Proper Sorrows

Shortly before I moved back to Maine from San Francisco, I was subject to a devastating life change that sent me into the deepest depression I had experienced in my life. Good news for my dear friend Erin, who was composing a photography series called Proper Sorrows.
The name of the series comes from the 19th century when women were institutionalized, often in their own homes (see The Yellow Wallpaper), for experiencing “undue” or “prolonged” sadness over events in their lives like miscarriages. There was a mourning period that was considered “proper,” and beyond that, women were considered hysterical, and subject to treatment. Signed off on by their owners — err, husbands.
So, as much as I hate being photographed, I agreed to be part of the project. Erin made it comfortable and easy, and I love her results, even if I don’t love looking at myself.
Here is the shot she ended up displaying as part of the exhibit.
I thought of this today because the last time I remember feeling like I do right now, I was crying soundlessly in a chair on my back patio. I am devastated to my core and I can’t see any light at the end of any tunnel and I really don’t want anyone to try and convince me to see things differently just yet.
Allow me my sorrow. Let me decide what is proper.

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