grounding, growing

 
 

It's kind of funny how often one feels like they are not themselves. How is that even possible? You inhabit your body, don't you? Doesn't that make you you, necessarily? I guess I've learned that that's not always the case, in fact for me it rarely is the case. I'm a chronic code-switcher, which means I change my behavior really easily to fit the situation I'm in. I guess I was named appropriately (Camille=Chameleon, haha). It helps with my writing, I can inhabit characters and personas vastly different from myself with considerable flexibility, which I think is pretty cool. But it also means I lose myself a lot. I have to make an extra effort to conserve who I am and what makes me special, what I like and what I can't stand. You know, the basic elements of having a personality.

I often have to find things to ground me, to remind me who I am, things that give me something to hold on to and that keep me myself as I grow into a (hopefully) better version of myself. I'm lucky that I have my twin sister, Chloe. Someone who has known me since the moment we were born. Throughout these periods of massive personal growth, that don't seem to be ending anytime soon, Chloe has always been a grounding force. Despite going to school thousands of miles away from each other, whenever I'm feeling like a weird not-Camille person has inhabited my body, Chloe has always been someone with whom a quick conversation about usually nothing important kicks that alien out of my brain and puts me safely back inside myself.

It is especially easy to lose yourself in New York City (where I live right now), and therefore it is necessary to have something (or someone) to ground me in order to maintain a healthy level of sanity. I love New York with all my might, mostly because it takes me out of my head so much and forces me to learn about myself and my surroundings. I need these two things, the thing that grounds me and the thing that helps me grow, especially right now, as a highly impressionable young person with limited adult supervision. They seep into each other and intertwine, and they are two necessary elements that I need to shape who I am and who I want to become.

This photo project combines some of my favorite portraits that I've taken of my sister with some of my favorite images of New York. I hope you like it, and I hope it makes you think about the things outside of yourself that make you feel like the purest version of you, and the things you surround yourself with that make you want to grow and change.

Camille Ramos