There is something about selfies that I love. I believe that when I am in control of the camera and taking a digital self-portrait that I am the best photographer for me. I can eliminate parts of my body that I prefer not to share. I can shift my stance to let the light reflect off my hair and not my roots. There’s even ways to tilt my head at just the right angle which can take years and pounds off of me. Some folks might consider selfies to be an act of vanity. To those people, I say “Cheese!” as I add another photo in my album of selfies.
Vanity is not something to toss aside. There was once a time in my life that self-admiration kept me in shape. That was when I was younger and doing whatever I needed to do to shed a few pounds, highlighted my hair, and enjoyed shopping for a new bathing suit or two before going to visit friends in Florida. As time passed and the frequency of those trips diminished, I lost a bit of a self-love with feeling and looking my best. It wasn’t that I stopped caring about how I looked, it was more that I stopped placing the focus on me, or how I felt about myself. It was that I started to take care of so many other things that I was no longer the center of my world. That is why I can appreciate the value of a good selfie.
If you can, imagine a camera that captures life moments, not of our physical selves, but moments of our deeper and more genuine beauty. These would be the candid photos highlighting our best actions, purest emotions, and random acts of kindness. My collection of photos would include a shot of me sitting in my car, having never left the parking lot, waiting for my son to finish his first day of nursery school. I’d have shots of me with the homeless man that I befriended and miss now that I no longer work in the city. You would see what I looked like when I celebrated my father’s life and sang loud and proud up the church aisle behind the police procession. I would even have photos of how it felt when I learned that somebody once so important to me and no longer in my life would survive an almost fatal accident with tears of gratitude smeared across my cheeks. Those are the photos of my life that would capture the person that I have become since those beauty shots from earlier times in Miami. They might not be worthy of Vogue or Sports Illustrated cover pages, but they would be the photos of a life worth living.
I ask that the next time you see a person taking a selfie notice how they smile. See how they hold their head back and even laugh at themselves as they snap away knowing that others see their temporary moment of insanity or vanity. I say to you “Bring on the selfies!” and remember to be the focal point in your life. To me, the person with the most selfies is telling the world that “I matter. I have value. I am beautiful. I am the center of my world.”