Over the years as this blog has grown from being a space where I share personal thoughts and reflections on life, race and current events with a limited readership to a space publicly linked to my professional life, I have intentionally limited what I share about my personal life. However there are times when the issues that I am facing in my personal life feel universal and I think that they are worth sharing despite knowing that sharing is sometimes uncomfortable.
In a few short days, I will celebrate another year of life and while this past year threw a lot at me, it was also a year of making peace with myself. In a strange way the growing angst of my thirties was put in place by the selfie of all things.
Since my early 30s, I have had a tumultuous relationship with my physical self, to be blunt; I didn’t care for how I looked. It was in my 30s where after a lifetime of being at a stable weight that I put on a significant amount of weight. The whys are unimportant though a good deal of it did come from medical issues that have since been resolved. In the past I have written about my journey with Weight Watchers, where after several years I took off all the weight and in the past couple of years have put some of it back on.
However the closer I moved to 40, the more I found myself really not feeling comfortable in my own skin, so much so that there are few pictures of me in the family scrapbook. I realized that sometime ago and as someone who only has a handful of pictures of family members who are now deceased, it pains me greatly. I cherish the few pictures that I do have of my mother and wish that there were more pictures of her to share with my own kids.
One of the reasons that I stopped allowing pictures to be taken of myself in my 30s was because frankly 99% of the pictures that were taken of me were not flattering at all. Granted I know my loved ones would not care but I cared and as a result when I was not feeling good about my physical being, the last thing I wanted was unflattering pictures to document it.
Enter the selfie, I suspect that anyone reading this space is familiar with what a selfie is and while much has been written about the narcissistic nature of the selfie, I beg to differ. Selfies may have started off as a way for teens and young adults to pass the time but as the world recently saw, even the president of the United States has been known to take a selfie.
While there are many who still shake their head over the idea of adults taking pictures of themselves and sharing them with others, I can say that for this middle aged woman, taking pictures of myself allowed me to actually see myself in a light that I am comfortable with having documented for myself, my family and the world at large.
In a culture that worships thinness, youth, and whiteness, in taking control of my own image as an aging, not so thin, Black woman I am making peace with myself as I am but also showing others that I exist and that it is okay to be who you are. Much of the internal work that I have done in recent years has brought me to this point where I can once again be comfortable in my own skin and let the world know it. In that spirit I am taking part in the #365feministselfie project where once a day (or every few days) I take a picture of myself and share it on Instagram. While outside attention and validation are nice, that isn’t the point for me, I am claiming my space on this dusty rock and publicly making peace with my physical self.
So I am boldly entering my 41st year of life on rocky terrain but it’s a little less rocky than it was just a few short years ago. And maybe that’s because I can picture my personal terrain a bit better with the selfie.
5 thoughts on “A lady and her selfie or how the selfie helped me get my groove back”
I love this selfie! Jealous of those glasses, especially…
Excellent idea and actions. This photo is awesome!
I am so glad for your blog, inspiring in multiple ways from the get go. Thank you from the bottom of my heart and soul. Seconding the thoughts above, too!
You are beautiful. Totally.
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