I started this thing.
See, I own a business and take all my own product photos and social media which turned into heyyyy.. a lot. of. selfies. The thing is, over time I started to learn things from taking my own photo on the regular-- things about myself, things about marketing, things about communication.
I decided to take on a challenge. 100 selfies in 100 days.
1. Take it myself.
2. No prep. No filters. Whatever I look like that day, that's it.
3. The photo has to encompass the general feeling of that day.
Depressed? Elated? Make-uped? Hungover? Exhausted? Excited? Over it? They're all invited. For 100 days.
The hilarious part of all this is it actually kicked my beHIND and taught me more than I expected by a landslide. I initially did this in the name of authenticity. I did this for the customers. The scrollers. The people who think they know me and have watched my business grow and my smile and my hair grow bigger in every consecutive photo and thought it was the whole story. But, this will turn into a multi-post ordeal because of the faces of depression, humor and photography skills that crept in too!
The whole story is more than social media can show. And I'm passionate about highlighting all of it. I've struggled much of my life with depression and anxiety. It's gotten worse over the last couple years while my business thrived. I am married to the first teenage boy I ever loved (ha!) and he gets better every day. Me-- me, I get more unstable everyday so as you can imagine we're perfect for each other! He's such a lucky guy! I have two young children whom I love with all my heart and sanity. I used to be a perfectionist, clean-freak. Now I don't give a damn because I'm just. that. tired. I was sick for 2+ years. Now I work everyday I'm able in my 100 degree garage with my hands.
Life is crazy and humans are breathtaking. Our impact is immeasurable when put toward the right things and our resilience and thirst is mind-blowing. But the thing is, people want to see your FACE. They want to know you and your story when you make your impactful statement or its worth is half as much.
So here it is. Here's what I learned about selfies and telling stories with your face.
1. I felt better when I put in the effort
I'm not talking about magazine cover effort. I'm talking about whatever it is that makes you look in the mirror and SEE the beauty you want to FEEL. When I blotted the undereye concealer, I felt a little less tired. When there was mascara on in the morning, I was more likely to run those errands like a boss instead of, "I'll do it tomorrow, I look like... I need a nap. Or an EMT". There was a pattern of increased energy from just LOOKING like I could handle more during the day. I will take any placebo effect I can get and this was definitely a surprising one for me.
Post Script: If you wake up with enough energy for the day regardless of the mirror.. wear. it. all. day.
2. The photos got easier
Not in the "I've found my good side" way, but in the "I've seen it all, I've seen me at my worst" and then snapped a photo of it anyway way.
Over 100 days of staring at my own face in a camera, I saw all the angles. I saw the joy and the under eye bags and the resting b* face. Yes I have it. Yes, some days I felt as awful as I looked.. other days I thought I was taking a 'tired' photo when in reality I looked like someone rear ended me on the way to a funeral.
That's why I consider myself more than qualified to say, get. in. the. picture. When you're in enough pictures, eventually that cringe, like when you heard your own voice on the answering machine, it fades. It all melds into what makes you you because there's nothing more to hide. Now if I'd done 100 days in a bathing suit we might not be having this conversation but at this point in the game friends, the freedom is worth documenting.
Getting comfortable with yourself, in the mirror, in your own thought life, your own photo album--it's worth practicing. You are fearfully and wonderfully made, every quirk and chin roll, every emotion and expression and hair day. Every inch was created for GOOD. Celebrate it, whether there's a camera on you or not.
3. Joy dresses up better than makeup
This ones doesn't take a rocket scientist but it took me 100 days. Makeup makes me feel a little better but the days when there was a genuine, GENUINE smile, I felt more beautiful than any pulled together day. By a MILE. And pardon me if I may be so bold, but you can see it too.
Your energy is 150% better spent on joy than on looking your best.
4. The general feeling of the day is more than the moments
I had more days I would have labeled "rough" in the 100 than it probably even seems. But when following the rules (as I do...) and having to encompass the general feeling of the day into a photo, I was surprised to find it wasn't that bad. In an instant I'd think, well, I FEEL exhausted and I've been exploding at my children but in a quiet breath in and out... phhhhh it's really just the small compounding moments that are getting to me. I'm not at my worst. I'm not even halfway there. I am alive and doing things I want to do, my attitude could use a kick in the pants but gosh darnit the sun is out and everyone is healthy and today's Chick-Fil-A day! You think I'm joking. But bam, happy selfie. The changes, the ACKNOWLEDGMENTS were small, friends.
There will be more on this soon in a second post entitled 100 Days With Depression. When it's live I will link it here.
5. People WANT to see your face in photos
Here's the truth. I learned quickly when starting my business, if you want to sell or say anything through social media, include your face. I know not all of you are trying to sell anything but the reality is, people slow their scroll for real faces.
But, WHY? Why. Why do we feel drawn to the person even more than the art or the general share?
I think it's because we are longing for real connection. That's it. If we can get a glimpse of the person behind the brand or look into someone's eyes when they are telling us something, it has the impact of the face-to-face (what we were made for, btw). We are facial creatures, friends. We can read intention, even in a photograph. We can feel at ease or invited into conversation, or let in , or duped, or sometimes, you know when.. it's clear we are just spectators to the 'show'.
Even if you're just sharing your day-to-day, your family, your life-- if it's important to you, share your face. If a picture is worth 1,000 words, a face is worth the 100 real ones.
For all of my 100 photos, keep scrolling.
That's it for now, lovely people. Because I know only you lovely ones have made it this far on this new blog of mine! You are gems. You are why I stay up late and why, some days, I even continue this social media situation.
Now. Go out there and if your community or your family are in need of more of your face, give it to them first. But then we'd all like to see it.
You had me at depressed, but then you REALLY had me at hungover… I didn’t think any other mother dealt with that, let alone took a selfie of it. I want to tell my 2nd grader to take herself to the bus stop because I’m hungover but she doesn’t understand that. I pretend like I’m present but in reality it’s SO hard to be present for all three offspring. Anyway, thank you for your honesty in sharing this project because in this time of “Instagram perfect,” it’s helpful to lift each other up (even unintentionally) by being. Just. Real.
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