my name is ra.

a selfie a day

This has been a time of loss for me.

Some losses are obvious, some are simple casualties of hardship.

Loss of self, for instance, goes hand in hand with loss of freedom.  I lost my sense of self for 438 days.

In its most literal manifestation, I barely ever saw my face while incarcerated. Most jailhouse mirrors seemed to have been manufactured for a dollhouse– and staring into them was like looking into the glinting curve of a spoon.

When I was released, I became fascinated with the shell of myself. It looks so similar to when I went away, even though the insides of me feel so very different.

This body is in the world again, I wanted to shout– so I opened an Instagram account and posted a picture of my face.

My face– in my world– to my world.  Home again.

Since July 18th of this year, I’ve posted what amounts to a selfie a day.  142 shouts of freedom in the form of a face not mutated by reflection.  142 bookmarks of my expressions as I fade back into the world.

And as is the case with anything you practice, you learn.

I’ve learned.

 

My face sings expression, and people can hear it.

I’ve never considered myself particularly expressive, but when I post a picture– no matter what I caption it– people can usually peg the emotion I was going through at the time.  Apparently you can read me like a children’s book.

Smiles are contagious.

I knew this, but never really applied it to the internet.   If I post a big enough smile, I can almost guarantee someone smiled when they saw it.  Even if it was just to smile and shake their head at my silliness.

My face is an asymmetrical mess.

Seriously.  I have fat eye and a tall eye.  I have a mole on the left side, above my lip, and a scar on the other side.  I have a scar below my lip on the left side.  I have a hair part that does what it wants and freckles that wildy dot themselves against the canvas of my face.   Sometimes flipping my picture around makes me look like two very different humans.

And that’s okay.

It might actually be my very favorite thing about my face.

People like to give compliments.

When I started posting selfies, and someone would comment with “Beautiful!”, I’d think– oh, she missed me.  Being free is pretty beautiful.

Over time, I paid attention to my own habits in regards to other people’s selfies.  I realized people just like having an opportunity to let you know they see the beauty in you.

People are kind.

Internet memes hate selfies.

Whenever someone writes a mean comment about too many selfies, I cringe and wonder if they’re talking about me.   Then I post another selfie anyway, because life is too short to worry about passive aggressive Buzzfeed articles and grammatically-incorrect Facebook commentary.

It’s not easy.

Often I can turn out a 800 word post in less time than it takes me to decide whether or not I want to post a picture I’ve taken of myself.  Sometimes, I will sit on a picture for days before using it.

I consider myself to be a plain Jane, and I’m pretty happy with that status.   I feel like I look like myself.   I am confident that those who matter to me see my beauty.

And still:  It’s. Not. Easy.

When I see someone’s selfie now, I take a minute to send some love their way.  They looked at themselves, zoomed in on the flaws written into their skin and their world, and said– I am me.  I am enough beauty to warrant this picture.

And they always are.

People are beautiful.

Between shoulders and light, filters and cropping– you can tell a story without saying a word.

This is the most appealing aspect of it to me.  I am a storyteller, and every possible medium is of interest to me, because I am stuck in a story I am trying to tell.

It’s about a girl who sometimes is a dinosaur.

Her story is a long one, but the short version is she loves you.  And she loves herself, too.

Her self is free now, but she captures it anyway, so it can tell the tale in flash and frame.  A story of how she kept her soulshape when locked so tightly in a box.  A story of how she kept her wholeness when so many holes pierced through her heart.

A story of freedom, and how to wear it consciously.  A story of love, and how to wear it conscientiously.

The story is coming together.  Snap by snap, her full self is being returned to the world.  She can see it building, fragment by fragment, selfie by selfie, day by day.  She is wearing her future and learning her way forward.

This is a time of gain for her.

 

 

_________________________

This post didn’t come out like I wanted it to, but I’m posting it anyway because  that’s another thing I learned from selfies– embrace the imperfection of the moment.

Do you take selfies?  Do you have any accidentally-daily practices?

80 comments

  1. “A story of freedom, and how to wear it consciously. A story of love, and how to wear it conscientiously.”

    ^^^I LOVE THIS!

    And you.

    And no, no daily habits which are so worthwhile 🙂 Well. Connecting. That’s daily, nightly, all-the-time-ly, and it’s WONDERFUL.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Ha! Love this! You’re so pretty, what a fun thing to do. 🙂

    Nope, no selfies for me, no pictures of me at all, either, but I did get into the habit of jotting down the weather report. I need better habits. Or at least less weird ones. *sigh*

    Anyway, selfie on sweetie! Your pictures are wonderful, just like you. 😀

    Liked by 3 people

      1. I do, yes. I have a couple years worth on the computer now, but years and years ago I used to write them down in a little daily notebook planner. I don’t have those anymore, but it’s kind of weird when you see what a past “record temp” day was and remember it. It’s funny the memory triggers we have, lol. 🙂

        Liked by 2 people

  3. I have loved seeing your selfies and you are very expressive and beautiful. I see love when I see your selfies and I see depth and wisdom and compassion. A picture speaks much more than 1000 words. Keep sharing, please.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Hey RaRa,

    I’ve been pretty spotty lately on daily habits (except coffee)…looking in on blogs slides off my plans for stretches at a time. I sort of (absurdly) disagree that you lost your sense of self for 438 days…I agree you got trimmed away / hollowed out and forgot your visuals in the pen, but your self…Your Self seems timeless, boundless and whole without even trying.

