Friday, January 3, 2014

Expression of Self

It was just about 2 years ago that I sat in front of the camera and froze, nearly paralyzed. The room was silent after several minutes of fussing around about lighting and the silence along with the feeling of 3 pairs of eyes focused on me ignited a bit of a panic attack. Of course my reactions are generally held within so I sat, still, glancing over at the only pair of eyes I found comfort in. The silence felt heavier as the moments passed and I just couldn't give what they all wanted. The idea behind all of this was an attempt to help me restart my youtube channel and the video clip was being shot professionally. When I recorded I was always alone. I set the camera how I wanted. I lit myself and the room how I wanted. If I fucked up in speech, I'd start over without the pressure of other people standing around waiting. It was something that was mine wholly and had a homegrown feel whereas this felt like a huge production and just felt wrong.

Growing up my mom used to joke that if I ever went missing she'd have no shortage of photos to show the police. This was before the digital age, when film reigned. As the internet was born to us common folks and community sites popped up left and right, my own digital imagery was born as well through fuzzy webcams and eventually my first digital camera. Somehow I stumbled upon Photoshop and spent hours playing creating designs, layouts, ads, flyers etc for myself and friends. Long before "selfie" was ever a word, I had no issues with photographing myself and using that image as somewhat of an art piece. I loved doing it. Where my mom, who hates to have herself photographed and will fight it at any cost throwing her hands across her face, views it as narcissism, I always used to view it as a celebration of oneself and the various ways that self can be manipulated. In fact, "selfies" were my therapy and artistic expression after chemo. Selfies were how I first learned to hone any kind of skill set with makeup and lighting.

In conversation with a friend a few weeks ago about blogging, she showed me her site, explained how her stats had slowly grown and asked me for my opinion and any advice. I told her that she was missing. She shares what she likes and other peoples creations giving people a sense of her style, but she is nowhere to be found in her blog. As I ran that end of year statigram thing for Instagram last week, I was shocked that all my "top 5" photos were of myself. Back in the days of Migente, Collegeclub, MySpace, Livejournal and even Youtube, I had no qualms about posting photos of myself yet in recent years for whatever reason I became extremely uncomfortable with who I was and only shared myself through photos on rare occasions - which though the viewer may have not known, were emotionally driven for me and I cherished for one reason or another. Though I won't begin youtube again until I have the means to produce to my standards, I must again become comfortable with myself and my presence. Which has been slowly happening in ways I never explored before thanks to a very trusted soul.

On my birthday I vowed to myself I would write every day. I haven't posted every day, but I've written. In light of rediscovering myself and regaining comfortability with my image and presence, I'm going to post a photo every day because I'm remembering that there's nothing wrong with celebrating oneself so why the hell not? Here are the last 3 days:

January 1st 4am

January 2nd 1pm
Those days where I paint the sky as I please

January 3rd
There's certain ways the light always plays whenever you're in my world.

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