Sunday, September 10, 2006

SPC -- September Week 2

Alright. This weeks Self Portrait Challenge needs a little explanation. I am sitting in front of an elevator. Specifically, the elevator we had installed for my mother. Also, my mother has MS (Multiple Sclerosis).

And to explain why I am the only person in the photo... Well, they say image, and how you present yourself is key to how people see you. Often, that is ALL people see about my mother (especially if I'm just talking, and they've never met her). So when her symptoms and effects are all people care to see, to me that is enough.

Carrying on with the "conflict" from last week, my mother and I do not get along. At all. But she needs a fair bit of help, so I am always called upon to help. And when I try to explain the strife between us, all people want to see is her illness, never her character, who she really is. Those people will often then show great disgust towards me, treat me like a character, make me feel distorted and unreal (hence the distortion I felt like applying there).

Maybe next week will be cheerier, sorry folks. Posted by Picasa


  1. Hi Michael, it can be really difficult caring for someone with a serious illness, even when you get on well with them. Worse when you don't. I see a lot of one of my neighbours, she has Motor Neurone Disease. She was a whinger before her diagnosis, and she is still the same. I suppose what I am trying to say is enjoy as much of her as you can.

    I got your blog from Men Who Knit, I am also one of the MWK.

  2. Aesthetically this image is great. I love how you have added the animation. You have inspired me to maybe “copy/steal” the idea for next week. Nicely done.

    As for the back-story and the weight it carries, I thought it was well thought out and imaginative. I am curious, however, why you chose not to show your mother in order to break this spell of her being ignored like you mentioned. It could have been, or still can be another beautiful take on the situation.

    Overall, great photo.

  3. Holy cow this is powerful.


    Hope next week brings some lightness.

  4. BZ, the 'animation' is an effect called "poster edges" in Adobe Photoshop 7.0.

    And as for the photo content, there are a few reasons I didn't include my mother. I doubt she would let me. My whole family is not very big on photos. But more importantly it was about the relation people draw between us. I wasn't trying to push the fact that people ignore, but rather when the conflict between us is being discussed, people treat it as a justification for pretty much everything. I have had counsellors blame everything away on it, and look at me with such a degree of disgust, 'how could I treat my ill mother like that', regardless of the fact that our strife and behaviour has not only been around since her diagnosis. People don't want to see the true relation, and it makes me feel contrived, like if they can substitute her illness as reasoning for all her actions, then I am always the villain.

    Probably more than you wanted to hear. But there is a lot more of it.

  5. colors: good. That's what I had in mind, it's a powerful force in my life.

    And thanks as well, I've got my appendages crossed.

  6. wow. I thought the picture was pretty interesting and then when I read the story behind it... well, now the picture really is worth 1000 words. In fact, I think you may have a whole book to write. You are writing a book, right?

  7. I know what you mean. And for me the photo did function even without the words. The words helped to understand what/who you are separated from though, and that is good.
    Ok, so I cluttered this with my clumpsy words then...

  8. Star (of Knitty fame I just noticed), a bookwhatnow? Frankly, I'm just trying to get through day by day right now. And that story is much much longer than I could ever write here.

    Elisabeth, I wasn't sure how much to write, if at all. Turns out some people don't need any, and people need a treatise to make sense of it.

  9. Michael, just discovered your blog and was zooming through when I discovered this. I've had a chronic illness for 15 years, and I know this effect that you describe. I'm also a physician. Good of you to recognize that the person doesn't become the illness, and that your relationship is what it is in spite of the illness, not because of it. Your mother is fortunate to have your help. You will benefit from your clearness of vision.


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