Friday, January 6, 2017

Gal Pal Society:Carissa

Throughout life, we meet individuals who capture our hearts without hesitation, and present a sense of  intrigue and wonder among meeting them. I met Carissa through a mutual friend just a few short months ago, where we attended a local hockey game. It was quite frankly the easiest interaction I've ever had with a female, and thus a refreshing night spent laughing among the rowdy crowd. Her transparency regarding the good and bad of her life inspired me greatly, and her sincere heart towards others is what make Carissa the beautiful being that she is.
There aren't many people in the world that would be as genuine and forthcoming about trials in their lives that others might mock or persecute you for in an instant, but Carissa is as translucent and bold as they come. Not to mention, the girl is HILARIOUS, and I envy her comedic timing, and capabilities of her abundant wit and charm.
We spent the afternoon in her old and ongoing favorite Cincinnati neighborhood of Northside chatting about life, tattoos, photography,music, guilty pleasures, and everything in between. Although our friendship is as fresh as they come, anyone lucky enough to have met Carissa in their lifetime will understand why I was so eager to feature her. 
"I'm not a big coffee drinker, but if I see something that sounds interesting enough on the menu, I'll just go with it"
" I ordered these shoes and a bunch of chokers on Amazon. I was specifically searching for jelly shoes and stumbled upon these beauties".
"People ask me if I'm a big fan of Disney because of my tattooes. I say I'm more of a fan of the villans".
                                                                             
 What is your current occupation, and what do you enjoy most about it?
I am a "system prop stylist", which means I prep products to be photographed for commercial houseware catalogs. I am technically freelance, but am currently doing a lot with the company, Frontgate. It’s a very fast paced environment that keeps me on my toes, and although I tend to get injured and asked to do odd jobs like steam fresh oysters, or stand in a fancy pool fully clothed I do greatly enjoy it and the team I work alongside.

What’s the strangest thing you’ve done or seen on the job?
 One time we shot in the Black Dahlia house which was lived in by the actual black dahlia serial killer.  It was interesting yet eerie knowing that we were walking the same halls and standing on the same lawn where his victims had suffered, died and were eventually buried. No one currently lives in the home but it is believed there are still the bodies of victims within the walls and buried in the yard, which was somewhat unsettling.

 If you could photograph anyone who would it be?
Probably anyone that’s heavily tattooed or practices some sort of body modification. Really anyone that is unique and physically different. I have many celebrities in mind I’d more so rather meet and fan girl over than take their photo but overall those that interest me most are individuals that scream weird.

 Any new years resolutions/goals?
I hate that I believe in new years resolutions, but yes I really would like to get back into photographing people. I have a lot of portrait ideas, and  am craving more personally driven creativity in my life these days.

What made you decide to start a blog about your struggles with mental health? Do you feel it has helped in your recovery?
I’ve always enjoyed writing, and it has always been very therapeutic for me. I began blogging this past summer so it’s new, but I really enjoy putting my thoughts down on paper, and using my personal story as a tool to help others. I was diagnosed with "bipolar disorder" and "borderline personality disorder" at age 16 to which lead me to therapy shortly after. My therapist thought I had made enough progress in my treatment so he said I no longer needed his help months later. I definitely believed I was on the right track, but soon my violent outbursts came flooding back and I was not equipped to handle them on my own, so I checked myself into a facility last year and stayed there for eight days. When I was released I spent the next several months searching for a new therapist and getting my medications sorted out. I was lucky to have found a therapist I really trust, and finally have medications, and coping skills for my once violent outbursts towards others, that I'm now able to manage in a healthy way. I hope that those that take the time to read through my blog can be educated in some way about mental health, especially because we live in a world where "mental illness" is labeled so harshly and most see as a very scary thing, but it's not if you show empathy towards those whom might be struggling.
Carissa has a personal blog, where she shares more of her story and struggles in depth. It's definitely worth the read! (Link is directly below)
A Silence So Loud

Describe yourself in three words?
Creative, Weird, Adventurous.

 Your three favorite attributes?
I’m trying to be more giving of my time, or resources. I hate seeing people I care about struggling, so I've offered to pay vet bills or write school papers, even if I don't necessarily have the means to do so. I'd like to focus more of my energy on giving any way I can.
I’m very spontaneous and open to trying new things. I once got a pineapple tattoo on a total whim which was one of the milder things I've done. At 16, I jumped into my parent's car, barefoot, at midnight, and attempted to run away with the ocean in mind. A cop ended up stopping me and I was taken in the backseat. It was a mixture of boyfriend issues, and irrational tendencies that come with borderline personality. Fun!
I’m also quite entertaining. I believe a lot of my goofiness stems from wanting others to be happier than what I've been throughout my life. Robin Williams once stated (regarding his depression):
“I think the saddest people always try their hardest to make people happy because they know what it’s like to feel absolutely worthless and they don’t want anyone else to feel like that.”
I think this idea is most definitely true, and I relate strongly to it.

 Something you did/accomplished this past year you’re most proud of?
For sure making all the progress I’ve had with my therapy. I'm NOW on the right path and am proud of where I'm headed.

 What are girls doing wrong in regards to sisterly friendships?
Too much comparison with jobs, family dynamics, weight, self-image. Not really recognizing that everyone has different pasts, and their own life timing is different. Societal pressure seems to have ladies turning against one another with comparison even in the healthiest friendships.I’m guilty of doing the same in my own life, which takes away from the capability of recognizing others successes and celebrating that.

If you chose a female who was on some level of "heroin" status in your eyes whom would you choose and why?
It's an offbeat choice, but Tina Fey.I appreciate her sass, wit and sense of humor. If I could unrealistically meld Amy Poehler and Tina Fey into one being that would be my ultimate, but regardless Tina Fey is my jam.

What is the most profound advice you were given by a female, and whom was it from?
Basically any advice from my sister is great advice: stay true to yourself, try to be empathetic and compassionate to others, but stand up for yourself if someone is trying to take advantage of that.

Carissa,
I'm not only thankful for you, your honesty, and your beautiful presence, but you have truly inspired me among this process of featuring you. You have taught me so much in the short time we've known each other, and I can see why you are beloved by so many. Seriously, never stop being you, and never get rid of the pink hair!



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