When I was growing up I remember standing in front of the mirror aged about 9 or 10 and plastering my sleep ruffled hair to my head with a comb that I had run under the cold tap. I simply couldn’t leave the house with my hair looking like it was trying desperately to leave my head, that’s my earliest memory of really giving 2 hoots about my appearance and there followed a snowball that rolled and gathered momentum. In my teens I was obsessed with how I looked, not always through vanity but I would definitely say that played a part, mostly through creativity. Shopping with mum in Bury town centre one Saturday aged 14 I remember picking up a pot of blue hair dye and mum saying “that’s cool” and my eyes lit up…. OMG I could actually have different coloured hair! And I did… You name the colour, my hair has been there, done that and attracted varying degrees of attention. (see the gallery at the bottom of the post for my full cringeworthy past)
Obsessing over my appearance will never go away, I’m glad that I experimented and played about with the way I look as a teenager because I feel more comfortable about what works for me now. It’s not the mohawk, the 80s mullet or the crazy contact lenses that made my eyes look like deathly spirals (I kid you not!).
I’ve had a weird problem that my family were always aware of… people look at me, they stare, I warranted a lot of that with my crazy coloured hair. Dad once remarked “you’re as inconspicuous as a 6 foot matchstick!” when I was trying to sneak my way across a crowded restaurant with a head of pillar box coloured spiky hair. I didn’t always ask for the attention though and even when I’ve been dressed as mundane as I could bare, people still seem to have found my appearance something to behold. I have NEVER felt comfortable with this, I’ve been a model on various photo shoots and the photos are great but I virtually shake in front of the camera as it’s all eyes on me.
Until… the selfie generation! Myspace, facebook, twitter and oh lovely instagram with your flattering filters, thanks dude don’t ever go away, they have changed the way I look at myself because of the selfie! Pose, pout, smile or laugh, find a position that suits your face in the frame, turn your head, lift it to the light, stand against the flattering backdrop. Yes I know how it feels, I know the process, I am selfie obsessed and make no apologies for it.
My selfie says “this is me” this is the way I want you to see me and I’m happy with what is staring back. What a confidence boost, what a great thing to look at a picture and decide that what’s in front of you is the person you are, the person you want to be and the person you can be every day. The selfie is the gift that keeps on giving, I even started smiling on them recently! I am now at one with my wonky teeth and invite friends and family and my dog Stanley on my selfies. Thank Apple for my forward facing camera and for helping me finally be at one with my appearance, I might even stop changing it.
So is it just me that has found fun and confidence in the selfie? I asked a few of my friends to tell me about their selfies,
Will Taylor – Bright Bazaar
I don’t post traditional selfies (i.e. holding the camera and shooting myself) very often but when I do it’s usually based around fashion or style. I started sharing pictures of my outfits on because I wanted to take more care about the way I looked and dressed. Working from home makes it all too easy to work in slouchy, comfy clothes; by posting it feels like a fun way to document my outfits, while also encouraging me to try and look my best even if I am just working out of my home office for the day!
Allison Sadler – The People Shop
[blockquote]This picture makes me feel warm and happy because I see a happy girl smiling back at me, a happy girl who loves flowers and likes to eat lots of cake! I never take myself too seriously and hope this picture reflects my fun personality.[/blockquote]
Igor Josif – Happy Interior Blog
[blockquote] When I look at my selfie I feel very confident as I am looking into the face of a person I know and feel comfortable about. It’s the face of an authentic guy who has chosen to live life with a smile on his face instead of frowns[/blockquote]
Arianna Trapani – Arianna’s Daily
[blockquote]Selfies for me are a fun way of expressing how I feel. If I’m feeling happy, good about myself or even bored then I may take it as an opportunity to share it with my online friends. It’s all for a bit of fun! This selfie of me was just after I had my hair done so obviously it was a perfect photo opportunity – it’s not everyday my hair looks like that! Looking at this selfie makes me feel good and gives me confidence in the way I look. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think I’m beautiful, far from it but I’m very comfortable in my own skin and I have learnt to accept all of my imperfections – well nearly all 😉 [/blockquote]
Gerard McGuickin – Walnut Grey Design
[blockquote]My ‘selfie’ is making me feel frustrated and somewhat vexed about the way I look. Ignoring the fact I need a haircut, I can clearly see the grey in my hair. I look older. I can also see the anxiety in my expression (it’s a bit of an anxious time for me at the minute). So on the whole, this ‘selfie’ has me feeling a little annoyed with myself.[/blockquote]
Tina Bernstein – Colour Living
[blockquote]How do I feel when looking at my selfie? I don’t like it…. I am not very photogenic and don’t usually like photos of me full stop. I do like funny ones. Here I was trying to blow a kiss but as I’m not that familiar with taking selfies it doesn’t show.[/blockquote]
Sophie – Barista at About Coffee, Colne
[blockquote]I just don’t like looking at myself in selfies or other photos so I wanted to hide behind a tray![/blockquote]
Andrew Stephenson MP – Andrew was in hospital with appendicitis when he posted this selfie on twitter, much to the amazement of many of his constituents. I think it was a great thing to do, specially as he can be criticised for being over present in local media.
[blockquote]I feel that my selfie makes me look cross eyed. I don’t seem to take a good selfie lol[/blockquote]
Adrian Dickson – @adriandickson
[blockquote]People always ask me for pictures. Apparently I never do enough. The more real they are the better it seems.[/blockquote]
David Munday – Associate DKA Architects
[blockquote]At 41, I’m happy with how I look[/blockquote]