In the new digital world of relationships, I find myself in the midst of a strange one. My relationship with my self. I know this may sound all vain and selfish but it it has all kinds of uniqueness and smart phones and cameras have almost ‘forced ‘ me to acknowledge the important piece of my puzzle.
As a teen, photos got taken by others so I have many pictures of friends but very few of me. Developing photos was expensive and restricted funds meant that most of our antics were only captured by the mind. Most of my youth goes undocumented so I rely on my siblings, cousins and friends to reflect on what I looked like. My husband has albums full of pictures of mountains, animals and nature but he is nowhere to be seen.
A few decades later, I find myself trotting the globe and am fortunate now, to put ‘myself in the picture’. This has been interesting in that the terrible self criticism has eased and I am somewhat slower to rush in judging myself. I consciously flick the lens around and put the lens on myself. My face. My body.
It was tricky at first, I would delete all of them. Then slowly, I would begin to keep some that I ‘like’. Then I began to publish one or two. Out there… in the big wide world of the web. The world didn’t fall, computers didn’t crash and at the same time I began to feel a little bit better about myself. Then I realised that I always look for the personal approach online. It became a matter of trust somehow, when checking out other businesses or people. So I started putting more and more pictures of my face online and I began to take more pictures with me in it.
On my first trip to New York, I learned how to flick the camera quickly and began to snap glimpses of a trip that I was fortunate enough to experience. The hurricane Sandy had left it’s mark all over the city and symbolically, so did I. Looking back at the pictures, I realised that they pleased me so I continued.
I walked across Spain for a six week period and before setting off every day, I would take a picture. It was only on my UK trip a year later that I realised that the ritual of starting my day in this way had become important. It symbolises a new beginning and the end of the day before. Fresh legs and puffy eyes, I can physically monitor how I look. As each day gets marked as done, I almost subconsciously can see any growth, stress or emotions that I am dealing with.
Putting myself in the picture means that I have finally become important. I am learning to accept my journey both physically and metaphorically and it is somewhat surprising that I am at last, making friends with myself.
It has only taken me half a century but hey, who’s counting?