In Praise of the Selfie

#selfie #nomakeup You can see the pimple on my nose and the scar on my lip, from where I bite it repeatedly when I'm nervous. But maybe you didn't see that until I pointed it out to you. 

There are so many negative things we can say about a selfie: attention whore, self-centered, desperate... I'm going to disagree, though, and play devil's advocate. If we don't start tweaking our perspectives towards the positive, what will we become? A bunch of bitter cynics beating one another down, so that no one is allowed to feel good about themselves, or bask in a moment of accomplishment or a bit of pride? 

Nay, I say. Shine your light. Here's why:

A few weeks ago, one of my Facebook friends posted a beautiful selfie, with a message about self-discovery at 47 years old. She immediately apologized for it, so no one thought she was being self-centered or vain. But I saw something different. This woman is right smack in the middle of this miraculous period of pain and rebirth and finding herself. I saw a beautiful face, wild curly hair, rad tattoos... a stunning spirit, a stone-cold fox. I saw the realness and the happiness of becoming the human she wants to be, and the pain and the sort of disheveled chaos it is born from. I saw bravery to be honest in the face of societal conventions. Through her, I was inspired to be a woman who is true to myself, and not lose my art or my voice that keeps questioning my life and it's direction. With that selfie, she gave me permission to be more authentic. And she has no idea. (Well, now she does because I'll probably tag her when I post this.) 

PEOPLE. I LOVE YOUR SELFIES. DON'T STOP TAKING THEM. 

I love looking at you. I love looking into you. I love being inspired with you, feeling heartbroken with you. I love yelling "UP!" at my phone, while watching your PRs and I love getting a glimpse into your lives and learning from your perspectives. Even the selfies that are gratuitous are usually coming from a space of just needing a little love and encouragement. This life is not easy. We can feel so alone, even when surrounded by others. 

I take selfies all the damn time. It's part of my "job" as I try to keep up posts and drive more traffic to my blog. I show you my face with no makeup on, in the gym, post jiu-jitsu, and randomly unkempt throughout the day, as I try to stay active and provide relevant information. I show you my body, unlit, normal. Sure, there's the occasional booty pop, but really - I'm not a professional photographer and no matter where I go or what I do, I have kids tugging at me and other obligations, so I do not have three hours to make things "just right." There are so many times I've said to myself, "Ew. does my face look like that?" "I'm so plain." "My nose is so flat and ugly." "My eyes just fucking disappear when I smile." Or perhaps I've made some concession with a filter that only accentuated one thing: my face OR my body, because both were not going to look great at the same time. ("Okay, I'm going to show this shoulder definition, but now my zits and pores are going to become just as pronounced....") 

But you know what I've actually gained by taking a lot of selfies? More of a detached attitude about how I look at any given time. I've stopped obsessing if I look okay enough to post. I pop off my content without needing to snap 300 shots to find the perfect angle. I just post the first or third take. I've stopped worrying as much about my cellulite, wrinkles, "prettyness" or wrap my self-worth into my looks. Why? Because I have joy in my life. I have love. No airbrush required. I've learned that my content is more important than a perfect face. 

And I see all of you. Your raw selfies tell me I can look raw, too. Your beautiful, angled, glamour shots tell me I can be pretty without apologizing for it. If we are real in front of social media, it gives everyone permission to be real. Real thoughts, real feelings, real beauty in real imperfections. So feel yourself! I want to see those shots where you feel hot af. I want to see you sweaty and delirious. I want to see you look straight into the camera and just be you. Highs and lows. Experiencing and loving this brief tussle with existence. We don't need less self-celebration, more societal pressure not to stick out or intimidate anyone else... we need more people being real, celebrating life. 

We got, like, five minutes - don't waste it not loving the fuck out of yourself. Spread that shit like an antidote to the infection of self hatred that plagues almost all of us.