The photo was taken on a disposable camera from the floor of my freshman year dorm room.
I spent a lot of time on that floor. Partly because my bed was lofted and a bitch to climb up into, but mostly because I was too tired and sad to do anything else but lie face-up on the dingy green carpet. And it was always a treat to be able to do so without either of my roommates staring at me.
The photo was taken during my Spring Quarter in 2013. I recognized the image immediately when I was going through all my new prints, although I admittedly forgot I had taken it.
I remember lying on the floor, sometime in the afternoon, presumably skipping class. I remember feeling really, really, really sad and lonely. For no reason in particular—I inexplicably felt that way a lot of the time during that year.
I remember feeling sticky and hot because our room wasn’t air conditioned. I didn’t bother opening up a window. I had a headache, so I didn’t turn on the fan. I just lay there, sweating.
I remember thinking that this was it. This was the extent of my existence, summarized. I was alone and miserable in every sense of the word. I was staring at the fluorescent light fixture placed slightly off-center on the ceiling. I was questioning everything about my existence and my purpose. I was 18.
I remember taking this picture because I wanted to remember this moment in time. I wanted to freeze my helplessness in a medium different than just writing in my journal. I remember wanting it to be encapsulated in a way so that only I, when looking back on the picture, could recognize the sadness and depression behind it.
Almost three full years later, this photo is painful to look at. There’s nobody in it—it’s just the view out the window of my room from the perspective of the floor.
But it’s really uncomfortable how quickly something like a photograph can make me feel exactly as small and worthless as I felt when I snapped it. As much as I suppress the horribleness of how I felt before seeking professional help or medication, this photo, most likely boring and overlooked by anyone else, is a harsh reality check about everything I’ve gone through in the past couple of years.
These days, I always leave my windows open. I take Excedrin and sip ice water for my headaches. I no longer lie on floors, miserably watching the midday sun turn to dusk.