Black & White Friday : Agoraphobia


I have been wanting to play with this photo for years. It was a warm, sunny winter day when I took it. I just dyed my hair and I have for the first time asked the hairdresser to curl my hair (yes, I am one of those flat-haired people who dream about curls, want them,need them,crave them!). I wanted to remember how it looked, I wanted to be able to see myself from the front and I had my camera with me, so I just took it out and did a snapshot. And I got this. Watching myself later at home, I noticed the expression I had on my face, the way my eyes looked and I asked into the air:“Is this REALLY how I look when I am outside, in the world?”. Do I really look this scared, like I am panicking, like I am insane from freight, paranoid, on alert. I knew it was true,but I thought it was invisible to others, because I was always the one smiling, laughing, entertaining everybody else. Yet even a machine caught it, without any effort, like it was the most obvious, most known thing. For the first time after a while I felt so visible.

The Black & White emphasizes in this picture how I usualy really feel when I am outside. I don’t like crowded places, I don’t like strangers touching me and brushing off me for example inside the bus. If the bus is too full, I am not going to get in. I am constantly on alert, watching everyone closely, watching their moves, calculating and wandering in my head and shivering because my brain keeps reminding me how dangerous the real world is, how dangerous people can be. It often feels like all my thoughts get short-circuited and all I can think about is Danger!Danger!Danger!

I wanted the photo to resemble a charcoal sketch, I am not sure if I achieved that, seeing I like the photo and also what it means to me – it is always the most rewarding and most difficult to work on something personal.

*As always, tell me your stories, share your own Black and Whites! Hope you have a wonderfull day!

~ by Oloriel on December 13, 2013.

38 Responses to “Black & White Friday : Agoraphobia”

  1. I understand this, especially the part about a bus and touching. While I was living in Belgrade, I rather walked than used buses. And I don’t like if someone stands too close to me. The picture is beautiful.

    • But I don’t think that I suffer of agoraphobia. I can stand these things, but I dislike them.

      • I think most of people disslike these things. What separates some of us tho is the excessive paranoia and caution.
        I can totaly imagine the Belgrade image. Entering a bus at Zeleni venac is like a mission impossible for me, I always try to avoid having to enter a bus there for example.

  2. I liked the story minus the panic.. I see dreams in the eye πŸ™‚

  3. I’m one of those people who does have naturally curly hair…and I hate it.

    • It always is like that, from my expirience πŸ˜€ No matter how much I try to curl my hair and the products I use, each strand will be straight in maximum 40 minutes, while all the people with curly hair I know have to iron it constantly so it stays straight.

      • I just let mine do its own thing now. At my age I should just be grateful that I’ve still got hair, I suppose.

      • I don’t do much with my hair ever, as long as it’s red, I am fine with it. But I have not had the time to dye it for a few months and you can already see the ash gray hair I have slowly taking control of my head :/

  4. Lovely picture and lovely piece!

  5. I am with you – I so want wavy or curly hair – I have the flat boring kind, actually mum said yesterday – though her memory is now going… I think I prefer you with your wavy hair… to which I replied mum – unless you have another daughter I don’t know about or a twin…that wasn’t me.
    I see caution in your eye and wariness, thank you for sharing of yourself in your black and white. x

    • Tes, I want it, but at the same time it is a lot of daily work just to manage to make it stay curly for more then 1 hour.
      My grandmother is getting very old, I mean, she already is, but she is only now starting to look and sound like it and she is more and more mixing me with my mother.
      Caution and wariness are most defo one of my middle names. Thank you for taking time to look and write to me πŸ™‚

      • you are welcome – I think we should open ourselves up a little more – more than what we write, getting to know one another – our vulnerabilities … hugs to your grandmother. xx

  6. My photos from childhood I am always unaware of the camera and my surroundings, I am in my own world and I think it is very likely that as an adult I am still wearing that same expression

  7. I am NOT even going to speak of the hair thing OK? Cut my teens (16)hair on Sunday – fine dandelion strands floating about around her little face – why I cut it? Well your words here resonate with how this precious child is… so so beautiful and so precious and gentle and kind and talented and deep – so so scared of people and the world…. on her guard. She did a computerised ‘driving hazards test’ at college – got THE highest score. We had bee talking about how she saw people as a danger to avoid and and how that that was because of past things (her bio-dad basically abandoned her) and that the story running in her head was not valid. Her intuitions are SO strong and she sees red flags go up above EVERYbodies head – like a hazard to avoid. She has that instinct – we are trying to find ways she can file that instinct into a proper place – rather than a general all encompassing blanket – she can read people well —- and has no desire to play the games ‘most’ people play…so avoids them.

    – remember the butterfly Oloriel πŸ˜‰ You are beautiful as she πŸ˜€
    Use your intuition and your talents wisely as you are – it is your design hey !! Yay for beautiful souls!!!

