Nicole O'Neil Photography
The Boston Marathon, 2013
I have been thinking about this post for a while. I want it to be an informative post, but not share too much information. My blog, Facebook, and other social media have been quiet for the past month. My newsletter stopped and I am delayed in returning emails, processing orders, and getting galleries done. This is all because of a personal struggle. My business is a personal one. I connect with my clients, enter their homes, and become their friends. And so, I feel you deserve to know why I seemed to disappear for a while.
Every year, I go in to watch the Boston Marathon, whether someone close to me is running or not. I love the excitement, the inspiration, and the sense of togetherness and unity.
This year, I was going in to watch my cousin, Matt. He is paralyzed and his friend Lucas pushes him in the marathon. I found out hours before that Matt was sick and could not make it. My friend and I decided to go in anyway. She had never been and I told her how great it is. We found a spot right on Newbury St close to the finish line. We walked over and stood behind the row of flags, just 10 feet away from where the first bomb would go off. I remembered that my friend’s sister worked at Apple and that I was in the market for a new power cord, so we walked down there and then decided to walk back to the same spot. As we walked, I don’t know what made me stop, but I asked if she wanted to stop just before UNO Pizzeria, having walked just about 150 ft past where bomb #2 would go off 10 minutes later. I don’t remember much of anything after this until my friend and I were running away, down the streets of Boston to get as far away as possible.
The effects I had for the time after the marathon were difficult and confusing. I was numb for a week with anxiety which changed over to even more anxiety, sadness, and breakdowns. I had many emotions and felt disconnected from everyone and everything around me. I don’t know if it would have been easier or harder to go through had I remembered what I saw that day. I have very small pieces of what I saw but looking back at some texts I sent about an hour after and from what a few family members and friends have told me, I saw some horrible things and I told them about it before I went numb and forgot it all. I know now that it will come back and it will be better for me in the long run if I help ease it back now. I have been determined since the start to be myself again and move past this as best I can and I have been told I’ve done everything right. It is still a struggle every day. I have trouble being alone so getting work done has been a slow process and I thank my amazing and patient clients for all of their understanding. I have never been more thankful for my family, friends, community and clients. I always feel blessed for all of them, but now, more than ever. I’m also very thankful for my life. I struggled with a lot of guilt those first few weeks. I felt guilt about leaving and not helping; guilt about my body shutting down on me and going through the mental effects I was facing when there were people injured and I felt I should just be okay and happy to be alive; guilt about everything. It took me time to realize this was normal and that I didn’t need to feel that. And, I have been thankful for my life since day 1. I have been very aware that, had I been even 50 feet closer, things would be a lot different.
So, that is why I have been quiet and there has not been a lot of output here at Nicole O’Neil Photography. I am working hard to get all work done and have many great sessions coming up that I will be sharing. My work is very important to me and it feels great to be back at it. I also used it as a way to work through all of this. Below, there are a lot of pictures I took of the Marathon Memorial in Copley Square.
I will also be starting a project in the coming months surrounding my marathon experience. I will be reaching out to people who were at the marathon (runners, responders, spectators, injured) to do a project (to be announced later) through photography that will raise money for victims and their families. I have known since the first week that I wanted to do this. Stay tuned for it.
Again, thank you for your patience and understanding. I am back working and things are a little slow, but I will be caught up and back on track in no time. I am filling up for the coming months, so make sure if you want to book something, you contact me soon!
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5/15/2013 01:35:39 am
Thank you for sharing everything you are going through. It certainly made me realize how many more people have been affected and to what extent. I'm sorry you have had to see such horrible things and experience such anxiety. I truly believe that your photography will not only help you heal but heal others as well.
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