How to disappear completely

Fátima Abreu Ferreira

How to disappear completely is a work of struggle, obsession and complete hallucination.

I´ve worked as a psychologist for over a decade. I had a steady job, a long-time boyfriend and solid expectations about my future: I would marry, have kids, continue to help other people and get older next to my loved ones.

But, around my 33rd birthday something changed.

My partner’s father died the day after my birthday due to lung cancer and our entire world collapsed. The loss made me rethink my entire life and I decided to change my path.

A month after my 33rd birthday I had quit my job and the life I had to return to my childhood home to study and work on photography.

Life has it was had stopped being, and this was a scary notion but not as scary as what came afterwards.

Upon my return, I realized how my family had changed: my nephews grew up, my sisters turned into two estranged women and my mother shrank her soul into her old age. We had all started to loose ourselves after my father passing 10 years before but now, we had no understanding of each other nor of ourselves.

I realized I had also lost track of my friends as they had grown into new families and goals that I didn’t have and my hometown morphed into such a senseless touristic destination that I felt that I could only photograph the surroundings or at night.

I felt displaced. A strange body on a foreign dimension, trying to find myself, lost between the one I should become and the person I used to be.

All my memories had lost their meaning so I began trying to register them again. I photographed my daily life, my family, my friends, I went back to my family photo albums and one thing I´ve discovered is that for me, memory is only relevant as it relates to the present. So, instead of trying to be realistic about what I remembered, I morphed these memories into my present nightmarish sense of self. My displacement.

My dream within a dream.