What I said about this on Instagram: “Today. A selfie. I’m not really sure why I took this. But I’m posting it because I usually think that photos of me do not look at all like me inside. Somehow, this one feels like actual me. No, I don’t really know what I mean.”
After further reflection, what I think I mean: I remember years ago I got into a mild argument online with a friend about why people tended to use icons on LiveJournal of images other than their own faces. I explained that, for me, I tended to choose images that I thought represented who I was as a person better than my actual face did (or any of my actual outsides), and that being able to represent myself in a way that felt actually truer to me was very freeing, and one of the things I appreciated about communicating with people online. I still feel that way, even though I *do* often now use avatars that are my actual face, mainly for professional reasons. Most of the time, though, I feel pretty poorly represented by my own face, and when I see myself in the mirror or in photographs, the image in front of me generally does not look like the person I actually feel like on the inside. I’m sure I am not alone in this feeling.
Every once in a while, though, the camera gives me something closer, and this selfie I inexplicably took today is one of those times. It is not a *good* picture of me, which is to say that it is not a “good” picture at all. In fact, many of the reasons it fails as a photograph are why it manages to look more like the actual me. The poor light in my apartment causes the limited abilities of my phone’s front-facing camera to obscure the details of my features. The color is washed out. But here’s the person I see in this photograph:
Indeterminate age; indeterminate gender; serious, but whimsical; seeking; trusting; vulnerable; determined; easily hurt, but not easily broken. For better or worse, the image in this low-quality photograph actually feels like me.
So friends, if you feel a similar disconnect between your inner self and usual outer self, and feel like sharing, I’d love to see the photo that really looks like *you*.