Today Kat McNally’s Reverb15 prompt for us is:
Go on, show us your selfie! You know you want to.
I had to laugh when I saw it. Because, no Kat, I don’t actually want to. But what’s the point of Reverb15 and self-reflection if we aren’t willing to dig a little and look at the hard questions?
And if I’m honest here’s a place where I feel I’ve lost a little ground this year. I’ve always had a pretty extreme I-hate-seeing-myself-in-photos attitude, but a couple years ago I did a year-long project, taking a selfie a day. It was an incredibly powerful and liberating experience; the extent of which was a genuine surprise to me. It was profoundly fascinating to me, how I could mostly really love who I am inside, and yet not hold very much love or compassion for what my “outsides” looked like. And it forced me to look at all the ways I had, despite protesting otherwise, adopted a societal view that literally holds shaming contempt or indifferent dismissal for those of us who don’t conform to ridiculously narrow standards of beauty, thinness, or youth. I came away from that year of selfies practice holding myself with so much more genuine love.
But alas, I think there was some slippage here this year – a step or two back in the wrong direction. Probably because this year has been filled with lots of grief and extra tiredness, there were very few pictures of myself that didn’t reflect that. And the door that I had so firmly shut cracked open again and out rushed a stream of harsh critical judgment. Sigh. Clearly more work needs to be done here.
On the other hand, I DID take a photo yesterday that I actually quite like. And I can’t help but laugh, because I’m pretty sure that’s exactly the kind of cosmic wink that reminds me to get a grip and that all is well. This was taken with my phone, which has a really terrible camera, and so everything looks strangely grainy. I love that. And I love that I’m laughing. It’s one of my better looks.
I also did another “selfie” I love earlier this year which delights me as well. Many years ago I created a papercut image of myself to use for an interview in an art zine, and I’ve used it extensively since as an iconic image. This year I began working on a project which I gave a secret code name to – Nectar Formation. And in honor of that project and the energy I was invoking I popped my “selfie” head on a bee body and propped the image up on one of my altars. Here I am in all my apian glory.
Now your turn. Are you a selfie lover? Have a favorite photo of yourself? Ever give secret code names to things for the sheer delight of it? Do tell – you know I love to hear. And if you’re inspired do head over to Kat’s blog and take a peek at who else is participating with this prompt.
Deborah! I am really struck by your honesty about how you feel being photographed. I love both images that you posted here. I think you have such a “great” look going on with your big eyes framed by your artsy glasses and your short brown expressive hair. Great art too! Your life sounds so rich and deep!
Thanks for the kind words Hallelujah. I’m really struck by how you answered the prompt and once again am both delighted and grateful for opportunity Reverb15 gives us to both self-reflect and see each other with greater clarity.
That is one gorgeous photo Deborah! That’s a pretty good idea to take a selfie a day and get to know one’s self on the outside too. I don’t photograph well at all … and will probably mess up even more with selfie … but I may well take my courage in hand and give this a whirl.
Hope your year end is happier and that the new year gets off very well …
Thanks for the kind wishes Susan. And here’s to us all taking courage in hand. Brave and beautiful and on our leading edges.
My kids will tell you that while I’m not fond of taking selfies I do have alternate names for many things. My car for example is “box on wheels” … Most originated years ago when I shared the fact that our dog could speak.
LOL – of course you’re dog could speak. I would expect nothing less from the magical MccKenzie household.
Secret code names and cosmic winks??!! Oh My…. It sounds like you are rebounding to embrace yourself with love, joy and magic. I love the new picture lit up with smiles and enthusiasm but of course the apian portrait is my fav…. you are a pollinator of wisdom, insight and beauty.
Rebounding! Now that’s a fabulous energy to carry forward with me Corky – thanks.
That’s a fabulous photograph to reflect all the joy and happiness you spread through your blog Deborah – it’s lovely to put a face to the words 🙂
Why thank you Fil – what a kind thing to say!
Love both your selfies! I’m not fond of my selfies nowadays. Maybe I need to do a selfie a day project to get over that.
One of the things I like about this time of year is how we give ourselves permission to think about all the things we might like to do in the coming months. It feels like such a rich opportunity to explore. Opening to spacious possibility before needing to bring things into more manageable focus. I’ll be interested to hear if a daily selfie project makes it on your list.
I can take selfies and I can post them (unedited) without resistance, but I don’t see the big deal about them either… I don’t get it why everyone is so obsessed with selfies. Maybe I need to do your year-long project to find out! Good to see your smiling face 🙂
Good for you Tat! And that makes you an excellent role model for your daughters – help them hold on to their own innate sense of self-love and confidence despite societal programming.
Hi Deborah – I hate selfies … or even photos of me … just not good – but I like your idea of getting used to your looks over a year! This one of you looks just fine – but I like your sidebar photo too … and then your creative side with Mrs Bee – clever …
It’s such an interesting complicated, ever-evolving dance isn’t it Hilary? Thanks for your kind words.
Congrats on the selfie. I think you are beautiful. My daughter always chides me (she’s 14, what can I say?) about how sadness is not beautiful. I silently, wholeheartedly disagree. I would encourage you not only to continue exploring selfies, but explore the sad ones as well. There is deep beauty in loss. It reminds us of the preciousness through which we walk this life.
Wise words from my favorite taoist! You’re right and I will.
Love the cosmic wink of your selfie reminding you to revisit the year-long selfie practice and reacquiant yourself with your love for the outer, as well as the inner YOU, because you are DEFINTELY a ‘pollinator of wisdom, insight and beauty’! I think your selfie is a wonderful and accurate reflection of who you are – bright, cheerful and playful, in addition to being wise, insightful and beautiful =)
Such kind thoughts and words Monica – thank you!
Deborah I love your selfie. All that beauty inside and out. Thank you for sharing. When I think of you and read your blog, I see such a grace about you. A pure soul of love and compassion and it comes through in your picture. It can’t help but shine through.
Such kind words Tracy. But that’s my hope for all of us – that we let ourselves shine from the inside out.
Good for you Deborah! I feel the same way about having photos taken and it only gets worse as I get older. I can’t take selfies because I have a flip phone, oh well. There’s always room for growth, right? You have a beautiful smile Deborah!
I’m totally with you Nancy on the knowing that there’s always room for growth. I can’t wait to see what we’ll all stretch into in 2016.
Hi Deborah! I’m not doing Reverb 15, although it sounds like tons of fun, but I do have to say that I love your photo and I think the idea of a selfie-a-day is a great idea! I am not very fond of pictures of myself either and get especially sad when I see ones from when I was younger (and thinner). Perhaps a selfie a day (or maybe a week or month) next year is in order for me too. Thanks again for your continuing insight!
I’d love to know if you take up the practice Janet, so I hope you write about it if you do. But regardless, I’m thinking lots of self-love and compassion are energy streams we all need to call in for 2016.
I hate all photographs of me; which is why my business card has a drawing instead.
That’s a clever solution!
You. Are. Beautiful.
What a fascinating project of taking selfies for 365 days!!! It’s funny how we can make progress during that time and then regress once we are out of the habit again.
You are beautiful both inside and out! Hope you are healing from the sadness/tiredness from this year. That thought reminded me of the movie Inside Out where they learned that sadness is good as long as we allow those feelings to flow through us.
Hugs to you my friend….
Thanks for the kind words and thoughts Elda. I agree with that finding that sadness is good if we allow it to flow through. I believe that’s true of all emotions – that they’re meant as information to guide us, not things we should calcify and hang on to.