In 2020, our lives were upended by a global pandemic and we were forced to do whatever necessary to ensure the survival of as many people as possible. During this time, I was preparing to leave Cedar City, Utah, where I lived the previous four years. This was a fitting bookend to my time there; during an emotional breakdown in the shower a few weeks after arriving here, I had my first suicidal thought. That was a game changer.
Every plan I’ve made has involved some variation of the same idea, to combine acceleration with an immovable object to ensure a quick end. Now, having stepped out of the overwhelming timetable of coursework and concurrent jobs, my mental health has been better than ever. Looking back now at many of my chosen spots in Cedar Canyon, I realize just how beautiful and peaceful these locations are.
Lorde’s song “Yellow Flicker Beat,” has helped me reflect on the feelings I had while planning: “I’m speeding up… the colors disappear. I never watch the stars, there’s so much down here.” When I was in that darkness, I would become fixed on the object rather than the place I was in; instead of seeing the mountain serenity, I could only imagine the fiery way in which I would disrupt it. My eyes were cast down, unable to focus on the grand scheme of life.
I shot the overcast haze hovering on each location in the full 4x5 format. The locations where I would have been found were depicted out-of-focus in a 2x5 format. My mind still automatically zeroes in on these spots when I drive past them, but now, it takes absolutely no willpower to follow through the curve.