I take a lot of selfies.
I rest my case. (Do you notice I have a thing for posing with coffee? I’m a dork.)
I have seen several blog posts and articles saying that selfies are linked to mental disorders, narcissism, addiction, etc. People are saying that selfies are making our society more self-centered and egotistical. Scientists are saying that the compulsion to take selfies can be a serious mental health disorder. I’ve seen people on Facebook declaring that selfies are practically tearing apart the fabric of our society.
Here’s the deal, guys. I am super duper not egotistical. It’s not my goal to blast the internet with my face so that people will fall down at my feet and tell me how glorious my face is. To be honest, I don’t even really like pictures of myself.
So why do I take selfies? Do I have a mental disorder? Am I contributing to the decline of society? Am I a self-centered, narcissistic diva?
Let me tell you about my mom. She is kind and smart and funny and generous and compassionate and beautiful and not photogenic. Oh, my mother. She can take a terrible picture with the best of them. So for forever, she has hidden behind the camera. For most of my life, she has evaded that dreaded lense as much as possible. As a result, we have very few pictures of or with my mom.
Over the past few years I have had some very dear people slip from this life into eternity. And because of that, we have sifted through pictures looking for ones of our family with those precious loved ones. It’s always disappointing when you realize really how little of someone’s life has been captured in visible memories. Photographs are such a gift that often aren’t cherished until we need them to remember.
I am grateful to still have my mother with me. And although it’s still a challenge to get her in a picture, I have learned something from her. Something that I am choosing to do differently. She is why I take selfies.
I take selfies to capture my moments, so that one day when those moments are gone, my family has something to hold onto.
I love selfies because they are raw and real and in-the-moment.
Now, I know there are people who pose and snap 50 selfies trying to achieve the perfect result. And perhaps that’s the type of behavior those articles are talking about. But me? I snap and post (and if I’m brave, I #nofilter it) and try to capture the moment, including the imperfections. I want my kids to see the real me. Not the duck-face me. Not the peace-sign-in-the-mirror me. Not the pouty-lip me. (Which I can’t get right anyway. My lips are like two toothpicks. It’s kind of sad, really.)
I want them to see the coffee-in-hand-no-makeup-messy-hair-playing-outside-bags-under-the-eyes-dressed-up-for-a-date-late-night-early-morning-sleepy-holding-my-babies-laughing-content-every-day-crazy-messy-imperfect me.
And if I don’t capture those moments, who will? Thankfully I have no paparazzi camping outside my doors and peeking in my windows. People aren’t looking to snap pics of me when my hair is in a messy bun and I’m rocking my t-shirt and jeans. No one is jonesing for a picture of me sitting in my pajamas on Saturday morning watching cartoons with the littles. But these are the moments that make up our life. These are the days that I want my kids to look back on and think,
“That’s how I remember her.”
I’m good with the once-a-year professional photo shoot with the fam, cause I totally get that people don’t want my unwashed hair and makeup-less face on their refrigerators at Christmas. I’m cool with the canvas prints and framed pictures of our sweet family in matching clothes and cheesy smiles hanging on the walls of our home. But when my kids are one day looking through the photo albums and boxes of pictures, I want them to see my face, squished in between theirs, where we took silly pictures together with our tongues sticking out and our eyes crossed. I want them to see real emotion on my face, not just smiles that I forced because someone said to say “cheese.”
Yes, I take a lot of selfies. But, dear sisters, I encourage you to do the same. Because one day, when photos and memories are all that is left, your kids will look at them and know that the smile on your face is the one they put there. And that, my friends, is everything.