The Story of My Selfie

Little Megs. Age six.
 
I heard on the radio a few mornings ago, that selfies are the most annoying thing about social media. Forget the never ending food porn, the attack of venti red cups at Christmas, or even the outfits of the day, no all of these do not compare to the annoyance of the selfie. The hosts on the radio read a recent study, done at some important University, by some really important psychologist, that said that people who post selfies have body dysmorphic disorder. They have an unrealistic view of themselves, whether they think they are too attractive, or not attractive enough. They also said that selifie posters are arrogant and narcissistic, and are constantly fishing for complements. And while all of that sounds pretty legit, I have to whole heartily disagree.

 
I post selfies because I actually like the person I am now. I'm not in love with myself or full of myself, but I can honestly say that I really like the person I have become. I can say that because for years I hated me. I hated me for reasons that aren't even sound or realistic. But, sometime around age thirty (see girls, life doesn't end at thirty!), I began to really like that gal in the mirror.
 
It really did take thirty years though. In the beginning, as an only child, I was photographed constantly. I learned how to pose and smile for any camera by age one. There are millions of baby pictures floating around my family of me in frilly dresses, on Santa's lap, in my birthday suit, in a swimming pool. There are pictures of me at all stages of my life and as a kid I loved the camera and the camera loved me. Ask anyone in my family and they will tell you that I am a ham. That I can go from bitchy resting face to Miss America smile in a ten count. But somewhere around twelve, I started to hate the pictures of me.
Fourteen year old Megs.
As a teen I couldn't stand the pictures of me. I kept taking pictures hoping that I get them back and somehow I'd be thinner or blonder. I hated my round face. I hated that my eyes were mud brown. That my hair was boring. I hated that my legs were stubby and my belly wasn't flat like all the other girls my age. I spent the better part of fifteen trying to do one hundred sit ups a day to possibly have Alicia Silverstone's flat tummy. Looking back I spent countless hours wanting to be someone, anyone else. I couldn't stand to be me. That feeling didn't really go away in college either. I remember thinking that I looked so good at my sorority formal one year, only to get the pictures back and see that my face was so fat that my eyes disappeared when I smiled. I threw them all away.
Wedding day Megs.
I'd like to say that all of the self hate ended the day I married the Hubbs, but it didn't. I felt my most beautiful on that day, but I was still worried about my belly sticking out in pictures. I was still worried that my arms might look flabby. Still obsessed about not working out for the last five days before the wedding, and then eating my feelings all along the way. Don't get me wrong, I love my wedding pictures, and I feel like they look exactly like me, but I wasn't as confident then as I am today.
Mamma Megs, June 26th 2007.
Motherhood, it seems, made me confident. Motherhood made me like the person in my selfies. And I admit, this didn't happen right away, but it did happen. Perhaps it was the months spent in yoga pants and tank tops with no make up. Maybe it was the multiple days in a row that I didn't get a shower, but still had to go to the store. Could it be that in the middle of the poop and spit up and baby food stains of the previous day that I found out who I was? Something that first year of motherhood showed me that I could do hard things, all the hard things. And suddenly I couldn't deny that the the woman looking back at me in the mirror wasn't a girl anymore. She was a warrior. She was a survivor. She didn't need lipstick or mascara or clean hair. And for the first time, I actually liked her.
Absolute Mommy 2011
 
My selfies can't tell you the whole story, however. I have days where I'm not super excited to be me. I have days where the extra five pounds I've acquired really bug me and make me feel shame. I have days where my jeans don't fit like they did last year. I've written all about my bald spot, my grey hair, my acne, and my wrinkles. Some days my selfies include hair three days past washing. Some days they highlight under eye bags and not a stitch of make up. Other days I'm in make up, eyebrows filled in, lip gloss thick. I like my hair, I'm ignoring the extra five or so pounds, and my jeans aren't that tight. But no matter the day, I'm sharing that selfie, because I like me. I like who I am now, after thirty six years. I like that I'm imperfect. I like that I have flaws. I like that I don't look like anyone else in Internet land. I like that I'm short, and can wear shirts from the boys department. I like that I'm so imperfectly me.
 
The good hair day selfie. Circa March 2014.
So I make no apologies for my selfie. My selfie tells a story. The story of a thirty six year old woman who, for the first time in her life, actually likes herself. I'm not fishing for a single compliment, because it's not about that anymore. It's about me finally complimenting myself. So my selfies are just a way to tell this new story of me, in this spot with the me I've always been, who is also the me I've finally accepted. 

4 comments:

  1. Well, shit. I wrote a whole response to you and somehow it didn't get posted. Or if it did...now there's two of me on your post here. :)

    That selfie "study" makes my blood boil. GET. OVER. IT. PEOPLE.
    Maybe social media brings more of the overly obsessed with themselves or the body dysmorphia types. Perhaps we should help those people. Because they were most likely already prone to that, taking a self portrait with your iPhone isn't going to MAKE you that way. You already were.

    I've been turning the camera on myself since I owned a disposable camera in middle school. We all have. It's just now it has a name...therefore a stigma attached to it. I think "experts" just want something else to create controversy over. ::sigh::

    Totally there with you on growing and changing and accepting yourself more. I don't understand women that desire to get back to "college hot". I feel like I'm better looking than I was in high school and college and I'm growing into my looks more. Either that, or I like who I am more than I did then...which is also a good thing. The closer I creep to 30, the more I love me.

    Anyway, I agree with you on so many levels. Can you move closer to me so we can be bff's in real life?

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  2. My goodness! Love your punch back at that stupid study. Thanks for sharing, your story is much like mine, and plenty of others. I personally love selfies because i want my future generations to see me through all of these stages. I wish i had more selfies from my older relatives. :)

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  3. Okay, I know I'm a big dork...but this post made me cry. You make me happy, Megs. You always say exactly what we want to hear and I totally agree with this post. My selfies are for me and getting something out of them for ME.
    You rock, selfie warrior!

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  4. I love you Meg. And i love your selfless. I think people who hate selfies are the ones that don't love themselves. Just sayin'. ;)

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