self love

Adrift

James (Adrift)

Mortal Man

Adrift

By: James Dickerson

Optimism is new to me. I stopped having expectations some time ago and have learned to let life be.
— James Dickerson

This year I found myself breaking up with and wanting to get over what I thought was the  traveling path of my life. I left behind someone I should’ve held tighter to. Had an emotional fling that I’m still sore about - my first time engaged in intense desire; so intense that I broke my own rules involving women with significant others. And financially, as a single father, I found myself struggling to live on the pedestal I placed the responsibility to my sons on. Sleepless nights wrote my story after so much happened in so little time. 

I would think: what is the point of a sunrise if all you see is darkness? Every day felt the same. I became distant at work. The idea of friendship is a struggle and my kids wonder if I’m okay. What it meant to be a photographer in a non-traditional way was lost because of inconsistency. Prior to full time employment I was able to split my time on the street as an urban documentarian with my time as a clerk at a library, making enough noise in both respects to keep everyone happy. Almost everyone. The dissolving of my relationship with the mother of my children forced me into a full time spot at work. And then things started to die.

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Part of the problem was giving too much of myself to sustaining troubled waters. I needed still waters. I sought still waters, but aimlessly. Living for the satisfaction of others is not mentally healthy when you avoid your own health in the process. The darker life became the more I contemplated the wrong things. I told myself that the “end” would be a loss for everyone. I thought about my kids and what that would mean for them to lose their father, and a thread tightens and yanks me back a few feet from the edge. Their sadness I’d never want to face even in death. 

My relationship with them is strong so I have to survive for them. I have to survive for them. Fatherhood is keeping me alive. 

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I’m not the type to enter into the year with resolutions but I think about them. With their succession, how does the future feel a year older? If I hit every one would I die a better man? From one year to the next they ranged from weight loss, financial responsibly, a healthier relationship, and a home to raise my boys in. All the things I wished for when I was with their mother are still the things I wish for after. 

There’s something to be said about existing on the same page. Our story could be told together, written without ending, but our conflicts with each other prevented any real growth after 12 years. I don’t regret the loss of time but I regret the lack of growth.

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I doubt that I’ve truly healed from the strains of this break up. My nuclear family had a meltdown. We both assumed blame but still lacked growth. I tried dating after her and while that had its strengths, I was definitely its weakness. I left her feeling as lost as I was. That made me a bad guy. 

The bigger question is if I feel what is in my soul is for me. I don’t want the crash and burns to define my life. Nor the hang ups of emotional flings. “I want more life.” She shared that with me when I was having a rough moment. A phrase from a play that slips my mind. I debate whether our relationship was karmic in nature; that we taught each other something in the process. I did learn that I don’t want to be alone. But the bigger part I learned was that I never want to be who another man feels will destroy his happiness. But am I allowed to make that mistake in the process of growth?

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I don’t know how to end the year within this essay because my life is still changing. I may have written the most cryptic piece for the Mortal Man series. At the same time someone may pick this out as a resonating segment among others. Optimism is new to me. I stopped having expectations some time ago and have learned to let life be. However, as my life wraps up, I have a small amount of hope that’s always existed. It’s pushed me forward when permanent sleep was all I dwelled on. 

Let me experience internal peace, God. Just once, even if we aren’t friends.

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James Dickerson

Adrift

Son | Father | Brother | Photographer | Author | Real Life Documentarian

I met James on instagram. I admired his photography and reached out to him when I knew I’d re rolling through his hometown of Toledo, Ohio. Though it was our first time meeting our conversation was deep, intense, personal… REAL.

You can keep up with James on instagram at:

@dirtykics

James’ street photography is also featured on Wassuprockers’ “The Room” and can be viewed online here.

what is woman?

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you cute for a fat girl...

gwen

“i just don't get it... why her? You can do so much prettier and finer, so much skinnier.” I think it was this time last year when i heard that exact comment being said about me to someone i cared about, from a “friend.”

after getting out of a toxic relationship where i was made to feel I wasn’t beautiful by him and those around him, i was at my lowest last winter. i didn’t want to go out. i felt like nothing looked good on me. i didn’t even want to be around men because i felt like i knew what they were all thinking. it’s not something i chose. even though it’s something i can change. and i haven’t always been plus sized. i remember the first time my mom told me that i would need to look in the “plus sized” section for an outfit because it would fit better (in all reality I only needed an xl) and i started to cry. how crazy is that? but what i can say now, at 22 years old, is that after getting the love and support from the people i cherish the most and taking the needed amount of time to self care, i got back to that place that i was in at the beginning of 2016. it took me such a long time to realize that not being a size 2 isn’t something to be ashamed of. it took me all the way up until last year when i moved to hawaii to cherish and love myself the way i should. being in a place where full figured women were respected and worshiped
the same as petite women was so refreshing.

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but now, mid summer 2017, i’m happier than ever and i don’t think i will ever let another man or person for that matter make me feel less than for the way i look or body i have. i was SO nervous to do this and absolutely terrified to post these, but that’s what it’s all about. loving yourself. i did this photoshoot because here today, i want to start a body positivity campaign. plus size/fuller women/bodies that aren’t looked at as “sexy” in today’s society are slowly but surely getting more representation in the media/fashion industry. but i know especially here in dayton it’s not represented nearly enough. i won’t be this size forever, but it’s the body I have now. and i’ll be damned if i don’t love every
single inch and curve!

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connect with gwen:

instagram: @_gwenola + twitter: @_gwenolabar + email: cgbrown95@icloud.com