challenge accepted! journals

A Selfie in Two Parts

Without make up, I look something like this on most days, minus the balloon:
balloon

I’m rather fond of the way I look.  If I try to see the picture objectively, looking at it as if it is not my own face, I would say that the woman in the picture has lived a life full of love.  There’s a beauty in that, regardless of weight or face shape, hair or color.

It isn’t a complete picture though and there’s something about the missing pieces that always bothers me.

In the guest post I wrote for the sparkling Katie from Sass & Balderdash, I expressed my love of make up and my disconnect with my actual appearance:

“I want friends to see the colors of my heart, so I paint them on.  I want strangers to see how tall I am inside my heart, so I wear heels.  I want everyone to know the volume and brightness of my mind, so I jangle and shine with baubles.”

(Full post here:  http://sassandbalderdash.com/2013/08/28/the-modern-misogi-a-guest-post/)

Outside of make up, I can bridge this gap using the wonders of technology, too.  It allows me to express my self-perception with little effort.  Today– lately, in fact– I’ve identified with something that looks more like this:

rarablue
Even though I favor green, I like how this picture is blue.   In most of my cultures, blue is a color of fate and strength.  I like how the picture has movement and stillness all at once– noise and silence are two very true pieces of me.  I like how the scribbles and wonders exude from my skin, like an aura stretching out as far as it can go simply because it can.

Both pictures are selfies– self-aimed perceptions of myself.  The first is how I see myself, the second is how I think I would see myself if I didn’t know how I looked.  Today, at least.  Last year, it was different. Next year, it’ll be different again, I’m sure.

What would you look like if you didn’t know what you look like?  Is your answer different today from what you would have said last year?

This selfie post was brought to you by the The Daily Post’s Weekly Photo Challenge.

101 comments

    1. We’re all beautiful in any color, aren’t we? It’s a frightfully wondrous truth. 🙂 What I love best about the selfies trend is the ever-changing nature of them. We are fluid, even to our own perception, and that is fascinating.

      Like

  1. Good question. I think my answer from a year ago would still be the same today.

    I love the beauty of the first picture of you, and the depth and beauty of the second one. 🙂

    Like

    1. Thank you, Sheena! I thought of your full-length picture recently, and how I really wanted to do something similar to the photo. Not blue for you, even though you love it– green or pink– beautiful growth and passion. You know, so you can see how I see you. 🙂

      Like

    1. Balloons are the key to good pictures, ha! That was actually a month or so ago when it was all rainy in SoCal and I was sick. I told my boss that I deserved a balloon for coming in on an icky day when I was sick… and when he came back from lunch, he brought me one. 😀

      Like

      1. I totally read auras. Did you know that?

        But I’ve seen another picture of you as well. You’re stunning.

        And yes, your inside shines through.

        Like

    1. I love wearing make-up, but I’m so out of sorts in the morning that I only get to it about 25% of the time. I’m in love with the quick-make-up things like the peel-ons for eye color and the nearly-instant-dry nail polish. They’re my little treats for days that I need a pick me up!

      You have so many beautiful colors in your natural tone, so make up is really just an extra for you!

      Like

  2. Honestly, I’m not overly concerned with how I look. Sure there are times I look in the mirror and wish a couple things were different, but then I forget about it and move on. There’s only so much you can do about your appearance.

    Like

    1. How we look plays such a part in how we experience the world. I’m mildly obsessed with the concept. 😉 If you think about it, it’s your first interaction with most people– so creating the world you want starts there. Not that I think we should obsess or being hard on ourselves. I think less in terms of weight or shape — and more in terms of vibe. 🙂

      Like

  3. I agree that selfies change over time. Its a great concept to consider that the way we think we would look if we didn’t know what we looked like would be very different over time. Never thought about it before but it’s a great point to reflect on… Brilliant article by the way Rara

    Like

    1. Thanks, Amy, 😀 It’s a question I often ponder. I love the transitional nature of selfies, though… it’s what makes them so much fun! 🙂 xo!

      Like

  4. I just pinged you (and I mean that in the nicest way possible). The first shot is awesome, but that second shot bowled me over. Too good, too good.

    Like

  5. You are gorgeous. And I don’t mean that as flattery. I can’t see your picture without the essence of your words being attached to them. And I love your essence. Both pictures make sense to me. But I have to say I think the top one is my favorite.

    I see myself more in black and white and grey. Not that I don’t feel colors. But I see the clarity of me in black and white. I like it. And I think a year ago the picture would have been the same. Twenty years ago? No. I like how I envision me now. 🙂

    Like

    1. Thank you, Colleen, I appreciate that! I always hesitate to post pictures because I worry that people will feel compelled to compliment– the way people say “fine” when you ask how they are. Thank you for understanding both essences, 😀

      I love the clarity of black/white/grey. My husband sees himself more in those tones, too. It is a striking, vibrant palette– perfect for you!

      Like

      1. 😀 Day made! (To quote a friend of mine.)

        And I have to say, I’m glad I read thousands of your words before I ever saw your picture. I already had you envisioned. And your picture only confirmed my vision. 🙂

        Like

  6. Wee! I love how magically you color the world with your presence, Rara! ^_^ And isn’t it wonderful that you can always switch up how you see yourself and the colors you favor? The second one truly shows the colors that you radiate, it’s simply visible for us, because it’s also there in the first one.

    Such a fabulous article!

