mustaches are still trendy, right?


believe it or not, but posting that series of self portraits the other day was one of the scariest things i've done here - scarier than sharing the very intimate story of my son's birth. sincerely. the story is just a bunch of words, but the pictures... they're so, well, visual. sure, the birth story tells pretty personal details about how my son was born, but we all came into the world in some way, shape, or form so. it's objective. pictures are not. they're very SUBjective. you don't need to bother with the effort of reading paragraph after paragraph because the photos speak for themselves ("a thousand words", or so they say).

so minutes after the pictures went up, i immediately sweat it. even now, days later, i'm still trying to convince myself not to take them down. {could totally do it too and only a few people would be confused about their mysterious disappearance.} instead though, i decided not only to keep them up, but draw all this unnecessary attention to them. why? because i've clearly got some insecurities and at 32, it's about time i get over them. this is the decade i'm supposed to finally feel comfortable in my own skin, for cripes sake!

it shouldn't be such a big deal really; they're just a bunch of goofy head shots. but they're raw - there was no editing done, no filters applied, no strategic cropping to cut out the unflattering. and THAT'S what makes me feel exposed and vulnerable. because that's what my hair actually looks like most days, that's what my skin actually looks like without makeup, and that first shot? the one where i look somewhat curious, somewhat angry? that's probably very close to my actual "resting face" (hopefully not "bitchy" but possibly just as unapproachable).

see, i was thinking about my own "selfie esteem" and realized that i'm totally one of those people who hides behind the camera. i've gotten pretty comfortable capturing life around me and don't have too hard a time pulling the camera out in public places, but turn that thing around and i get suuuuper self conscious. if this site has done anything though, it has forced me outside my comfort zone. and that's where the real personal growth happens.

so i challenged myself to be the subject of my pictures and, with a deep breath, i stepped around to the other side: front and center. i stared straight down the barrel of that lens and right into the camera's eye. {ok, maybe i winced a bit} eventually though, what started as awkward and tense became candid and even a little fun. i took dozens of photos and felt more confident with each snap. then - triumphant - i ran back inside, uploaded the photos, quickly choose four of the silliest, and hit 'publish' before i had time to second guess it.when i pulled up the finished product and peered back at the faces on the screen though i was like, wait, i look like what? 

there we were: mirror images scrutinizing each other. and then i didn't feel so triumphant anymore. {cue sad trombone: wah-wah.} the hair, the expressions, the discoloration above my lip... i have a HUGE complex about that mark. it appeared months ago when i was pregnant - malasma, it's called. or mustache, as my seven year old niece pointed out. {"...the darnedest things", right?} she was just being honest, the little dear. so was the esthetician who asked if i wanted my upper lip done after she finished with my eyebrows. suuuucks. anyway, i let myself indulge in the self loathing for a bit because, like a good cry, it's cathartic.

then i did what any photographer would do: adjusted the settings and refocused the lens.

i could either look at myself seeing flaws and imperfections or i could see uniquities and originatlities. it's all about perspective, folks. take the stache mark i now wear; it's a sign of pregnancy. of motherhood. of my son. like the linea negra that runs down from my belly button, it has faded in the eight+ months since his birth and who knows, with more time it may fade to nothing. but right now they are sweet and proud reminders of a child that i would take a thousand times over before an unblemished complexion.
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Claudin Mangum said...

oh my goodness, i love this. brave. and hillarious in the way you do. ;) By the way, Bitchy Face (and said attached video) - thanks for making me laugh in ways I havent laughed in a long time!!

andrea said...

mua mua and more muas. ...i'm still learning to be comfy in my skin too, and i got four years on you. gulp. motherhood takes a lot out of us (like my curls! siiigh.) but it's pretty amazing how instantly we all know we wouldn't take it back anyhow.

Brikena said...

what an adorable photo!!
and thank you for the sweet comment on my blog!

xo, Brikena


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