    I love you too, you exotic plain Jane.

    RR

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Aww, RR, thank you. I like the idea of a timeless, boundless, whole self– and since that is how I see everyone’s self, perhaps it’s time I found a proper mirror and saw my self that way too 🙂

      I love you, silly. ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I’ve taken selfies. I hate it, really, even though I have one that I use prominently on other sites. I guess I keep trying to see something that isn’t in the mirror and hope one day it just hits me? IDK.

    Never doubt your beauty, chica. The outside is just the icing on the awesome cake. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I love your selfies, Holly. They ALWAYS make my day. It’s your eyes, I think– they look brave. It makes me feel like we can go out and slay dragons. If we wanted to. But why would we do such a hideous thing?

      I love you. ❤

      Like

    1. Vanessa-Jane, you’re awesomely kind. Thank you. And yeah, the arm thing is harder than it looks too. Sometimes I use the timer feature. I should all the time, but I just forget. 😀

      Like

  6. Women are so wonderful and otherwise men so they have the ability to multitask – only one thing they can’t – the ability to describe themselves without highlighting (in their eyes) errors and downplay skills – we men are known doing it the opposite way around… 😀 😀

    Every one of those 70 are dam..d good, wonderful and inspiring… 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. 😀 Aw, thank you. Do you know, you found the one in there that isn’t actually a selfie– it’s a video still. The smile is one caught just as it’s forming… rather than the standard selfie smile-then-click. Good eye! Thank you for your kind words. ❤

      Liked by 1 person

    1. The easy answer is that I signed a plea deal, accepting 5 felony counts, all umbrella’d under embezzlement. The longer story is a legitimately longer one. I started typing it 5000 words ago and still haven’t really explained it. But one day, I will post it, in the meantime, if you’re a phone person, I’m happy to ramble it out. My phone number is posted in the contact section. 🙂 ❤

      Like

  7. You do look beautiful 🙂 As for the selfie phase I went through it too back in 2009-2010. It is important to empower yourself and seize back who you are after a difficult or traumatic experience. For some it is a way of healing. Be well

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you. Your art makes me smile. If I could make art, then no one would ever want to be my friend on Instagram! I’d post every step and stage. 😀

      Like

    1. I wasn’t a fan of pictures of myself, by myself or anyone else, for a long time. I certainly wouldn’t have selfied, even after I fell in love with the cute-couple-pictures that Dave and I were so fond of. Not that I wish anything as dramatic as prison on anyone, but I do wish everyone had something comes along to show them the light that their beauty truly is. ❤

      Maybe one day. 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you, Goldy. That means a lot from people I’ve met in person because I feel so often selfies are reflective of a the i-want-to-be life rather than a here-i-am persona. I’m going for here-i-am.. you know. Just in case I forget again. 🙂 Much love. ❤

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Of course, Juliette. You and your vampire brood are welcome anytime to my place, to see the full range of my silly faces and smiles. 😀 Love you! ❤

      Like

    1. It’s wonderful! I truly enjoy seeing snaps of life from friends all over the world. People ate beautiful. And I love being connected to you, once again. 🙂

      Like

  8. Some (few) people’s selfies come from a mild, or even an advanced form of narcissism. I’ve never, not once, not even maybe, gotten that feeling from any of your selfies. I would not have been able to put my finger on it, but since you have I realize now that all your selfies have been about your reemergence into the world. And I’ve loved every one of them.
    Alison

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Ra, your eyes and your smile are so expressive in all your photos–especially your eyes. Sometimes they are so deep with sadness, and at other times they are full of mischief. I love all your selfies. Keep posting them our little Rarasaur ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I take selfies even though I hate having my photo taken, the reason I made a conscious effort was I want to be a success as an author and if I want people to invest their time reading my words I have to be honest with them and myself about who they are buying into 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  11. I don’t take selfies, but I keep all my friends’ and family members’ in a special folder. People smiling is an amazing sight to behold.
    Thank you for sharing your stories and world, and especially your smiles. They are wonderful^^

    Liked by 1 person

  12. I’m obsessed with snapchat, where I do post selfies regularly. I don’t use the form very often on other platforms though, because like you say the internet kinda hates them…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Smart! I used the timer a few times but I often snap selfies on a whim. :). I took a series of pictures for NanoPoblano with a timer and was really pleased with the result. Must remember!

      Like

    1. 🙂 Thank you, how kind! It reminds me of Roald Dahl’s quote about how someone with happy thoughts always looks beautiful? I appreciate you, and I am glad you see beauty in me because I put quite a lot of stock in how you see the world. 🙂 ❤

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, written words are my medium of choice, so I’m glad for the compliment, and thankful for your readership, and grateful for your kind words. I’m glad to have you here. ❤

      Like

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