I took this photo today because I needed a new photo for my new “about me” page. I used this photo as a placeholder, because I always use it as an icon for various sites and have always loved the look. I was really close to just leaving it as the picture for the page, but I thought against it. It’s my about me page, so the picture should be of me, right? So, I decided to try my hand at recreating the photo.
I sloppily braided my hair and pinned it up. I set up my camera and played around with the zoom, exposure, and colors until I got it all just right. I pulled off my shirt, hit the self-timer, and took my spot facing the wall. When I heard the little click of the shutter, I knew my photo was taken and quickly got up to see. It came out perfect.
It’s very rare that I go with my first shot. I normally take multiple shots then after uploading them all to my computer pick out the best one. But this shot was great. I got exactly what I wanted, with the added bonus of my beautiful dreamcatcher that I had intended to take down, but completely forgot. I was so happy with it, I turned off my camera and went straight to my computer to edit the coloring a bit, so it looked more like that icon photo.
Yet, it wasn’t perfect.
I began to notice things about myself that made the entire picture look weird to me. I was frustrated with the odd brown color of my hair and it looked like I had no neck. My hair is really long and I should have pinned it up higher so that it would show. And even though I sat up as straight as I could, I still noticed the crookedness of my bones poking through my skin on my back. I have a slight, weird form of scoliosis, where one of my legs is a bit longer than the other, so one side of my body is higher than the other and my spine is crooked, sort of on a slope. It’s super slight and you would have never noticed it had I not pointed it out. I always jokingly tell people that I’m 5’2 on one side and 5’1 3/4 on the other side, because I am and I’m a bit insecure of that fact. It bothered me so much that I cropped out most of the picture when I went and made an icon I could use for all of my social media accounts.
But here I am. I cropped out a bit of the bottom, because it would have been a bit inappropriate to have online–too much of my skin was showing for my liking–and I didn’t want it to appear like I was putting up a naked photo, no matter how artsy it looked. And I like it.
I can say that I like it now that I’ve edited out everything that made it me, then discarded the edited versions and just left it how it was before I went cropping-crazy. This is clearly who I am at the moment and I should love it despite all of the imperfections. I know a lot of you will say that I look fine and that it’s a beautiful shot, etc. but you must understand, it’s not you that I need the compliments from, it’s me.
And I wish it were that easy. I wish I could instantly see all the beauty in every picture I take of myself. But as a woman–or as a human, really–we’re all so hard on ourselves because we’re so preoccupied with what is “socially acceptable beauty,” whatever the hell that is. And as much as I try to ignore society and what it says I should and should not look like, it’s really hard. And I sometimes wonder why it’s so hard, when there are plenty of people in the world who don’t care what the majority thinks. Do we make it hard for ourselves to like us?
I can say that after looking at it for sometime now, I do like the photo. I think it’s beautiful in that vintage artsy, self-portrait sort of way. It is beautiful, really, because it came out perfect.