Thursday, June 18, 2015

LESSONS IN SELF-PORTRAITURE: EMBRACE YOU, HERE AND NOW

By Ronnie Mason
 
For these last few months, I have struggled on and off with self-esteem issues. The constant lack of sleep and the ongoing stress in our family's circumstances since the new year have led to hormonal imbalances, skin issues, weight gain, and an overall sense of feeling crap. 


Unsurprisingly, I have not bothered much with self-portraiture during this time, which explains my lack of blogging on this topic - despite what I'd written in this post back in November. 

Last week, an impromptu conversation with an older (and wiser) friend led to a spur-of-the-moment decision that saw my husband and I escaping to this amazing cottage in the Southern Highlands for two days and two nights. It was there that I finally pulled out my x100s and took my first self-portrait in over two months. There was so much beautiful light floating around that I couldn't stop chasing it, and I found it almost cathartic photographing myself and seeing myself in new surroundings and in a new light (so to speak).

Three days ago, when I downloaded my photos onto the computer, I was struck by how thankful I was that I'd finally taken some photos of me. 

Me.

The me of here and now. Rather than some future version of me, when everything is fine and dandy.

I was saddened that I had neglected my self-portraits. That I had allowed our personal circumstances to overshadow my belief in the power of documenting. 

Considering how much I extoll the importance of journaling through the hard times - why, then, should I shy away from telling those same stories through the lens?

I guess, in the end, it comes down to embracing myself and where I'm at right here and now - warts, baggage, and all. I need to let go of whatever  romanticised 'ideal' I've conjured up in my head of what I want my life (and myself) to look like, so that it no longer hinders me from capturing and documenting...me

And so, my dear friends, let me encourage you to capture yourself - today.

Embrace who you are and where you're at right now, with all your flaws and in all your trials.

Embrace you, here and now.

A graphic designer by trade, Ronnie's first loves are writing, photography and memory keeping. She lives in Sydney with her husband, Rick, and four of our five little boys. You can find Ronnie over at her personal blog, The Shoemaker's Daughter, a memoir named after her mother, and she is also the main author of the official LIFE:CAPTURED Inc blog - the place where you can find anything you need relating to photography, photo archiving and organising and memory keeping in general. 
 

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Thanks so much for your words of encouragement, advice and solidarity.

xo em