Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Get Messy: Self Portrait with Affirmations

         I loved the idea for this prompt, but a lot of affirmations make me feel a bit itchy. So I was struggling to think of what text to include around my selfie.

Then I remembered an experience I had when I was teaching art in Palestine. It was after work one day and we were out grocery shopping. In the evenings, I would often get stressed thinking about everything that had gone wrong in the classroom that day and my lesson plans for the next. Driving home, I started to feel the anxiety creeping in and began running through my inventory of Things to Worry About - but found myself coming up short. And then I heard a voice inside me that said "You have everything you need." Soon followed by "You are everything you need." Hippie stuff, I know, but true story. It reminded me of a passage in Eat, Pray, Love where Elizabeth Gilbert talks about being comforted and guided by a similar voice - something deep and wise that was both her and above her. Those words of affirmation will always have a special place in my heart. It is my own personal version of "you are enough."

This prompt also made me see the magic of self-portraiture. As awkward as it felt to smile and stare off into the distance, I love the result.  I love that it's me, after work, in my backyard, as I am. I am not too interested in taking a side in the Great Selfie Debate of the millenium- but I know in the future I will want to look back on pictures of myself. I have so many of my boyfriend, mostly as a backdrop for whatever meal we are eating, and comparatively few of myself. I think we all fantasize that we will date a photographer who will lovingly capture us as we are, and one day, when we are Secretary of State, Buzzfeed will discover the photos and run an article about how hot we were back in the day. (No? Just me then?) But until then, it's up to use to make sure we capture ourselves. If you wait around and hope that other people will take great pictures of you, you miss the opportunity to see yourself through your own lens.

I love that the photo and the text both capture that sense of self-possession and self-confidence and enoughness. This spread is super simple - just some flowers cut out from an old Rifle Paper catalogue and some letter cut-outs. Some of my favorite colors in clothing and in paper.

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