Wherever You Go, There You Are

I was placed in this life with the mother I have, and that’s the way it is.

Shortly after my family and I moved to the Phoenix area in the early 2000’s, my mother was in a horrific car crash. Through a very difficult recovery, she picked up a drug habit that lead to my family’s bankruptcy and the loss of our home.

Her habits got worse, and her husband divorced her. We endured the company of abusive and unhealthy men, and found ourselves losing our home again, but this time, with nowhere else to go. After living in a motel, my mother found a home for only herself.

We were reunited after my time in homes that weren’t my own, and I maintained the position of the adult in my relationship with my mother. I kept as much distance as I could from her and her way of life as I grew into adulthood. My distance broke her heart, while her habits broke mine.

In beginning to find my own independence and learning how to build boundaries, I was ready to confront the pain and anxiety that clouded our relationship. I began to photograph my mother. I’ve set out to explore the way she interacts with her own space, and with me.

Our differences and similarities cause a lot of tension, but through those traits, I realize that she is faillible, and so am I. As I’m learning about her, I’m learning about myself. Everyday, I’m learning to forgo the responsibility I’ve held for my adult mother my entire life. My reservations and resentment of her way of life are slowly beginning to fade away as my understanding of her is becoming more clear. Resentment must be healed with acknowledgment and acceptance. When we begin to accept the human fallibility in one another, we will find reconciliation, independence, and most of all, love.

Ty Dahlstrom

About Ty Dahlstrom

Ty Dahlstrom is an Southwest native currently situated in Tempe, Arizona. She is interested in the way familial relationships shape identity. She is currently receiving her BFA in Photography at Arizona State University.