I do not do this much, but I was inspired by an amazing 16 year old photographer, and thought I had something to learn from trying. I am sharing not because I think my images are good, but because I think I have some growth ahead.
What I learned. I am definitely not 16 anymore. And in my head I still see myself that way. It actually triggered me a bit. I do not like images of myself anymore. I miss aspects of who I once was. Where did she go??
I felt very awkward in front of the camera. I was stiff and had no idea how to pose myself.
I do not even know how to properly take pictures of myself. You can see I was using my phone as my shutter release/remote for my camera and it looks very amateur.
I find myself wondering if I am a “has been” and it hurts. Where did my youth go? I also think that I am very often invisible. I think I have always had this tendency of being quiet/invisible, but now that I am middle aged, this is even more the case than ever. (even this post may go unnoticed, invisible) Middle aged, a mom, not thin, like the best of what I was going to do and be has passed. My window has passed. Maybe this is not true, but it “feels like it is true.” If I have not reached my potential by now, it is only going downhill from here. I thought I’d be farther along by now. I put myself on pause to raise my children which I do not regret for a moment, but suddenly I am realizing now that 13 years have passed and I’m suddenly old. I didn’t expect that for some reason. Duh…
So, maybe there is something to learn from trying this again. How can I accept myself for who I am now at 43? As much as it hurts me today to see my images, I think I will push through this and find out how to heal this part of myself that hurts today and attempt to find ways to accept myself.
3 thoughts on “Courage and the Self Portrait”
We are the same age…I’m a stay at home mom, I happen to be disabled, I’m most certainly invisible, and I don’t have much “traditional value.” However perception is everything, and decide right now you’ll not be a youth worshipper (in my case I also had to learn to not be a health-worshipper).
You can learn to reframe your window and see yourself as a glorious being instead of a has been. If you want to improve your appearance, do as you choose, but know beauty comes in many forms. (Think back to when you were 16 and how limited your ideas of beauty were. Now as a mature woman, I would guess your ideas of beauty have expanded…apply that to yourself). You’re already making excellent progress just by trying something new in photography. You don’t need to be the model if you’re uncomfortable…there are many things to photograph.
And what is “potential” anyway? Since I became disabled at age 30 much of my potential vanished. Good thing you don’t need potential to be valuable. You are valuable simply by being (even if you’re invisible to the rest of the world).
You might have been caught by middle age unexpectedly, but it’s not too late to explore it and change your ideas about it…just keep asking questions like you’re doing in this post. It’s truly not the end of you, it’s just a different viewing angle.
Thank you so much for your feedback and insights about this! I am definitely going to keep trying to find the best in this. (: What it makes me want to change, and accept, etc.. It is good cause to reflect and learn from this for sure.. Wish people shared this struggle more.. Or at least in my circles.
That is very wise advice. Thank you