SELF PORTRAIT

self portrait
Image Source: Pinterest

Sometimes I think I have it figured out – why I love and hate writing in equal measure. I theorize endlessly on my motivations and fears, influences and hindrances, passions and distractions. The reason then seemingly dawns on me, and I go “Aha! I have attained self-actualization and know why I haven’t put out a blog in two years.”

The reasons vary from fluctuating weather patterns affecting my moods, a sudden and all-consuming interest in the behavior of the honey bee, a self-imposed ban from social media, joblessness, a heart stolen by a love interest, laziness (I’m putting my money on this one), repeated episodes of existential crises, and by far the largest motivator – insecurity. Which is ironic, considering I’m Maasai, and we make amazing watchmen; you’d imagine I’d be at least secure in my own self.

But alas, it isn’t so. Writing and I are like drink and an alcoholic. We are in this perpetual cycle of taunting and teasing, self-loathing coupled with resolve, inspiration mixed with madness, a drain on my inner being, but no matter what anyone says, most alive when I am lost in it.

I am given to the dramatic, if you haven’t caught on yet. Take my ramblings with a fistful of salt.

I’m merely a glorified composition writer who doesn’t get paid enough (or anything) to bare their life in words for strangers to get a chuckle from and feel better about their own lot. But I’ll have the last laugh. For example, look at how I’ve written all this but barely said anything…it’s good for my word count, and makes me seem like I have a lot to say, so let me just keep filling this out, thank you very much. It’s interesting you know, if you ask me – which you haven’t- but I’ll ask on your behalf, and answer. If you ask me, I think you’re as much of a loony as I am to still be reading this while I haven’t communicated a single coherent thought since I began writing this piece.

But you’re still here, for some reason, like me…so let’s see if we can’t make ourselves feel as if we aren’t wasting our time, and most importantly our data bundles.

 

THE ANECDOTE TO KEEP YOU INTERESTED

There’s a girl who I was classmates with throughout campus. Her name is Meg. She was warm and genial (and still is, hopefully, wherever she is – this isn’t a croak story), tough – as all lady engineers tend to be, always dressed to kill – Ooooh! I get it now! That’s why it’s called slaying…you know what, never mind, let me hide my shame in only finding that out now. I’m missing the point here entirely, she had an amazing gift all dream of and few people possess – the ability to take a perfect selfie.

I’m sure you all can identify a well-done selfie. That one that doesn’t show your double chin, only shows enough of your ugly side for people to recognize you, perfect lighting to show the contoured nose…the works, you know it when you see it. That seemed to be her superpower. The only downside of it is that these her selfies found themselves onto any electronic device she laid her hands on. She’d ask for your phone to check the time at 10:34AM and give it back at 10:35AM with at least 23 images of her in various poses and you’re left wondering, “How do you have red glossy lipstick in image one and orange matte in number seventeen?” I suspect Meg could bend time as well, I just was always too astounded to ask.

I never did jump onto the selfie bandwagon, and so I could hardly relate to Meg’s hobby. My reasons are summed up in the fact that I have never seen a photograph of myself that resembles the image I have of myself in my mind. The photos I see of me always portray me with less musculature and facial hair than I possess in reality, something to do with the lighting…I don’t know.

However, if you were to ask any number of people who have issues with the ubiquitous selfie what their exact problem was, you’d get responses like ‘It’s self-obsessive’…’Young people focus on image too much’… ‘Millennials are so narcissistic’ and such other drivel. Perhaps the real reason is we don’t like too much of what we see in our tiny black mirrors when we freeze our reflections on them. Maybe we fear that we will snap up our anxieties and fears as well, and therefore need layers of digital filters in addition to our applied physical filters to try and look like how we want to feel.

Eh…what do I know? I’m not even on Snapchat. (Is that still a thing?)

Whatever your opinion of the self-captured portrait is, the selfie reveals something fundamental in us. The fact that no one else can truly see us and capture what it means to be us, like us. No one can express your thoughts about you like you. No one can feel what you feel and how you feel like you. Only you are you. I am definitively the only person who is me on earth, and if I don’t let out what was put in me…then it will never know life outside me.

That is the why of why I (should) write. It is the why of why man does anything ever. Why they seek their purpose, why they improve themselves, why they pursue love, why they make their art – because only they can do it the way they can.

So, next time you hesitate before taking that selfie, whatever that thing only you can do may be – loving a friend like only you can, finishing that design, asking her out, obeying God – know that even if you don’t, someone else will.

As a matter of fact, close to 50,000 selfies are taken every minute worldwide – but if you’d rather not sing your song, not one of them will be yours.

 

 

 

 

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