Self In Portraits II:

Reflecting on a want to be delicate with my self.
April 2022

    Every year, almost like an exercise, I would take a self portrait of myself so that I might be able to successfully capture who it was I felt myself to be...or maybe to capture who I was projecting out onto the world.

    There are times when I am not able to fully see myself, not solely due to how I feel about myself, though that has been the case many times. I've always dealt with self-confidence issues primarily because of external influences relative to the era and environment.

    Those internal struggles, the way I would judge myself as harshly as I could, silencing who I know myself to be, they may have helped me to arrive in the present. However, I didn't arrive as a whole person, I arrived a scattered and fragmented individual.

    During my last therapy session my therapist asked me to channel that part of me, the overcritical, disapproving and abusive voice. I was told to let them know that I am very grateful for their being present when I needed them, because I was able to arrive in part due to their "assistance". But that the times in which I needed them have passed and that their way is no longer "helpful", it is now more clearly seen as harmful.

    As I looked over old photos from times past, the many saved images from the Instagram accounts that I've deleted, I began to see how other people saw me. I could see that I wasn't who the voice told me to be, that the shell I'd created, the home inside my head that I'd sculpted for my own protection was not always present. Within those moments, the times when I allowed myself joy, happiness and extended kindnesses upon myself, those around me were able to capture it.

    Years ago when I became enamored with an image of a classmate, simply because I could see and sense the vulnerability in the subject; I knew wanted to be able to unlock that in others. Not simply for their sakes, but for mine as well. I just wanted to be comfortable being me regardless of my environment, the era or otherwise.

    The images I'm sharing, I did not take. Others took them of me. Some are candid, others are not. But, in all cases, in all instances, they are representations, glimpses of me being true to myself, vulnerable and comfortable.