"Flip Hairstyle", Rockaway Park, NYC, 2006. Juliana Beasley
After I photographed each member of the congregation who passed through are make-shift studio leading to the exit of the church, a young woman with bleach blonde hair approached me me. I asked her too as I had done with the others, "What is your New Year's resolution?"
Her mother and sisters waited outside. The door was held ajar and I could feel the cold air biting against my cheeks.
"I don't feel very good," she said.
"I took an overdose of my epilepsy medication yesterday. I feel really horrible. I tried to kill myself yesterday, " she said.
"I'm so sorry to hear that. Are you feeling alright?" I asked. "It's good that you came to church today."
The day before she had locked herself in the bathroom until her parents managed to get through the door. They had taken her to the emergency room. It's seemed incredible and almost impossible that she could be standing in front of me after such a trauma to her body and psyche. I couldn't make sense of the story, only that she wanted to die and that she hated herself.
"Laker's Fan", Rockaway Park, NYC, 2006. Juliana Beasley
Her honesty and our position in front of the door as others tried to move around us and exit felt equally awkward. I didn't know what to say. I knew I didn't have enough time to help her or give her some hope.
"I feel better today though, "she said. "I can't believe I did that. It was so stupid."
"You are going to be alright? " I said. "It's good that you came today. Did you pray for help and guidance?"
"Yes, " she said.
"Met's Fan", Rockaway Park, NYC, 2006. Juliana Beasley
"Girl with Scarf", Rockaway Park, NYC, 2006. Juliana Beasley
"Woman in Red Coat", Rockaway Park, NYC, 2006. Juliana Beasley
Prayer and religion are not a part of my vocabulary, but I knew that I had to connect with her within her belief system and not mine.
I wrote down her name and her phone number. I told her I would call her. She said good-bye. I could do nothing else but give her a strong hug and tell her it would be alright. Or at least, I hoped it would be alright.
"Are you almost ready? " a man standing anxiously with a set of keys looked on as we packed my photo gear into bags.
My assistant and I quickly packed up the remainder of my things. We picked up my belonging,and
walked through the door that was quickly locked behind us.
"Charlie", Rockaway Park, NYC, 2006. Juliana Beasley