Elevating the art of self-portraits to a wellness practice, every day for a calendar year; it’s work. It’s easy to make it look like fun but it is work. At the 203 day mark I’ve cultivated a commitment to creating seven images per week relative to how I want to feel and the work I will do to feel that way. Squash it all together in a collage and you see slices of that practice. I used to post those on collages on Facebook with no captions and no explanations. It probably looked like a big bunch of fun. The work of it (which is the point of it) was missing.
So there is slideshow to host the fuller images, which tell a bigger story.
Some days I just don’t feel like doing the work, much less showing the work. Those are the days in which the work is most relevant. Those are usually the days you don’t see me smiling into the camera with the sun throwing a halo of rainbow rays around my face. As you can see there was only one day this week I felt sunny and pink. The rest of the time I was working at it. Living with the truth that being on display all the time, in pieces or as a whole, is work. It’s work to stay invested in it. It’s work to stay engaged and keep learning from it. It’s not all tree pose and lipstick. It is confrontational.
Confronting safety as an illusion.
Confronting the concept of winning. I called that day a win because I successfully conquered a difficult situation without resorting to my classic swash-buckling and brow-beating. But winning at anything generally assumes a loss of something else. Confronting what I lost to facilitate the win. Alternatively, confronting what I lost because of the win.
Confronting the changing textures of my topography as I age. Confronting the forgiveness of black and white.
Confronting the lack of glamour necessary to show the dirty work. Confronting my comfort level with that lack of glamour. Confronting the question of why it is important to show images of getting there as opposed to only images of arrived.
Confronting integration of body, mind, spirit, culture, history, and privilege.
Confronting the creases under my forearms from too many hours at a desk. Confronting that dimple in my elbow which implies that on the cusp of 45 my arms are not so svelte anymore. Confronting the reality that staying supple means the work of Eagle pose.
Confronting the truth that sometimes I’m just not in the mood. Confronting the contrary mood in which I find myself and investigating it.
Confronting the truth that while others become somber in winter, it is summer that makes me want to hibernate. Summer saps me. Summer nearly silences me. This is when the work is the hardest for me. The short highlight reel for June is going to be even shorter for July. By August I might be celebrating basic human functions and little else. But this is the work–my seasonal cycle. Resisting the urge to become dormant. Seeing it with confrontational eyes. Being attentive to it. Plumbing it for insights.