I took this selfie the other day and remembered that there was a time when I believed my face was unattractive unless I was smiling. I felt like I needed look palatably cute and unfailingly happy, and that both of these things were inherently tied to my femininity. I don’t know exactly at what points I began to shift in thinking but I realized eventually that abandoning my smile in photographs didn’t mean abandoning my femmeness, and that it is okay to publicly serious individual.
I realize as I write this that the shift itself isn’t just about a change my self-image, but a shift in my attitude towards what aspects of my personality I wanted to present to the world. I am no longer afraid to be everything I can be and always looking for more; I actively work on a daily basis resist and deconstruct various ways I’ve been conditioned to shrink as an person, in body and mind.I have recognized that a key piece of this process is to allow my identity to be more publicly vulnerable; to have this practice witness by others and be honest about myself; to encourage others I encounter to be more radically honest in response. I have not only begun to understand how to occupy/take up more space in ways that are authentic to my identity but also how to be a facilitator of creating space for other individuals to occupy as well.
So this is me these days. I exhaust myself on a regular basis but I love the process too much to ever give up on it. And so, I do take myself seriously. I take my work seriously, I take my art seriously, I take my writing seriously, and I take my selfies seriously. I refuse to hide any longer.