    Like

    1. Thank you, TJ! I’m constantly amazed by your inner-artist because I know you really do see all the colors when you look at my first picture. It’s how you were able to illustrate that picture of me with little to no information– you overflow with talent. 🙂

      Like

  7. I rather like this idea. I myself have myriad answers for the question you posed, regarding myself. Other than lots of dark colors highlighted with bold jewel tones and some sort of odd layering like waves crashing on a beach, I couldn’t begin to say what my self-perception is. But I digress. You are quite creative and lovely and full of vibrant life!

    Like

    1. Oh fascinating, Sid– I’d love to see a picture like that with my own eyes. Maybe when I write up a tutorial for how I did mine, I’ll be able to see what you all describe… I’m afraid my brain leads more toward the mathematical. (Like yours, right?) 🙂 Thank you for the lovely compliments!

      Like

    1. Purple with some greys… that’s such an unlikely combination of colors, and yet so perfectly you! Bright, but calm, seeking but present. I could see layers of words as your aura, too– instead of just dots and shapes like mine. 🙂

      Like

  8. Good question. I would picture myself very different if I didn’t know what I looked like 😀 I love the picture of you in blue; how did you do that (share the secret!!) of course the other one is great too!!

    Like

  9. An excellent prompt, pretty girl. Tonight my boys asked me if I was going to continue growing my hair… and insisted that even though I’m not bald anymore, I’ll never look “the same” again. They like my curly hair, but it’s a constant reminder that everything is different. I thought it was just another night of dinner table homework chat. And then they knocked the wind out of me. xoxo

    Like

    1. That’s kids for you. They make you think you’re talking about cookies, and suddenly you’re pondering life. 🙂 The nice thing is those handsome boys will think you’re the most beautiful woman on earth with curly hair, straight hair, green hair, or no hair at all. 🙂

      To the other point… I think perhaps it’s good to not be the same anymore. Not that yesterday’s-you wasn’t brilliant. Only that today-you has all her brilliance, plus an extra dose of strength. Maybe it’s fitting that those two you’s don’t look precisely the same. 🙂

      Like

  10. What an interesting question. How do I think I would look if I didn’t know how I looked? I am not sure I can even answer that. I actually am really happy with how I look and for the first time in my life I feel like my true self. Given the chance to change anything about myself I would not change a thing.

    Like

    1. That is a wonderful place to be, Steph! I’ve always been muchly in the same boat- though I *feel* like the picture in blue, I certainly wouldn’t want to walk around looking like that, ha! 😀 I like my shell, and I like yours too! 🙂

      Like

    1. 😀 Ha! Thanks, Lynette! First thing in the morning, I look like the first picture– except wild-eyed and permanently yawning. I don’t take pictures before coffee.. that’s a life rule. 😀

      Like

  11. I am a fan. But I read off and on and so I must admit I was a bit surprised by *both* your pictures. I had somehow imagined you as a human version of a very sprightly dinosaur with flying pigtails. Now that probably looks different in your imagination from mine, but you know what I mean? But now I see you’re very human (and I like it). But I like Rara the dino better:)

    Like

  12. I like the first photo because you look natural and happy. I don’t like any photos of myself because I’m way too critical. Instead, I avoid the camera. Denial is a beautiful thing.

    Like

    1. Thank you, Janna! 🙂 I was pretty happy about my balloon even though I was sick that day. And haha, pictures of yourself are easier to deal with when you take lots. I think that’s my favorite part of the “selfie” movement– it’s shaking people out of the idea that they aren’t photogenic. Everyone is beautiful. 🙂

      Like

  13. Interesting comparison – how you see yourself versus how you’d see yourself without knowing how you look. Green is my favourite colour, but if people were colours I definitely be blue.

    I love your selfies, you are made of magic. Rawr! 😀

    Like

    1. 😀 That’s very perceptive of you, MM– I agree entirely. When I was posting this, I told my husband that I like the girl in the top picture better, but I recognize myself more in the second. 🙂 Thanks for taking a peek!

      Like

  14. Both beautiful pictures! Your radiance shines through each in a different way. I definitely see myself differently than I did a year ago and that’s because a lot has changed for me, I’m happier inside now and that reflects on the outside in a big way I think! Great post! 🙂

    Like

  15. Rara, What a wonderfully descriptive post. I love how you used external features to accentuate your inner self and beauty. What would I look like if I didn’t look like I do. I would look and be thinner, I would have found a way not to have gained so much when I quit smoking. But overall I am happy being me. Take care, Bill

    Like

  16. What a great take on the selfie challenge! I loved it right from the start with the “minus the balloon” comment, like we might otherwise imagine you go around with a balloon every day, which perhaps we might. I can’t think of answers to your questions at the end, but I’m going to revisit those at some point.

    Like

  17. If I didn’t know what I looked like, I would think I looked like a warrior princess after the past year. And I would hope the beauty came through with the battle scars:).

    Like

  18. Definitely different from last year.
    Not sure I could define it, really. I’ve always seen myself as a bit of a child, but that has changed in the passed year. I’m still the same kid, but I’m aged too. Hmm, that seems silly, and while I’m okay with that, I’m not sure I’m actually saying what I’m trying to.
    Never mind, ignore me. 😛

    Like

  19. Love the idea of presenting to others what we actually are rather than what we look like. Would love to have the special glasses that would allow me to see others in this way.
    Is that asian paper umbrella texture on the right? One thing missing in your second photo is your incredible mind/brain. {{{hugs}}} Kozo

    Like

Rawr?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s