Let’s talk about self-image.
How comfortable are you taking pictures of yourself?
What do you think when you look at you?
Does your abuser’s voice still narrate your perception of self?
This is me in 2014. I had been divorced a few years already, but was still learning how to look at myself in healthy ways, and what to think about who I saw.
(Apparently on this day, I was feeling confidence for the camera. I wish I could go back and find out why. What prompted that particular self-love mood?)
I have mixed feelings about selfies. Women (and probably men, too, as well as our nonbinary peeps) can be harshly judged for selfies.
“She’s showing off.”
“She’s so full of herself, and just looking for superficial validation.”
Too, I’m aware of that internal conflict that abuse survivors harbor, having been belittled, humiliated, shamed for so long, and having been conditioned to believe we’re the self-absorbed, arrogant, hollow ones.
“Who cares about seeing a picture of me?”
“Am I too much?”
“Look at [insert abuser’s insult about physical appearance].”
That conditioning, that self-doubt, takes years to eradicate.
So a selfie can feel like a weapon, like a hamper on healing, but it can also be an exercise toward self-love. That’s why I have the mixed feelings. Because why *shouldn’t* we be comfortable taking pictures of ourselves? Why can’t we look at ourselves from all angles, see our vulnerabilities, see our beauty, and find something to love and celebrate?
Why should be we judged by people who think we’re being superficial attention-seekers, when all we’re doing is testing our sense of self-worth? And speaking of, who says positive validation from others isn’t part of what helps us navigate our sense of self-worth — especially after all the negative damage from abuse?
I say we embrace the selfies, because we are beautiful and worthy.