“I understand you.”

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I have to give credit where credit is due in all this so I figure why not elaborate on that and discuss about it as best as I can?

Anyways, I took this picture on March 30, 2018 at a small field at my school, Cal State East Bay. I remember this day pretty vividly; the sun sucking so bad due to the heat, the cherry blossoms in full beautiful bloom at our school’s small Japanese Garden, and my subjects natural beauty.

I aimlessly asked through social media via snapchat if anyone wanted to be my subject for an impromptu photoshoot that day. I figured it would be worth a shot because I desperately wanted to take pictures of our school’s Cherry Blossoms before they die out. The first person that was able to get back to me in a quick time was my good friend Jennifer Diaz who I have mentioned previously before in one of my posts. As we finished out first session of the shoot at our Cherry Blossoms spot we moved over to the small fields at these yellow flowers to take a different set of pictures through a different outfit change ironically matching?! They came out really well and to both our liking which I was extremely happy about.

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After our finished set Jennifer wanted to treat me to something good so I figured why not?! It gave us some time to catch up more on life. I did not expect the car ride from school to Castro Valley to change my whole perception on how fragile life can be…

In March when I was away in Portland, I told her something that I used to do 8 years ago, and through that 5 years ago, I decided that I no longer wanted this messy part of me to triumph over my own health. Jennifer had asked what made me want to tell her specifically her and to be completely honest, I have no idea why? I know that I have told a few select people on this, but what I told her is more than just being 5 years harm free: my own self-worth and self-hatred along with everything that was inside of me. Jennifer has always been this kindhearted person that EVERYONE I know admires, always smiling, happy, and throwing the raunchiest, offensive comments that would make my circa 2011 during the scene/emo days guyliner cry off. Knowing her for over a year I made the grand assumption that she had a pretty great life with great people associated around her. BOI WAS I FOOLED.

This is what really caused a deal of great pain that day: Jennifer went through an inexplicable state of heartbreak and mental slavery through a handful of months. She debriefed me on everything after I had told her my own story. Debriefed how she went through the most hard and painful months that I could never imagine to happen in such a season. I will not go into detail about her struggle but from what she had told me, I was genuinely pained and it left a heavy heart that whole weekend. At one point we were both crying driving our way through traffic to CV in the car wanting to hold her and tell her that  “I understand you”. “At the very least, I understand you.”

Eventually everything lightened up and we were back to our normal selves making offensive comments, that day was heavy but with a good outcome. One thing is for sure in all this: I truly believe that this photoshoot of an afternoon has brought Jennifer and I closer than ever. Never would I imagine that this beautiful person could go through so much strife and toil.. I guess seasonal depression is all year round and it can happen during any season. I believe that hers hit the start of summer, feeling as if no direction or sign was being given to her when she desperately needed it the most. Eventually she has found the drive to seek the right help and I am happy for that. Still a work in progress, she is doing absolutely better.

Jennifer, please know that you are a one in a million type of person with a heart of pure gold. You’ve endured so much pain and loss in a few short months and I am so happy that you are still here with us. I know that it hurts sometimes and whatever state of depression you are in just know that you have wonderful people that are willing to go out of their way and be there for you. I will always be here for you no matter what and I WILL ALWAYS support you in your decisions in hopes that they will make a positive impact not only for the community but most importantly for yourself.

You got this in the bag and you have held on. I have nothing but the utmost respect and love for you.

Just know that I understand you. At the very least, I understand you, Jennifer..

I love you so much.

– Josh

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