This was a really tough assignment.
At first I convinced myself that it would be fun. I’d train the lens on myself, get some good light, get in really close, and see the me that everyone else sees. I’d capture the grey hairs coming in, the deepening wrinkles around my eyes and mouth, the ever-more crooked alignment of my eyes.
The self-portrait would be a warts-and-all revelation and I’d appreciate the grown woman I’d see in just the way I appreciate strong, aging, character-full women all around the world. Think of Maggie Smith’s beautiful bearing and face. Norma Waterson. Judi Dench.
And I’d fall in love with that me, the me I don’t imagine when I picture myself, perpetually 25.
Well, no. I didn’t fall in love.
Those brightly lit, close-up photos startled me. Who. Was. That?!
Clearly, those close-up shots are only for truly beautiful faces, smoothed with makeup, then further smoothed with Photoshop.
I took some more pictures, this time at more of a distance, and I gave myself the cover of darkness. The woman I saw then was still not the woman in my head, but she was closer. An older version, a version I could look at without wincing.
This is not an exercise I’m anxious to repeat, but it was good. I spent a day with my face. I smiled at myself. I made some crazy faces. I saw myself from the vantage of a stranger. I learned more about my camera. I summoned the bravery to post a picture of my own self on the Internet. And the world chugs on. Big deal. Move on. Who cares what I look like?
Have I done anything good today?
At nearly 47, I’m Uncle Vanya’s age. Old.
I’m Jane Kenyon’s age when she died. Far too young.
I’m still in the middle of it all, neither here not there, still etching my wrinkles and lines, still working on that older, confident woman I hope to someday be. And I’ve got lots to do.
Oh, I love this SO MUCH. I see a beautiful woman. Who sees and cares and responds and DOES. Hooray for YOU.
Thank you! xoxo
This is lovely, you are lovely. Thanks for saying it so well.
Oh… you are sweet. Thank you so much!
Brave, brave woman. LOL…that said, I think your portrait photo is beautiful. That said, I think this is not you. This photo is flat and lifeless (as all portrait photos are by their very nature)…anyone who knows anything about you knows that you are not flat and lifeless!! This photo would need animation and depth and color and life and softness and that light in the eyes that finds humor, interest, love, frustration, and skepticism for this to be truly a self portrait of you. A good attempt but this is not my friend Rebecca who makes me smile and laugh every single day! 🙂 xo
Kayte… you are making me blush. Thank you so much for being my friend! xo
One photo can’t capture the many facets of a person, but I love the experience and sternness you reveal in this portrait. You look determined, yet you remain vulnerable. I see a grown Woman.
I love your picture, but I love your words more.