Take(ing) Selfies: I Swear I’m Not a Narcissist


My alarm to take my nightly meds just went off. I’ll do it soon, but first I wanted (had) to write.  I realize that I might end up going to bed in a few hours rather than a few minutes, but I don’t care.  After a rough few days, I’m back.  I’m back and I’m glowing and I’m positively flying, in fact.  Gravity is nothing, I stand on top of the tallest towers and I embrace the whole world in my arms.  I love every person, every moment, every single thing.  I am infinite, I am perfect, and I am enough.  

I used to wonder, on a somewhat habitual basis, if I had bipolar or some other mood disorder.  For years, I worried over my seemingly irrational mood swings, the outrageous extremes of ups and downs, the times when I felt invincible and the times where I was despicable.  In between were chapters of apathy, sections of numbness, and around we would go again.  It wasn’t so much of a cycle as three factors that could come up in any combination that life delightfully considered the most cruel at the time.  I don’t care so much anymore.  In fact, I don’t even think of it.  

I’m still not good at feelings–whatever that’s supposed to mean.  Instead, I have colors.  And that works for me, it sums up a very wide range of my daily experiences.  My counselor today told me to go through a stack of feeling cards, and pull out the ones that fit my reactions to a specific situation I had been describing.  I’ve done this before, but for some reason today it was especially difficult.  They always say not to think too hard about those things, to just go with your gut, but what do you do when you don’t have a gut?  Not to say that I’m some psychopathic emotionless robot; I just happen to have a canvas on the inside instead of a gut.  In essence, I process, experience, and understand feelings and emotions in a completely different way than most people.  I’m tempted to worry about this, to feel broken or messed up, inferior somehow.  Bullshit.  

I’m not better than anyone else, and no one else is better than me.  I’m just different.  And that’s okay.  Sometimes I glow for hours or even whole days, burning through the depth of joy that comes from loving myself, my existence.  Other times I’m caught in a grey tide, a colorless void, where I drift and flounder and stumble until a spark ignites again and I am deepened into a bolder, brighter hue.  And you know what?  That’s okay too.  There might be some fancy diagnosis for not being able to process feelings or having such ridiculous mood swings.  I like to think that I get to give other people a new way of imagining feelings, a firsthand perspective on how I experience life.  I like to think that I get to let others get to know me in a very unique way.  I like to think that I am quirky and interesting and very much nothing but myself.  

Which brings me to perhaps the most exciting highlight of my day–selfies.  Oh, you didn’t think I was that type of girl?  Or you’re fed up with such narcissistic fascination?  Well.  I’m sorry you think that way.  You see, I’ve come to be a proud supporter of selfies, and I’ll tell you why.  I used to hate myself.  I loathed my existence.  I hated any and every single thing about who I was, what I did, the way I lived.  All of it.  I couldn’t stand my reflection, I gave myself scars to punish myself for being alive, for not being able to end it all and stop being such a hideous waste of space, taking up oxygen better left to someone who deserved it more than I did.  I overdosed and starved and punished and suffered because I wasn’t worth anything.  You know what that turned out to be?  More bullshit, because I’m great at bullying myself and thinking I’m shit.  

Something I dared to do this summer was start taking pictures of myself.  (Don’t get your panties in a bunch–unless you’re into that sort of thing…)  Anyway, it took a good half hour or more of psyching myself up to take just one picture.  Just one. And when I finally looked at it, my stomach was trying to crochet itself into my intestines.  But you know what?  I took a few deep breaths, talked to myself for another twenty minutes, and took some more pictures.  I started just playing around, taking five or ten pictures in a row and then going through to see what turned out.  By the time I was done, I was laughing.  I was enjoying myself.  I was having fun.  Why?  Because I could look at the face staring back at me and, for once, love her.  

This summer I learned just how much worth I have, how much value, how much I matter.  Coming back to school, it was hard to remember that.  Here were so many other people, prettier than me people, smarter than me people, better than me people.  How the hell was I supposed to compete?  Obviously, I’m not supposed to.  I don’t have to.  Because they are who they are and I am who I am.  I have been made as me and they have been made as themselves.  All I have to do is love–love them, love myself, love the God who made us all.  Hallelujah, amen, you’re dismissed.  

It ain’t rocket science–we’re all beautiful people because we have been called beloved, treasured, child.  So when I see other people’s selfies, I rejoice.  I am proud of them.  Go you, for loving who you are, for being proud of the way you look.  Go you, for having fun and goofing off.  Go you for seeing something in yourself to offer and share with the whole world.  Because you are worthwhile, you look beautiful, and you have so much to give.  I’m so happy that you saw that today, whether you see it every few hours or every few years or once in a lifetime.  That face on the other side of the screen is worth more than silver, more than gold, more than fame.  We’re not only allowed to love ourselves, but we’re commanded to.  “Love your neighbor as yourself” doesn’t work so well when yo’re filled with self-loathing–trust me, I have years of experience trying to force it.  (A particular favorite saying of mine: Love is like a fart–if you have to force it, it’s probably shit.)  

So yes, I did spend an hour or so this afternoon taking pictures of myself and uploading them to my computer.  I did play around and edit some of them.  I did create an album on Facebook.  I did laugh and enjoy myself and have fun.  I was allowed to have bad days to feel weird, to goof off, to think I looked funny.  I’m the kind of girl who gets to give herself grace, who gets to love and forgive and be compassionate to who she is and how she feels and what she goes through.  I get to see the girl I am becoming, the girl I have always been, that Deeper Girl who holds fast to hope, to faith, to love.  I get to see myself not through my own eyes, but through God’s.  Child.  Treasure.  Mine. 

 

Beloved

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About thefreescribbler

My life is one of words. I am a scribbler, whose thoughts are best expressed through adjectives and phrases and punctuation marks. I would not go so far as to call myself a writer, although many would disagree. I’m characterized more by my unfinished works and half-embodied ideas, scraps of stories and parts of poems. Maybe one day I’ll be a writer, but I’m okay with being a scribbler right now. It fits my personality and style, and best expresses my aims. I’m not trying to create some lofty version of literature. I’m just a kid blogging about life. View all posts by thefreescribbler

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