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Recently, I was looking through about a year’s worth of photos and realized that I have no selfies. None. Nada. Zilch. Zero.
Sure I’m in a few photos. Some are selfie-esqe, like family photos or me and Monkey Boy. There are no photos of me, just me. None. This may seem like a bit of a shock in today’s culture of picture taking and sharing (and don’t get me wrong it is a shock), but not having these selfies reminds me what I’ve been up to for the last couple years.
I’ve been pregnant, battling some self-deprecating thoughts, working a job in which I was very unsatisfied and unhappy, being at home full-time with Baby Boy, and typically not putting more than a t-shirt and yoga/sweat pants on every day.
I fight to use the bathroom on my own, brush my hair, brush my teeth, shower more than once a week, wash my hair at least once very 2 weeks, shave regularly, and do the brow/lip pluck thing at least once a month. I’ve been busy.
My former self, the one that wasn’t pregnant or caring for Baby Boy all day, is more than shocked. I’m not shocked at how busy I am. Nor that I’m unconditionally devoted to building our family and caring for Monkey Boy. I am shocked I rarely take any time to myself.
My former self, though not a shallow, facetious, and superficial person, did take time and effort and pride (yes, money too) investing in herself. She did those things not for approval from others, but for self-confidence and esteem building, or shall I say, acceptance of self.
How does all this tie into the fact that there are no selfies anywhere on my phone or computer?
I’ll tell you. It’s not simply because I’ve been living (or more accurately, struggling to live) life and actualize ideas of living life, so much as it my importance is elsewhere. I don’t think I’m unimportant. More aptly, I think that I have had more important things to focus my time and attention on.
The argument can be made, I’ve lowered the importance of myself. I’ll counter that argument in knowing I’ve found a more important role to focus on each and every day. I’ve found a personal joy that I didn’t know existed. I’ve found that, at least for right now, today, my outside self isn’t nearly as important as my inside self.
What do I mean, you ask?
I mean that I’m taking care of myself in the wholly living ways that I find important, healthy foods and water, playing outside in the fresh air, and loving on Baby Boy!
So, you see, my interior self is cared for in a much more complete way. I’m more fulfilled than ever.
I no longer feel a sense of lacking based on external forces. I’m not complacent that I now have a loving, growing family. I am fulfilled.
And that, my friends, is more important. Making sure my cuticles aren’t jagged and peeling, my nails are all clipped evenly and filed, and I shaved more than once that week aren’t important.
So, I don’t have any selfies today and I don’t really need them.
Before we go on, let’s take a step back and look at my history with selfies and why they were once so important to me.
About 8 years ago, I started wanting to have pictures of myself. I enlisted the help of one of my sisters, other friends, and of course, myself. There were pictures all types of pictures of me. Some pictures were more private than others, I wore different clothing styles, and took pictures in different places.
Many of these pictures, no, Most of these pictures were selfies. They were selfies before the term selfie was as popular as it is now.
I took pictures of my hair, my nails, whatever. I had hundreds and hundreds of pictures taken.
Before this time, I wasn’t much of a picture person. I’d often forget to take pictures of things and events, let alone myself. I lacked so much self-confidence and self-love. No part of me believed in me. Only a very small and practically silent part of me cherished me, honored me, respected me, or had any love for me. No part of me thought I was the least bit important – to myself or others.
It’s a wonder I never took to drinking or drugs I had such little self-confidence and self-love. Way way way (many years) before this time, I wasn’t sure if I should or could go on in life. I was a troubled person. I was troubled for years before this picture taking frenzy started. Not troubled in the way of alcohol and drugs or illicit sex, but internally troubled.
I’d accomplished much and was quite intelligent, but lacked confidence. Frankly, I didn’t even really know myself at these times.
So, I started taking pictures and I really didn’t stop for quite some time.
I began to realize and recognize that I needed, I mean really really really needed to take pictures of myself. I needed to see, in pictures, what others saw.
I needed to see that I took care of myself and presented myself well.
I needed to see the smile that I received many compliments about.
I needed to see the eyes and how they changed color or showed my happiness or sadness.
I needed to see. I needed to see me, for me, just as I was.
I needed to see how my hair lay and what colors did to my complexion.
I needed all this in order to begin to grasp an inkling of what others saw in me; the passionate, strong, independent, confident, intelligent, beautiful, interesting, smiling, laughing, knowledgeable, person that others saw.
I had never seen this person others spoke so highly of. Not only had I never seen her, I didn’t even know her.
I didn’t know who it was that lie beneath the darker colored clothing, the drab look, the eczema blemished-scaly-dry skin, the long wrinkly fingers, and big feet. I had absolutely no idea who that person was under all the negative self-talk/think and not so great life experiences.
I wanted to meet that person, find out about her, and see what I could do to bring her to light. I wasn’t tired of the person I saw in the mirror every day, I was tired of “not getting it” though.
Through this experiment I conducted with the selfies (along with some other help and support), I slowly began to see myself differently.
I slowly began to see that I did have a womanly shape.
I slowly began to notice that colors other than black, dark blue, grey, and brown suited me (and suited me well).
I started to see that my smile is infectious because it is bright and big and yes, I show my teeth. Smiling in any other way doesn’t really suit me or my face.
Then, I started to notice that if I took the time, I felt more confident and then I acted on that feeling of confidence.
I noticed things that I liked or enjoyed to do. I noticed that taking care of myself and both my internal and external needs, resulted in a happier, livelier, stronger, more confident, and fulfilled me.
I learned a great many other things, too. I learned that I like long socks. I learned that I need time to unwind and disconnect from others, from the world, so that I can reconnect with myself. I learned that this is ok.
I learned that I am not my mother, or my father, or my sister.
I learned that I can take care of me and I can do it well.
I learned that I know more than I think I do. I learned that passion is ok and I learned ways in which to fuel my passions.
I learned that I loved who I was.
I gained a better understanding of how my fears and lack of understanding and available positive role-models, kept me hiding behind the negative and the dark, kept me silent, kept me separate, and (yes) afraid. I learned that I could break free of all that and I’d be a-ok.
I learned that I, yes I, was worth it.
So I kept taking pictures.
The selfies then turned into simple selfies, without all the deep interior struggle. Selfies were no longer an exploration of myself. They no longer served the same purpose, they just were.
But they were different. There was a difference in the facial expression, in the acceptance and love I had for myself.
The selfies no longer held lessons and insights into who I was anymore, they were just pictures – nothing more or less, simply pictures marking a time (often with friends).
I had actually and truly grown into myself.
It wasn’t much longer before Hun and I met.
There are a few pictures of just us, but now there are so many pictures of just Monkey Boy or one of us with Monkey Boy.
My phone holds mostly pictures of Monkey Boy or Hun and Monkey Boy together. Hun’s phone though, has pictures of me, Monkey Boy, and Monkey Boy and I together.
That’s my life today. And, you know what, I’m damn proud of it!
So, despite the initial twinge of wonder, there’s no question or doubt as to why there are no selfies. And, you know what, I’m perfectly ok with that. Actually, I’m (almost) happy there aren’t an abundance of selfies anymore.