Corey Hudson: “I’m not alone. You’re not alone. We are all human.”
Maxine Minalga – Special to Southern News
Traveling around the world for his newest project: “Every Heart Has a Story to Tell,” photographer Corey Hudson, asked the members of the audience to raise their hands if they felt these emotions.
“How many of you have ever felt alone?” Several audience members held their hand high. “Depressed?” Hudson continued, “Anxious? Helpless? Not good enough? Afraid of judgment? Ashamed? Broken? I’m not alone. You’re not alone. We are all human.”
Through hardships with family, Hudson grew a close bond with his two sisters. As a young elementary student, Hudson didn’t know how to handle his emotions, so he acted out in school. He didn’t know how to ask for help.
“No one really understands what you’re going home to,” said Hudson.
As Hudson got older, he learned to cope in different ways. But these various ways of coping were highly ineffective as Hudson turned to drugs and alcohol to numb the pain. On top of this, Hudson started realizing his sexuality and was constantly bullied. As a result, he became very introverted and kept to himself. He didn’t feel the need to try and fit in because he felt like he didn’t belong anywhere.
“What I learned growing up was to repress who I was,” he said.
When Hudson was 16 he was admitted to the hospital for cutting and journaling suicidal thoughts.
When he was on a break from the hospital, he met up with his friends and starting abusing drugs again. When he was let out he continued drug abuse, but he started meeting people who were doing well with their lives. He started dating, but all of the men he dated were abusive alcoholics and they lead Hudson back to a low point in his life once again.
“I never took time to love myself – I was looking for someone to do that for me,” said Hudson.
There was a reoccurring theme of repression in Hudson’s life.
“I didn’t see any light at the end of the tunnel at all,” said Hudson.
Before the cops showed up, Hudson remembers looking around his house. There he contemplated different ways of suicide. When the cops asked if Hudson was okay, he surrendered and was brought back to the hospital.
He remembers being surrounded by people who are hurt and seeing himself in every one of those people. He asked a 60-year-old woman who tried to commit suicide her story and he shared his story in exchange. He did this with many other patients in the hospital creating innumerable connections with each person.
“I wanted to combine my photography with inspiring words,” he said. “Over the course of seven months, I interviewed over 1,200 people and asked what they’re grateful for.”
It was in these stories Hudson noticed a pattern. By asking people what they’re grateful for, he found deeper stories underneath.
“Why do I do this?” said Hudson, “to inspire every person in the world. I see it changing peoples’ lives. Listening doesn’t cost a thing.”
Denise Zack of the counseling department at Southern, pointed out that Hudson not only asks people their stories, but also makes sure to always follow up with how they got through it.
Hudson is leaving for eight weeks to travel across country interviewing more people for his project, “Every Heart Has a Story to Tell.” If anyone would like to be interviewed by Hudson or share their story, they can find him on Facebook to set up an appointment.
“You’ll see my epic beard in the photo,” said Hudson. “And remember, you have a choice to choose either love or fear, but life gets a lot easier when you choose love.”
Photo Credit: Dylan Haviland – Arts & Entertainment Editor