Kaylah Dixon

In Between Every Thing

Where do I even start? I suppose my name would be a good idea? Hello interweb! I am Kaylah and I’m truly honored to share some of my story and perspective with Girls Block today. I’ll be doing this by discussing a few key points and realizations I’ve come to about an ongoing personal project I’ve been knowingly (and unknowingly) working on for nearly a decade titled “In Between Every Thing”…

Over the years, I’ve imagined this moment in so many different ways and even still I never did imagine it coming to this: sharing such intimate, almost secretive aspects of my existence on such an empowering platform. At the end of the day the questions that still come to mind are: How could I not share this with you? What do I have to lose? The answers are simply that there isn’t a single reason to not share my deepest parts with the world and what on earth could I possibly lose that I haven’t felt like I’ve already lost. Something that brings me closer to my truth is documenting my experience in all the ways that I possibly can. Whether that be photographing, writing, doodling or collecting little bits of sweet nothings that when pieced together, make a whole lot of sense to me. I’m a people person and always have been, but most recently, I’ve started understanding the beauty that is my own inner being. She’s been in there the whole time and I’m sad to say she’s been often over looked due to the fact that I’ve always put my whole heart into caring for other people. It’s taken me nearly 22 years to really decide that I want to know myself in all the ways— all the beauty and flaws.

I feel like one of the reasons that I have only now began to share ideas of my project is that I fear judgment from not only other beings, but myself as well. Often what I am most afraid of is merely a projection of the negative slurs my inner-bummer-being likes to scream inside of my head. It’s been a little (a lot) scary working on a project so directly inspired by my life experiences and because of this I am continuing to pay extra close attention to how I depict and display myself through this visual representation of who I really am. I’ve had plenty of experience in the past with self-deprecation and low self-esteem issues and am still struggling in the present to stay afloat in this stop-and-go traffic flow of positivity. I think that’s normal for a gal in her twenties and every day I remind myself of who I think I am (an ever-changing being) and where it is I know I want to be in the present and future. With that being said, most of “In Between” represents my love/hate relationship with nostalgia and how it has affected my experience on earth in the best and worst ways. Remembering and documenting my past has brought me almost full circle to my present.

This project is beginning, ending and continuing all at once— it is a visual representation of who I am and how I’ve grown into the human being I am up to this point in my life. As I am still currently working on the project, I have the ability to kinda change things around as I go, but I am positive in the decision of how it will begin to unfold. Image sets intertwined and layered on with deep, personal thoughts and mementos from my childhood will be what guides the viewer into the rest of this mess I call my life. At this moment, my favorite aspect of “In Between” is its lack of consistency and linear timeline. As far back as my memory can go, I remember my habit of collecting and giving anything and every thing sentimental value or a place for safe keeping. Ancient, fading plane and train tickets, photographs of family members I never knew, letters from young and lost loves— I kept a box that was off limits to anyone who wasn’t me and just kept adding to it over the years. That box held all of my deepest and darkest secrets about different experiences that fascinated me, relationships I’ve been in, old baby pictures serving as proof that I’ve literally grown up, feelings I’ve never spoken of out loud, pieces of paper with random times of the day jotted down and highlighter bleeding through. It wasn’t until around this time last year that I decided to pull the box out of my shadowed, red wooden wardrobe and give it some daylight. Ever since that moment, I’ve been letting it all come back to me— the memories and the moments that I hadn’t quite forgotten about, but tucked away for a later date when I was finally ready to fully process it all and release it into the world. It’s almost like my soul knew this project was put in place for me before my own mind connected the dots.

I’ve been juggling a lot of change in the past several years and this merry go round of experiences has made me realize that “In Between” is meant to be worked on and out simultaneously. I also came to the conclusion that no matter what, all of this must be finished by the end of this year because it’s nothing short of necessary now that I release it all into the winds of my past. It’s time to really let go. Graduating college, entering and exiting deeply personal relationships, moving away from a city that I feel I truly “grew up” in… it’s all been a lot to process and transition is even harder than they say it is. I have no intention of sugarcoating or leaving any information out of this work because this is all I’ve really got. I want it to be raw and full of harsh, genuine truth that is real life. That is my life and maybe yours too. Real, raw, harsh truthfulness spread out on the floor like a collage of old familiar photographs that someone else captured but it was like they were inside your head while doing so. I want whoever’s reading my creation to resonate so closely to what it is they’re experiencing in my work that they feel like it’s their own story. That’s really all that matters to me— that my work can be related to. I don’t really care if anyone “cares” about it. Caring comes and goes, but relating to a story that is not your own but feels like it is on a whole other level of understanding and empathizing. So much of this is me just really trying to empathize with myself in the way that I do with others and see myself in all the ways that I’ve wanted to while accepting the parts of myself that I dislike or disassociate with the most. Physical, tangible proof that I am coming into who I am. Waking up some days and feeling like I’ve just been 22 and was born into the world this way. Every thing feels so new and old and is happening too fast or too slow. Asking myself the hard questions, conversing with all the different versions of myself from the past and present. It’s hard to see who I will be in the future so I really try and not focus on that, but I do catch myself daydreaming about it from time to time.

Transparency and self-acceptance are the ultimate goals and each day that I give myself to this work, I feel myself getting closer to some truths that have taken a long time to unlock within my mind. It’s not all easy, it’s most definitely not at all pretty— but the experience in itself feels extremely rewarding and real and hard to deal with and that’s how I know all of this is benefiting me in ways that I’m not even aware of yet. I hope I’ve been able to explain this in a way that makes sense and just know that so much of what I am doing is inspired by those who accept me for who I am before I even knew what that meant or how it could be achieved. Accepting myself for all of me and my parts. If you’re interested in keeping up with the process of how the book is coming together, a tentative release date, or have any questions at all, feel free to contact me on my website www.kaylahdixon.com!