    • I can relate to this, with only difference being that I did not have a wonderfull mother to take care of me and love me. I spent my teen years dressing like a boy and desperately trying to hide the fact that I am female from everyone because I was so scared of people hurting me like my closest people did. Living like this is hard, but I know no other way because it shaped too much who I am – the only thing I do now, which is albeit a little bit rude and selfish, is that I do not stop for people that do not inspire something other then danger and poison inside of me. Younger, I had to do this, because there is no understanding for this turmoil, the schools would always suspend me for not wanting to be “everybody’s friend” and so on- a boy beated me on the way home from school, just randomly, and I got suspended the next day because “I did not want to be his friend after he cracked open my lips and broke my nose because he was lonely”.
      I spent a lot of time thinking how problematic my sentiments are for OTHERS, I tried to force change and drown in misery and fear until – and this is my story tho sadly a story of many other- a guy aged about 18-19 was walking behind me on the street and I tried to just walk too, he was still behind me at my building entrance – I said “He is visiting the neighbours”, he entered behind me and as I started climbing the stairs he grabbed my ass. If it hadn’t been for my paranoia and milion calculations to respond in situations like this, not the first time in my life, I would have been a rape victim. Instead, I beated him, to a pulp and chased him down the street to beat him more while he was runing away in blood and I accepted once and for all that in my lifetime I will probubly never walk and be completely free.
      It is sad. The world and the people are constantly, day by day, teaching me not to trust and be afraid.
      I am just very VERY happy your daughter has you, such a wonderfull and beautiful soul by her side, to help her walk her way.

      • Thank you Oloriel – I see your story around in so many people. And I want to be their mother too. πŸ˜‰ We all find our ways to work out how to walk through this world –
        I wish I could take away all that hurt you before but you know I can not do this. But – I see – I do. You are cherished by many. Exactly where you are now is where you need to be.
        Your experiences make you who you are – and all the ones ensuing – will keep you as beautiful as you are – your soul is fragile and in tune with your heartbeat – you are aware and intrinsically able to understand and see. Time princess – you have built your cocoon as you needed to – a beautiful little butterfly inside with its wings just held down for a while…
        I know – I see – I hear it in your words you write. I was you.

      • Thank you very much for your words, I would be lieing if I said they didn’t make me tear up. Really, thank you!

      • Oh bless you sweety. Sorry ~ I did not want to make you cry!! I know what you mean though ~ I hope we can find happy beautiful tears in unexpected places, for that is a precious thing. My Nana used to say ‘Oh I did have such a lovely time- I cried all night’ πŸ˜‰
        IF we do not speak before ~Have a super Christmas time dear one πŸ˜€

      • No worries, they are healthy tears πŸ˜€
        I hope you spend the holydays in great joy and happiness πŸ˜€

      • Thank you ~ πŸ˜€

  8. I’ve got quite a few black and whites. though the one that most resembles me might have to be chopped from the head down, because I am wearing the most beautiful of evening gowns, but bending forward and laughing and I’m practically falling out of it.

    I very much relate to the feelings you have described here. I do not have them now, and to be honest I think I go from being an extrovert to an introvert depending, mostly on my own internal thought processes.

    When I was 17 I had a terrible car accident, and the result (apart from almost dying and being in hospital for 4 months not able to walk) was a terrible health anxiety PTSD. I became so fearful of leaving the house, even getting out of bed at night to go to the bathroom. I hated for anyone to touch me, or to intrude my space. it was a very difficult time in my life. I worked through with Susan Jeffers Book ‘feel the fear and do it anyway’ and later sought CBT with a Clinical Psychologist.

    I don’t feel there is anything wrong with being introverted. For me, the issue came when it really began to impede on my quality of life. I started to miss out on things I really enjoyed socially, because I was so scared.

    Wishing you the very best…

    Miss Lou

  9. visit, read the article and thanks for posting your article is quite good and we hope that all our friends all success and thank you all, greetings. (This is a good thing) πŸ™‚

  10. I LOVE this pic. You took this? Nice! The film grain speaks to me- old nostalgic film noir. It’s gorgeous: hue, tone, mood (especially) love it. :0)

    • Yes, I took it, about 6 or 7 years ago (does time fly…..) and it’s me on the pic. I am very happy that you like it processed, it is exactly how I wanted it to look πŸ˜€

      • Yes! This is my favourite style and has been for years. It’s funny; some people will say that blur and grain do not belong in pics (the ‘pros” have told me that) but that’s what I like most. :0) You do it well. (More more!)

  11. I totally relate, Oloriel. Maybe it’s because I’ve seen the worst of people, or maybe I have good instincts, but whatever the reason I don’t crowds either. When a restaurant is crowded, I’ll go somewhere else, when everyone piles into the elevator, I’ll wait for the next one.
    As for the pic, I love the grainy quality and it reminds me of a still from an Alfred Hitchcock film πŸ™‚

    • Oh, that’s a lovely comparison to get, Hitchcock is the man πŸ˜€
      I absolutely agree about the elevator. Theres a tiny elevator in the mall and I usualy have to wait around 40 minutes to enter it cause of the crowd :/

  12. Lovely photo and I can relate to your thoughts, Best wishes for 2014!

  13. Dude, do you know what I see? Your poetry in human form! I see a spry, whimsical, daring, playful soul who knows how to laugh. Seriously. It’s timeless, O! You look about 13. πŸ˜… That’s always a good thing, by the way, because our souls are truly ageless. I feel you 100% on the entire β€œWhy am I such a freak in public” thing, GF. Believe me when I say, I took/take that $#!+ to another level! I was agoraphobic throughout the entire β€˜90’s and early 2000-2008 (ish)- yep. I tooootally get it, soul sister! 😁 (Sunglasses in public help a LOT. That’s my trick. πŸ˜‰

    • You were close, I think I am 14 in the picture. It got taken on the day, the only ever day, where I got perfect curls done and my hair was just the right kind of red. And do not worry, I am full on myself, what others might label as a freak, not even nowadays to be honest, always been ❀

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