Souls Of The Castro II

Souls Of The Castro II
Photos: Dijon/Souls of Society
By Dijon - Published on February 07, 2015.

We continue our photo series with another installment of brief on-the-street interviews and snapshots from our friend Dijon of Souls of Society.

Today, we present a few portraits taken recently in the Castro.

"What's your favorite part of being a dad?"

"Being selfless, learning patience...and allowing my kid to be a kid.”

“What’s the craziest thing you’ve overcome?”

“Being bi-polar.”

“When were you diagnosed?”

“About 2 years ago, yeah... it’s been quite a roller coaster dealing with all the medication and going to the doctor all the time, being hospitalized and 51-50’d, and now I’m not on medication. I don’t really like medication. It’s been a lot. Losing jobs over it, losing friends.”

“How has it affected your relationships with people?”

“Me and my ex-boyfriend, it totally ruined our relationship. I’ve had a lot of friends be like, ‘You’re just too much, I don’t wanna deal with you, I don’t wanna be friends with you’.”

“That sounds hard. I’ve lost friends because of my intensity too.”

“It’s really common. I kinda didn’t believe the diagnosis for a while until I was cleaning my house at 5am, and I couldn’t stop even though I had to be at work at 9am. Sometimes I wouldn’t sleep for days or not eat and I was down to 105 lbs, and I was finally like... ‘okay, I might need some help’.”

“Have you figured anything that triggers it?”

“Stress definitely. I had a really stressful month, a friend passed away, and I got a concussion and I feel like it triggered me. I get panic attacks.”

“How can people be better friends and more understanding of what you’ve got going on?”

“I mean... just for people to understand when you’re that stressed out and you’re manic, it’s not really you anymore. Just to be understanding and forgiving. Really all I want is for people to talk to me and listen to me. Just you know like... be supportive.”

“What’s the story behind your tattoos?”

“I got the moths because I fell off a motorcycle and one of my knees got really scarred so I wanted to get something to cover it. So I did the first knee and I was like, ‘Whoa! That was one of the most painful things that’s ever happened in my life and now I have to get the other one done, because I got the knee that wasn’t scarred done first.”

“I’ve lived in the city 15 years.”

“What brought you here in the first place?”

“The freedom of the city. You can be openly gay and not have any problems. I came from upstate New York and when I came out of the closet people I had known for 20 years wouldn’t talk to me. I came out to San Francisco on business and realized I was gay... and it was a good thing.”

“Being here helped you step into yourself?”

“Yeah, San Francisco is fabulous in that sense. I don’t know that there’s anywhere else in the country that allows such freedom.”

“What’s your high and low been since you’ve been here?”

“Meeting my husband was my high. And low... there aren’t many. I haven’t been depressed in a long time.”

“That’s a great answer. What’s the secret to your happiness?”

“You make yourself happy with a positive outlook.”

“I came here from Johannesburg to go to school. I love the city. I feel like there are a lot of opportunities to pursue my art.”

“What kind of art do you make?”

“I paint, draw, make prints, t-shirts, I do photographs as well. I play the cello. I make films.”

“You do a lot. Is there anything specific you’re trying to express with your art?”

“Whatever I’m feeling at the time. Whatever stories I find, I try to make them permanent and share them with the world. Share the things I want them to see.”

“What’s your dream for your life?”

“My dream? To be happy, to understand life I guess. To have as many great experiences as I can while I’m here and pass on some of those experiences with future generations.”

For more of Dijon's profiles, visit the Souls of Society Facebook page. And stay tuned for future installments here on Hoodline.