It’s Not About Vanity

The internal dialogue went something like this. . .

Why would I take self portraits?  It seems kind of. . . vain?  Self indulgent? Uncomfortable? Why would I spend time doing something I abhor by placing myself in front of the camera?  Besides, who am I to think I could even tackle such a project?  Such things are for the photographers, the edgy type, the risk-takers, the real artists.  I’m just a small town girl with a little camera feeling my way through every day. . . I’d just be wasting my time.

. . . I’m sure there was more, but that was the gist of the one-sided conversation that took place in my head as I contemplated taking part of the In The Picture project.  Despite my own resistance, something about the project wooed me.  Something reached past my fears and insecurities and beckoned me to do something that would typically make me run in the opposite direction.  I had no idea why, but I just knew I had to give it a shot.

When the project began I told myself I would take at least one self portrait this year.  Then it became two.  Then three. . . four. . .five. . . up to eight, so far. 

Certainly, it seems odd to some. . . this taking self portraits thing.  I know it seemed strange to me at first.  But as I took those initial small steps from behind to the front of the camera, I began to understand that it’s not about vanity at all.  I began to see that this project, at least for me, is about so much more than taking a picture.  In a strange way, it has been another step toward discovering this whole other person inside of me. 

Oh, don’t hear me wrong. . . this crazy-I-could-care-less-what-anyone-thinks person hasn’t emerged from deep within. . . but I have caught glimpses of someone who is a little braver, slightly bolder, a bit less reserved, and far more willing to look silly.  This person is finding herself a little more comfortable stepping out into the unknown, and willing to admit that maybe, as Marianne Williamson puts it, she too, is meant to shine. 

And maybe this is going to sound crazy, but this whole thing has gotten me asking a lot of questions.  ‘What if’ questions. . .

What if we all believed we were meant to shine?  What if each of us lived up to our full potential?  What if we all saw ourselves as we truly are?  What if we had the courage to face our fears?  What if each of us had the courage to chase our dreams? What if we all shined as we are meant to shine?

What if?


Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.  Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.  It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us.  We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and fabulous?  Actually, who are you not to be?  You are a child of God.  your playing small doesn’t serve the world.  There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you.  We are all meant to shine, as children do.  We are born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us.  It’s not just in some of us, it’s in everyone.  And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.  As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others. -Marianne Williamson

  • lisa - February 21, 2012 - 1:15 pm

    I know I probably sound like some crazy blog stalker…but I seriously can't help sharing with you how MUCH I love your "voice"…you have such a gift with words. I wish you were my next door neighbor…I just know we'd be great friends!! 🙂

    Thanks as always for your inspirational perspective! It has been so much fun watching and reading your growth thru this blog…but also to see the way you've rubbed off on me. 🙂

    *hugs to you*ReplyCancel

  • LeAnne - February 21, 2012 - 6:20 pm

    I had the same reservations about participating in this challenge, too. Not only did my inner voices chide me, I could actually hear what "other" people would say about it. I think there is a lot to be learned from this project.ReplyCancel

  • Trophy Life - February 22, 2012 - 1:30 am

    love that picture. love that quote. love that this project is stirring something inside and i'm loving the results. yay.ReplyCancel

  • Jen - February 24, 2012 - 1:24 pm

    Great picture & awesome words. I have those same "what if" questions going through my mind each time I decide to take a self portrait. I think this is a great project for us to come to know and accept ourselves as the beautiful beings we are!ReplyCancel

  • Catherine Denton - February 24, 2012 - 3:26 pm

    Wow, this made me cry. I've been struggling through this self-portrait journey and you put beautiful words to my thoughts; then went a step beyond. I love your What If questions and I will be thinking of them all day. That quote and your selfie are beautiful!
    Catherine DentonReplyCancel

  • Kat Sloma - February 24, 2012 - 3:42 pm

    What if… we said yes instead of saying no to ourselves so much! Love your message, along with your self portrait.ReplyCancel

  • Kimberly June - February 24, 2012 - 6:16 pm

    I think a lot of us participating in this project have had those same exact thoughts about the perception of self photography. So many of the self portrait photographers that I admire are young, thin, beautiful, and could walk the runway if they chose. I…am not. But the fellowship of everyone participating, the encouragement, and inspiration helps shut those voices up. I love your words and photo.ReplyCancel

  • Bridget - February 24, 2012 - 8:58 pm

    Wow what an amazing post. Your picture is great to, but your post really speaks to the heart of all women! Greta job.ReplyCancel

  • urban muser - February 25, 2012 - 3:39 am

    ok you already know i love that self-portrait…and now i love your words too. this post is awesome. it's so meaningful to me to see the progression in your journey and what it means to you. i am so glad this project is having an effect on you. thanks so much for linking up at {in the picture} today!ReplyCancel

  • brandy-son Zen master flash - February 25, 2012 - 4:26 am

    Well said, incredibly inspiring, loved it.ReplyCancel

  • Susan - February 25, 2012 - 6:52 pm

    I thought this one of the most creative "word" selfies I saw this month. Congrats. I love your thoughts on this selfie voyage and I too am finding it resonates, not only in what we see in the images, but also what we see inside.ReplyCancel

  • Tamoonstone - February 26, 2012 - 9:53 am

    I love your photo, your words, and I especially love your honesty in this post. Thank YouReplyCancel

  • Cathy H. - February 28, 2012 - 10:33 pm

    Lovely image and lovely post! I've had many of the same feelings you've had about {in the picture}, but I've kept on pushing myself! I'm so glad you wrote these encouraging words!ReplyCancel

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