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.