365 Polaroids of 2020
Through the years of inner struggles and looking to find her place in the art world, the one thing that would remain constant for her was her husband Mark, whom she has been with since leaving school. A quiet, deep thinker, and passionate artist who finds it easier to communicate at times through his art. They spend hours discussing art and she loves to listen to him when he is describing new visions or upcoming plans of creation. Having someone this special in her life, standing by her side when she felt the walls caving in around her, gave her the strength to start understanding that if someone could love her this much for who she is, she should be able to love herself just as much. It didn’t happen overnight. It was a long road of stripping all the insecurities she had manifested since a child. As she worked on her independence and fought to free herself from her own inner demons, they stayed true to one another and spent those years working on communication skills to strengthen their unity. Being artists in a small town can be a challenge. They knew it was important to support one another through the challenges they would face surviving as young artists.
Her last emotional breakdown happened when COVID hit and Mark was in California working for FEMA. It would be three months before she was able to see him. It seemed like a lifetime. But the months in isolation had a profound effect. She logged off social media and began to focus on communication with her loved ones. Not just spending time on the phone but listening to their words and feeling the emotions. She realized she still lacked self-love which had affected nearly all the relationships in her life. She knew the time had come to break free of the chains holding her back so she could finally be Leah.
As the transformation was happening she was taking a daily polaroid of herself. Not to post for likes and shares, but to simply capture her everyday life in raw natural form. Every day she would take a random photo of herself and looking back through the daily joys and tears she was able to finally feel comfortable in her own skin. As more self-love took grip, she began to see more of the beauty around her and soon found cherish in each moment of every day.
Written by Brendan Douglas for Alien Dove