expectations of reality: if someone hits you, you know you are real and that they love you. She
finally has something (a visual document, something that is hers) to tell her these things are true
and real. She knows that she is hurting but she is doing it all right and does not know another
way to exist. Somehow, she was alive and that is good enough. However, this feeling is
temporary. As time has gone by, Goldin gains distance and she can more easily adopt the
viewpoint of a stranger. The cognitive-dissonance gained by time allows an atomic moment of
perception of, but not immediate identification with, a departed-self. To the stranger, the bruise is
an indicator of the social and psychological space Goldin occupied and what she learned during
her occupation there. Goldin could not help that she learned violence was a form of care at some
prior time in her life. A stranger easily finds empathy and compassion for Goldin through this
image. It is explosive and crumbling to understand an empathy and understanding of yourself
that you have only ever known for another person. The violent nature of this rupture between the
self and not-self disintegrates prior notions of the self. The Self is prompted to completely let go
of and rebuild these previously conceived ideas of The Self. Along with thinking of photographic
impulses as a way that the departed-selves channel messages to her, this moment functions
similarly for the departed-selves paranormal activity. Similar to how Lorde calls on Seboulisa
ma, Girl, Departed calls on her departed-selves to “help [her] remember what [she has] paid so
much to learn.”
Her departed-selves show her lessons learned and accomplishments forgotten;
they show her the strength, magnitude, hurt, and pain that was required to get to where she is
today. This visuality of her past and present reality expands her ideas of herself. Consequently,
the way the violence she endured and how it continued to psychologically affect her has ceased.
She now has the toolkit to negotiate the negative beliefs she holds about herself and the world
and she can begin to restructure.
Lorde, The Cancer Journals.