful and calming. My first photography professor, Gary Monroe, implored his students not to take cliche photos, and this has stuck with me for the entirety of my photography adventures. There are only so many sunrise beach photos I can take before they all blend together, so it was exciting for me to take photos of things I hadn’t previously shot.

I survived the hardest day of the year, as I always do. December 15th is the day everything happened with Tim. Although I do not consider what he did to me to be rape anymore, it is still a difficult day. I requested the day off from work and spent it with my parents and Chance. We decorated the Christmas tree and then went to see the lights at the Speedway. I love photographing Christmas lights to make digital paintings.

This is done by leaving the shutter open and moving the camera.

I feel my best when I’m creating. Not only can I create beautiful art and writing, but I can also create a beautiful new life for myself.

One thought on “(Un)limited

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