Tuesday, November 6, 2012

i'm ok, you're ok.

As a lover of literature, is it my favorite thing in the world to admit to an extensive self-help & psychology book collection? Meh. But I'll be damned if many of them haven't helped me out in a pinch. When I began grad school, I was living alone (without a roommate) for the first time. I was also involved in a knock down drag out war of words relationship that was toxic in every way. It was also quite fickle, in that I found myself newly single every second and fourth Friday of the month (approximately).

This left me with a lot of time to myself. With my head. And my worries. And my on-again off-again heartbreak.

You might be able to guess by now that this was not a good combination for me. So on to bibliotherapy it was! Cheesy though they may be at times, I found a lot of books that were quite helpful. In fact, just acquiring the books was helpful. It made me feel like I was doing something to change things I was unhappy with. Sometimes I would open up a new Amazon box and stack the two or three new titles in bed with me. Even just their presence was comforting. (By the way, I also do this with regular books, so yes I am weird, but no I am not "sleeps exclusively with self-help books" weird).

Recently? Calming Your Anxious Mind by Jeffrey Brantley. When Dad Hurts Mom: Helping Your Children Heal the Wounds of Witnessing Abuse* by Lundy Bancroft. Trauma and Recovery by Judith Herman. The Gifts of Imperfection by Brené Brown (who is awesome).

The point of all this was to share some art with you. I saw this collection of photographs yesterday and was fascinated. Photographer Kent Rogowski created a photo series titled Everything I Wish I Could Be using self-help books as his medium and the results are incredibly clever:

Kent Rogowski Self Help Photographs Contents

Kent Rogowski Self Help Art You are Special
You Are Special

Kent Rogowski Self Help Art Photography There is a Rainbow
There is a Rainbow

Kent Rogowski Self Help Art Photography Am I the Only One?
Am I the Only One? These photos and others from the collection can be seen at Rogowsi's site.

*This book was so good/terrible that I forced myself to read it all in one day so as not to drag it out. Good in that it was a valuable resource about the effects of emotional & physical domestic violence on children and helped me understand some of my perceptions and reactions. Terrible in that Oh my God, staying "for the kids" is the worst thing EVER "for the kids!!!" which brought back a whole slew of memories I would prefer stay six feet underground. The second after I finished the last page I threw it under the couch-- because hiding things always makes them go away!

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