On selfies and self-love

I took my first selfie back in 2006 and it was a revelation. It felt like art, like self-examination and self-discovery. When I joined MySpace and then Facebook and could post and share those photos it became almost a political act. To post a selfie was to say, “Look how beautiful I am!” and society doesn’t quite approve of that. If you are beautiful, you are not supposed to brag about it, and if you are not conventionally beautiful you are supposed to accept your place and not go against convention. Either way, you are not supposed to believe in your own beauty. For one thing, where would all the makers of beauty products be if women got out of bed already loving ourselves? And there’s a snarkiness there, too, we women judging each other. A pretty photo taken by a friend is okay, but put the camera in our own hands and we start to whisper, “narcissist.”

I love the camera in my own hands. I love to paint portraits of myself, to see my different angles, to turn the camera on when I am sad, or celebratory, or angry, to see what that does to the muscles in my face. I have learned about myself through taking my own picture. And I have learned to love myself, too. We are strangely disconnected from our own outward appearance, especially those of us who tend to be lost in thought. Sometimes when someone speaks to me I startle, surprised that they can actually see me, when I myself feel far away, as if I am watching the scene around me through a screen. It’s good to see myself on the screen sometimes. It’s grounding. I feel more present, I feel like a spirit with a face and body, more like the people whose faces and bodies I see every day.

I take my picture in bed sometimes. I took it when I was lying in bed, sick with migraines and depression. I took it when I gained 50lbs and lost it. I took it when I cut my hair and as it grew back. I took it when I was brave and went for a walk in the autumn leaves, back when leaving the house was an act of courage. I took it when I was even more courageous and waited for the T to take me to a job interview. I took pictures with the kids I nannied, and with friends. Last weekend I took a series of selfies as I sat at Starbucks and the library, writing, investing in my dream, dressed in my favorite, most hopeful colors.

Look how beautiful I am. Look how beautiful I was, fat and thin, sad and joyful, messy-haired and made-up all nice. And you are beautiful, too.

Photo_101609_002Photo_092408_003 (2)Photo_051209_003Photo_042909_003Photo_041809_003Photo_091609_001Photo_041408_003Photo_041108_001Photo_031109_002JessT (2)jessshorthairjessicagreyjess1120529-140250IMG_0904IMG_0353JessLibrary1 WIN_20150116_084806 WIN_20150306_120210 WIN_20150321_121341 WIN_20150522_190335 WIN_20150621_171627 WIN_20150715_172240 WIN_20150725_090920 WIN_20151005_182832 WIN_20151005_183111 WIN_20151030_131611  WIN_20151107_212045 WIN_20151225_104101 WIN_20151225_222459 WIN_20160301_16_16_22_Pro (2)  WIN_20160301_18_39_45_Pro WIN_20160310_19_41_59_ProWIN_20151031_154723 WIN_20160310_19_49_34_Pro WIN_20160319_19_48_17_Pro WIN_20160404_10_28_54_Pro WIN_20160417_10_31_30_Pro WIN_20160417_11_27_28_Pro WIN_20160417_12_53_03_Pro (2)

Advertisements

3 comments on “On selfies and self-love

  1. I have yet to take a selfie . . . I guess I need to get with it!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Juanita says:

    I love your thoughts on this especially as a woman and an older woman. The world doesn’t want us to own our beauty, but our Creator does. I also love that you shared dozens of these photos. You are awesome and beautiful.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Susi says:

    I forgot that short haircut and loved it again today. Thanks for taking selfies and talking about it and pushing me to find and love beauty in me. I do not take selfies because I have liked so few photos of myself–I can count on less than one hand the number–so I try not to take them at all, telling myself that I am more beautiful in real life…at least I hope I am, but perhaps I need to up the odds?

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s