For the love of SELFies.
My journey to unconditional self love. (short version)
Each word above carries it’s own energy. Which one brings forth the feeling of uncomfort for you, if any?
I know there was a time not too long ago I loathed selfies. My own and everyone elses.
"It’s narcissism, conceited, vain." said one (100) online articles.
Fuck. So when I take a selfie, I’m a narcissist?! I don’t want to be that. Shame. Guilt. Who am I to think I’m beautiful? Victim.
"Will they 'like' it?" The ultimate act of vulnerability on social media. Posting a selfie. Putting yourself on display for all to see. Allowing others to form an opinion about a close up, candid shot of your face. Swimming in insecurities and doubt, I would take dozens of pictures looking for the right one. Each one going into the trash bin.
"It doesn’t look right."
It never looked right.
"I’m too old for selfies." This was an act reserved for the younger generation, and if you weren’t young; then only for the beautiful.
And surely back then, in my mind, I was nowhere near the category of young or beautiful.
So I didn’t take them.
If I did, they were done in spontaneous moments. I was either humming on several glasses of chardonnay or feeling particularly beautiful in that moment.
But. I started to see a pattern develop.
I would scroll through my hundreds of pictures of babies, husband, family, nature, and myself on my phone...and I couldn’t take my eyes off my selfies.
I would sit immersed for minutes at a time, trying to remember what got me to that state of mind in that moment. What triggered the feeling of beautiful within? And I was in awe most of the time...who IS this woman? The women who has 7 babies. Who doesn’t brush her hair most days. Whose luxury is a shower and time alone in the bathroom to pee and poop. Glamorous I rarely felt. But these pictures? I saw absolute glamour. Gorgeous. Sassy. Sexy. Cheeky. Mysterious. Beautiful.
What the fuck??
I can’t think that way.
Why? Would whisper from inside.
I don’t know. It’s just not right.
Then I would close my phone and wander on.
I did post some. Courage would momentarily roar, and I would hit the post button. There was never any negative feedback tho.
It truly was all in my mind.
My distorted view of self held me locked inside.
But I was gradually coming out of my shell. I started focusing on who I perceived as strong, confident women in social media. I followed their pages, friended them on facebook, subscribed to their blogs. The ones who had zero fucks to give. Who were truly themselves. The ones I could see, who loved who and what they were.
Eventually it stuck.
I started to believe the voices who spoke of self love more than self hatred.
Then my selfie taking took on a theme: I will only take a selfie when I am FEELING something. Beauty, light, goddess-y, sexy, happy, sad, serene, angry, vulnerable, depressed, exhaustion. It didn’t matter what it was, as long as strong emotion was running through my body. They weren’t for others, only for me. And in my quiet moments, I would spend time looking at these different phases of emotions, different versions of me. I was getting to know myself. I wanted to see what my husband saw. He’s my ultimate mirror of love and beauty. It didn’t matter what I was doing or feeling or saying or looking like. I was always gorgeous, sexy, & strong in his eyes. He was talking me into believing it. There was a small glimmer of light beginning to crack through the darkness.
I would ask him question after question trying to get to the core of what he based his premise of beauty in. His answer was the same every time though; you are beautiful. Sexy. Strong. Gorgeous. No matter what.
No matter what.
No matter what.
It was an echo in my mind. It wasn’t the trumped up statement from the 80’s that I always took the wrong way, "you’re beautiful on the inside. It doesn’t matter what you look like on the outside." And my mind would deduct in that moment, did you just tell me I’m ugly??
There was truth in the statement. I just twisted and turned it into, "You’re ugly." because I was determined to believe it.
Then my focus began to move towards my children. They loved me anyway. They loved me because. They loved me in spite of. They loved me unconditionally, just like my husband. They loved me happy, sad, angry, hopeless, fearful, stinky, ecstatic, silly. It didn’t matter what I did, what I said, how I looked, what was currently happening, it was always love. I would feel anger and snap at them, and within moments they were on my lap, in my arms loving me. Forgiving me without words. Begging me to love myself, to forgive myself.
No matter what.
"Nothing makes a woman more beautiful than the belief she's beautiful." ~ Sophia Loren.
Statements like the one above was what started reflecting into my reality on social media.
It was integrating more and more inside. I kept taking selfies when I felt beautiful. But what was changing was it wasn’t only during my moon time cycle of ovulation once a month anymore, which was the pattern I saw previously. It was often; weekly. Then eventually, daily. Then several times a day broken into moments preceded by a beautiful moment from within. Flowing with my children or husband, a moment of sacred dance as I stood in the kitchen. My whole world became beautiful. I started adjusting my eyes to see the beauty in every moment. No matter what was happening. 6 screaming babies, fighting, monotony, conflict, joy, elation... and in those moments I transformed from the ugly duckling into the beautiful swan.
The dark days of self loathing are faded into a fuzzy past now. It's difficult to invoke even the memories. They come as an energetic imprint only when I think back. A hazy cloud of emotion that quickly passes.
I love that piece of me for who she was. She got me here. And we are tightly woven in an eternal embrace. Light and shadow integrated.
I don't disapprove of selfies anymore.
I love seeing women feeling something, capturing the moment on their phones, then courageously posting them on social media. I'm on a mission to help transform this paradigm I've been purged from.
A woman can be admired, even celebrated for her beauty when its meant for the male gaze. But put a mirror or a phone in her hand, she becomes vain. Essentially, someone can tell you you’re beautiful - But to tell yourself this and display this beauty becomes an act of rebellion and anarchy.
Show me a woman you feel is unworthy of the title beautiful, and I will prove to you she is a living, breathing, sacred, magical embodiment of goddess. Every woman is this; all ages, all sizes, all colors. Including you. Including me.