Vessel Statement Vessel was published by Fifth Wheel Press in 2020 as a 68 page monograph. The series is a documentation of the physical and mental changes after a medically necessary hysterectomy at 23. The process of creating the series was also an act of healing and reclamation of autonomy after years of misinformed medical treatment leading to a chronic internal disconnection from selfhood. Weaving together both documentation and symbolism, Vessel creates space for a new identity to emerge. This project is a self portraiture project that dives into immensely personal experience to speak about reproductive and systemic health issues, particularly highlighting the pressure to retain fertility as a young, perceived as cis woman. In the years leading up to the removal of most of my diseased reproductive system, I repeatedly heard that I should have children while I was still able, despite being in no position to do so, and with no desire to. Beet juice flows between the pages of Vessel, the viscous red fluid mirroring menstrual blood. It was important for me to perform control over the flow of this material after experiencing menstruation for the equivalent of 6 months in the year prior to my hysterectomy. I hint at rituals, prayers that I never asked for in regards to my fertility, labor-like pains from uterine contractions, a final baptism at the end of the series christening myself with my new (rediscovered) identity. Vessel is an object of healing and a narrative of becoming acquainted with selfhood and physical body, uniting the two through self portraiture and metaphor weaving. It creates space to consider reproductive health and the challenges associated with accessing comprehensive care for people with a uterus. The project also speaks to coming out later in life and the connection between feeling safe in a physical body and feeling safe to connect to selfhood authentically.