perjantai 29. maaliskuuta 2013

Day 187: Who am I


I used to take pictures of myself (more specifically my face) all the time. This is a habit that began in my late teens, around the age 16 or so, when I got into photography. I would take tens of pictures of myself in different lightings, surroundings, accessories, clothing, hairdo's etc. in order to find a “perfect shot” where I would look good in whatever way I desired. Sometimes I've wanted to look depressed and beaten, sometimes happy and sunny, sometimes cool and distant, sometimes powerful, sometimes sweet – whatever image I have wanted to paint of myself.

I realize I have done this as a way of reinforcing my self-image. I have picked whatever character I have wanted to live as and taken pictures to convince myself and others I am in fact like the character. I have lived majorly through images by shaping my self-image in my mind according to how my face looks (in pictures, mirrors etc), in both good and bad.

About a year ago I stopped taking pictures of myself. I would still enjoy looking at pictures others had taken of me and choosing which ones to share; all the while I browse images of myself I am completely blind to anything but the question “how do I look”.

So today I picked up my camera and took some pictures of myself for the first time in a year. This was an experiment I had not planned to see what happens. I first noticed that I didn't really know how to pose anymore, and when I tried to the images looked stiff and faked. I guess one has to believe in it for it to look convincing, lol.

The second thing I noticed while looking at some of the first pictures I took was that I looked really tired in the pictures even though I didn't feel like it (I may have been though as I'd had a long day up until then).

Then I took a picture that for once didn't look faked – and I didn't recognize myself from it. I looked at the picture of my face and I thought: “Is this what I look like? Is this me?” Of course lighting and stuff can do a lot to alter the resulting photo, but nevertheless what I realized in that moment was that I had become disconnected from the self-perception that used to define me according to images because ever since the last time I have used specific images to define me I have changed a lot – and it's not just that my hair has gotten longer.

But when I looked at it practically, I had to admit that no matter how distant that image felt to me, it was in fact a snapshot of who I was in that heartbeat – and that if I felt disconnected from the image I was seeing, I was also disconnected from my very self.

And then I realized this links to another subject I have been thinking about today, which is self-suppression.

Lately I have noticed myself suppressing myself a lot. It may be that I have had a “down period” where my practical application is slackier than usual, or it may be that I am becoming more aware of the moments where I have suppressed myself all along. Either way, I've had a wake-up call of sorts. For some days now I have focused so much on writing about shit that isn't here to be practically dealt with that I have ignored the practical application of my process – the movement and the change in which self-forgiveness is a supportive tool but not the purpose itself.

I've had trouble dealing with this self-suppression thing because I haven't known where to begin as it seems to spread out on every fucking interaction (or maybe I've just happened to be in touch with those people that I have difficulties with). I was looking for a trigger or a starting point I could locate before I go head-first into doubt and suppression instead of just acting upon my initial impulse, and all I could find was the physical feeling I get in my body when and as I suppress my self-expression.

But as I was thinking about this self-image thing and a discussion I had today, I realized that I really don't know who I am. I keep telling myself to “stand within myself as myself” and all these grand things without ever stopping to look and see who it is that I really am. Self-confidence is to be myself; self-trust is to be myself; truly standing on my own two feet is to know myself and fully rely on myself. So how can I expect myself to not suppress myself around everyone when I have no idea who I am? How am I to not fear what others think of me when I don't know what to think about myself?

This is not about defining myself according to some characteristics or about painting a picture – it's about knowing who I am within this mess of myself and where I stand within that mess – what are my capabilities and incapabilities – what are the challenges I face – and what principles do I live according to; how and where to do I direct myself? It's about facing myself in good and bad and taking action on all of it.

So I will now begin mapping out who I am at this moment, at this point of time, to be able to stand more clear within myself, and through this I will move onto opening up the point of self-suppression in more detail. I have been somewhat lousy in doing planned writings, but this time I'm trying this simply by setting a guideline but not planning too much in detail what to write about – I mean, “who I am” is quite the vast question and can be approached in many ways, lol. So let's see what comes out of this.

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