In a new development (and surprising plot twist!) there’s a frightfully high number of selfies and pictures I’ve taken of myself (in a vast array of mirrors, wherever I encounter them) on my phone. Suddenly, every third picture is a picture of me. Taken by me. Sometimes in a moment of put-together-ness, all dressed up and made up, but many, many times in a state of everyday-ness. A look at my gallery, scrolling backwards instead of forwards, has become a window into the many states of my being these past few weeks, and it occurred to me quite suddenly yesterday, that this ability to take many, many pictures of myself — candidly, unabashedly — is new.
I used to consider it excessively self-involved and (slightly pathetic, tbvh) when I’d see other indulge in this sort of constant selfie-taking. But of course, with time and when you’ve had a personal experience of it, everything takes on a different hue. Judgements drop, perceptions change. The unthinkable suddenly becomes so acceptable, it’s almost taken for granted. Enough of a lived/true experience of anything, can do that.
So even though 90% of these images never make their way out of my phone (this is like a super self-involved library for one — me) suddenly, this ability to take pictures to myself feels like it’s tied to the sort of awakening and turning over yet another new leaf that I have been experiencing these past weeks.
The pieces of the puzzle fell into place when I, after holding off on the impulse to shave my head for two weeks thinking it would pass (IT DIDN’T), landed up at the salon yesterday and found myself explaining the urge to my hairdresser:
I’m just ready to show more of my face, I said. I’ve had enough of hiding behind a mop of hair lying down on my forehead.
Slowly, and mostly privately, a comfort has crept up on me quietly. But on realising this today, I scrolled through my blog too and surprise, surprise (not) there’s way more mirror pictures and selfies of myself on here these past few weeks, than ever before. And somehow, it all makes sense to me.
I didn’t end up shaving my head. Because my hairdresser very wisely said there are other ways to get the hair off my forehead.
Go very, very short, she said.
Like you have nothing to hide, she said.
So, I now have the shortest hair I’ve had in a very long time. And it felt strangely liberating and comfortable. I remember how exposed I felt the last time it was this short, when it happened by mistake and how I desperately waited for it to grow into a comfortable, familiar length.
I didn’t ever think a haircut could feel like naked, but then again, I never thought I’d take this many pictures of myself either. And that lopsided smirk is me thinking Okay, so I’m now somebody who, oblivious to the world around, takes pictures of myself in the front seat of a cab.
I surely didn’t see this coming.
I know I’m onto something. Something about seeing myself fully, and allowing myself to be seen. It’s possibly the next big step in knowing my true self. Because this is how I’ve turned the corner on every inflection point so far — suddenly, unexpectedly, overwhelmingly arriving at a realisation only when I connect the dots looking back. And so even if this is an essential part of the journey of getting comfortable in my own skin, of seeing all parts of myself — including the ones that have hitherto made me very uncomfortable — so I can own my full potency, I’ll take it.
One year ago: Talking about worries and problems, people