There are cultures that believe that taking an individual’s picture steals a part of his soul. I don’t believe that – but I do believe that some selfies are windows into the soul. Please take time to look at these pictures, because you will see into the lives of very lovely people who are creative, funny, sad, angry, silly, living through the good times and through obstacles many will never face. Each of these individuals is celebrating him/herself by publishing something essential that must be posted on social media. Some are sharing memories – a costume, an outing with friends. Some are expressing their love of costumes. Families share memories. Study details carefully. Can you tell who likes books? Can you tell who farms? How many of us are hiding our faces behind a prop? Figure out why our voyeuristic little selves love to look at pictures. And maybe take a selfie with your cat.
I celebrate myself, and sing myself,
And what I assume you shall assume,
For every atom belonging to me as good belongs to you.
I loafe and invite my soul,
I lean and loafe at my ease observing a spear of summer grass.
Song of Myself, Walt Whitman
Okay, what the &%*#) does Walt Whitman have to do with selfies? Bear with me. Those who know me best will be shocked to read that I have recently been rethinking my position on selfies. Now some selfies are the most horrible, putrid, arrogance-riddled lumps of vanity ever brought into existence from the netherworld. My Facebook feed used to be littered with pathetic pictures portraying body parts no one wants to see. Cleavage, nakididdity, non-ironic duck lips, gang hand signs from people whose only contact with a gang consists of watching The Little Rascals or the Backyardigans, caked on makeup, and bathing suit shots that did not look quite as good as the individual thought. Aha, I thought, I shall just block newsfeeds or unfriend these people. I would eliminate the selfies from my life one Facebook friend at a time. There was a problem. People I really like started posting selfies. What was I to do? It’s one thing to block the pictures of grilled cheese sandwiches, bathroom mirrors, and cats of people I don’t really care to keep in my life, but what about the photographs of paninis (a grilled cheese sandwich considered fancy because it has grill marks), bathroom fixtures of immaculate taste, and adorably naughty kitties taken by my friends of depth and refinement? For the most part, I just sort of grumped to myself, occasionally posting taunting comments on Twitter. Then I bought the shirt. The shirt that expressed my inner self beyond all things. It has a skull with crossbones made of flaming knitting needles, and it says Born to Knit. Obviously the world must see this. It is a message of universal truth needed so desperately in this darkened world. I went to the only portrait studio in my house – the bathroom.
I wasn’t sure about the selfie-taking process. I went back to the computer and studied the selfies on Facebook. I went back to the bathroom. Back to the computer. I figured out the logistics of standing in front of the mirror and taking a picture with my phone. I took the picture. I wasn’t happy with it. I took five #@%R*@) pictures before I got one that made me feel less like Quasimodo with a cell phone. I posted it on Facebook. If you study the picture, you can see guilt oozing from my pores. I’m still not comfortable taking selfies. I will make Spouse take pictures of me, but I have trouble forcing myself to click the camera icon. But there are times when I want to break free with a selfie.
My favorite type of selfie is the type that celebrates an occasion. Once a year, two of my friends and I spend the day at Kure Beach. It is one of the highlights of my year. Now, the average middle-aged woman does not want a picture of herself in a bathing suit on Facebook. Nope. So we take a picture of our feet with our beautifully polished toenails partially peeking out from the sand. Our feet do not have wrinkles. No need for Photoshop or airbrushes. A picture of our feet is pure celebration of a memory. Sigh. Okay, I admit it – some selfies are good. In fact, most of them are good.
Dadgum it! We are taking over the selfies. Cleavage poppin, abdomen barin’, pants droppin’ people of the world take note – the era of obnoxious selfies is over. No longer will we be looking at your pitiful attempts to garner attention. We, the real people of the world say pfft. Better yet, put on some clothes and join us.
The brave friends who were trusting enough to send me a selfie and I start celebrating ourselves on social media today. We are worth celebrating! These are pictures of people looking real, even if they are wearing costumes! These are not low-light, photoshopped, skanky, sleazy, get-my-best-side pictures. These are………………….AWESOME! That’s right; I said it. These selfies are fabulous.