The Blog Formerly Known As Practical Paralegalism
Taking pictures of yourself goes hand-in-hand with being a style-blogger – even if you hate being photographed, like I did for most decades of my life – and still do. Extreme camera shyness goes hand-in-hand with my extreme every day shyness, and my homely childhood and adolescence. Learning how to present myself, personally and professionally, and even learning to photograph myself in my preloved clothes, never increased my eagerness to get my picture taken. But turning 50 weirdly did increase my fascination with Oxford Dictionaries’ 2013 Word of the Year: selfies.
Who’da thunk getting more wrinkles would pique my interest in taking my own head shot, like almost every day? Maybe if I wanted to go all Photo Shop on myself it would make sense, but as technologically inclined as I can be, my few forays into even Photo Shop for Dummies have made me feel like a single-celled organism. Plus, I hate Photo Shop and air-brushing and all of the techniques that make pictures of people look fake. I want real people, peeps.
But in this, my 50th year, I have suddenly gone off the rails with the selfies. I know what that looks like, since I live with two teenage girls. They are so adorable, youthful and photogenic that I completely get their fixation on taking their own pics anytime and anywhere. Not being so adorable, youthful or photogenic, I was genuinely puzzled when I started snapping my own pic anytime and anywhere.
Self-ageism might be the culprit. I know, other people are supposed to discriminate against you on the basis of your age, not yourself. But I wonder if I try to sink my own ship simply because of a number. 50. Don’t get me wrong. I’m so glad to be alive. I’m even delighted to be mature (mostly), because my immature self never learned anything unless she banged her head against a brick wall repeatedly. Now I’m more likely to lean against the brick wall and hope it’s not crumbling.
I think I’m taking the selfies to try to see myself as others do, and to try to see myself as I really am. When I have moments of uncertainty, thinking I might be too old to start completely new chapters in my life, personally, academically, and professionally, I take my own picture and stare into my own eyes. Do I look strong enough, emotionally and physically, to start over? Am I too old to change? Can I embrace new concepts that may have intimidated me in the past? When I feel self-doubt, am I letting the number 50 get in my way?
Most of the time I tell myself I can do anything. And when I have moments that I think my age might make my goals unrealistic, I take a selfie, or even look at my own blog photos, and think, “That woman is empowered and capable, and who gives a rat’s ass how old she is.”
Even if teenage girls do take way cuter selfies.
Do you take selfies? Why or why not? Did you start a dramatically different chapter in your life in your 40s or older?