This is how it began. I was giving a client a treatment and they had a photographer present. When they asked if they could get a photo of me as I was working, I said 'Yes, but only my hands. I take an awful photo.'
Afterwards the photographer took me to one side and told me that the problem is that a lot of people are so hung up on how bad they look in a photo, they 'create their reality'. Hmmmm, food for thought.
She challenged me to take 30 days of selfies to see if it change the way I felt about my photos and getting my picture taken. I laughed it off, but continued to think about it for several days. I remember overhearing some older relatives once, talking about what a shame it was that my brother had 'got all the good looks'. I would have been about 7 at that stage, but I adopted that belief system quite easily. I would only pose for photos while dressed up or horsing around. If I didn't 'try' to make it a good photo and it failed, I didn't need to be disappointed. Now, don't get me wrong, I had had some wonderful photos taken of me through the years, but I considered them a fluke or a trick of the light. I rarely posed for photos, in fact I avoided it like the plague...and I was oh! so impatient! The amount of photos that were taken while I was mouthing 'For goodness sakes, hurry up!' far outweighed any other photos. Each time I looked at a photo I would see my faults and remember those wise old relatives and know they spoke my truth.
I wasn't conscious that this was why taking photos had always been such a chore for me. It has been during my 30 day challenge that I started scratching below the surface of this particular belief system.
I decided that I needed to change the way I felt about getting my photo taken, so a few days later, I accepted the challenge. I decided it needed to be a facebook challenge, to force me to comply and ensure I followed it through to the end. For 30 days I took photos. After 4 days, I wasn't enjoying it and wanted it to be over. I tried cheating by adding 10 days to my daily count. Unfortunately I have good friends who won't let me get away with that...damn it all!
In the beginning it was difficult. I felt I had to have a reason to pose. I needed to be dressed, sometimes made up, or at least presentable. As time went by, these rules floated away as I began to relax into the challenge. I admit it sometimes took 20 photos before I found one that I could live with and post up on facebook. After a while I noticed that I stopped looking for my faults, instead looking for the sense of fun that is a part of who I am. I stopped looking at my triple chins, my wrinkles and grey hairs. Instead I focused on my smile, my laugh lines and the energy I brought into each picture. I became 'real' and 'present' in my photos.
I began to see what I liked about my face, and even my hair... I looked for opportunities to take my selfie, seeing plants that looked great as background, wonderful views, or family shots. Instead of seeing what was wrong with the photos, I began feeling gratitude for who I am and what I look like. I've always loved who I am, but a part of me always felt cheated that my looks didn't match my personality... (lol. Remember when people told you that your awesome personality was way more important than looks... maybe not...? but I do!)
I loved the way a photo 'felt' when I posed with my family. At the end of the 30 days I felt a freedom that I cannot explain. I worked out which photos made the most of what I had. I also worked out that is I have a bit of mischief or devilment in my eyes/on my mind, the real me shone through!
Comments from those who followed my challenge was uplifting too - not that this was the reason why I did it, but they also made me look at myself differently, to see what others saw when they looked at me.
I nailed this challenge! And I am so proud that I did. It was difficult about a third of the way through but I gritted my teeth and carried on. Now its done, I am very much aware of the change that has taken place.
I would definitely recommend this challenge to everyone. Its the perfect way to rediscover yourself and remember how awesome you are! There is a huge element of empowerment in it as well. This challenge also helps you tap into your creative side...you can go as wild or as subdued as you like. After all you are the photographer, director and editor
Go on, give it a go....you might be surprised where it leads you...
with love, respect and integrity