In 2013, the word selfie was added to the Oxford Dictionary and was proclaimed “word of the year”. You would think by now that I would be good at taking one, but alas, you’re wrong.
It’s a generational thing to be sure. I know my millennial children have zero issues with taking and posting selfies all day long. Of course they are both wrinkle free and have that amazing metabolism I fondly recall having at that age. Those were the days…
That was never me. I am completely, totally, 100% NOT photogenic. I’m the reason the photographer has to take 72 group shots so that someone’s eyes aren’t closed. I don’t have a side or a smile or a pose. I scrambled to find pics to post on the dating profile.
The struggle is real.
So of course our next painting assignment is a self portrait.
I tried to negotiate my way out of it by offering to exchange the proposed self portrait for a three canvas series as my final project rather than a single piece. That’s a net gain of one entire painting. My professor declined with this inarguable comment. He challenged me with, “Every great artist does a self portrait.”
He knows me, and that I have enough ego to absorb this compliment and calling in one fell swoop. The good news is that I can use a photo – past or present. Oh good, we’ll leave off the neck wrinkles and crow’s feet and leave a young clean face to capture on the canvas.
One evening after a full week of work and school, I grabbed the box of photos and began my quest. Anything stored electronically was too recent. There were a billion pictures of my adorable children, you know, the photogenic ones? But a decent picture of yours truly in her younger days? Not so much.
Sure, there were a few, but I could not use a single one. Between the quality, the background, the lighting, the expression, and of course the closed eyes, they just weren’t quite right.
Rabbit trail: I actually shed a few tears as I reminisced over photos of my grandparents that have long been gone. And those memories of once-small children that no longer sit on my lap for bedtime stories.
Disclaimer: I may have been hormonal.
Warning: Looking at old pictures while hormonal is likely to cause uncontrollable cravings for Breyer’s Original Vanilla Bean topped with Ghirardelli Chocolate Chips and could additionally result in varying amounts of weight gain.
When my search came up empty, I surrendered to using a current selfie. After getting a friend to do some pics, and a ridiculous amount of time playing around with my camera phone, a few decent shots were captured.
The realization I had about myself, and how I feel about my image, was monumental.
In the majority of the old pictures, I did not love myself. I did not even like myself. No wonder none of those other pictures would work! I am glad I have grown and changed and embraced who I am. It’s a tough job, but it is necessary.
Self love is a critical piece of life, and I finally have it! I am proceeding with this current self portrait, wrinkles and all. It’s about capturing the moment, the season of life in which I find myself.
Let the painting begin!
Thanks for reading, until next time…