Can We Talk About Selfies?

I used to facilitate a creative/expressive writing class in the county jail.  Often I would give each inmate a story starter to get the creative juices flowing.  A story starter is usually just a sentence–any sentence.  Sometimes, I would flip open a book and randomly pick any sentence and assign it to the group.  What they did with it and where they took it was entirely up to them.

I began to see that no matter how the story began, it ended with a distinct image of its writer.  Usually, this kind of exercise was more revealing than if I had asked them directly to tell me something very specific about themselves.

The beliefs that we hold about ourselves influence us more than we are aware of.  Sometimes, we don’t even see it.

Webster defines self as, “a person’s essential being that distinguishes them from others, especially considered as the object of introspection or reflexive action.

All too often, we become a little obsessed with our outsides and forget about what’s inside. Just like reality television is anything but realistic, I think that our outward appearance is often unable to capture the essence of our hearts and souls.  That is the high and lofty reason that I will use as I tell you that:


Maybe I can still hear my grandmother’s voice whispering in my ear, “Pretty is as pretty does” ensuring that I don’t let my pride get in the way.  Or maybe it’s just me.  I don’t think the camera likes me.  I’ve inherited my dad’s dark and sometimes “buggy” eyes that get large and crazy looking when I begin to freeze up.

If I even consider for a moment that the camera might be pointing in my general direction, I freeze and my thirteen year old, awkward self materializes leaving me stiff and clueless as to what I should with my face and hands.

I grew up in the seventies and eighties.  We didn’t do selfies.  We took pictures with friends.  Scan0003

Silly pictures even.

But, here is where I am a fuzzy.  Is it just me, or wouldn’t we have made fun of someone that took their own picture?

I don’t think we would have ever taken our own picture–with a straight face.  But, maybe it’s me.  It is definitely a real possibility.  Let me share a little more about my selfieophobia:

I wasn’t a sorority girl.  I have NOT perfected the sorority girl pose–you know hand on the hip, turned slightly sideways.  I just feel pissed off anytime that I stand with my hand on my hip and my face just sort of follows suit.  It’s a problem.

“Put one foot slightly in front of the other, you will appear thinner,”  they say to me.  I’ve tried that technique and I’m here to tell you that I could have one foot in another state and it would not shed enough pounds to make me relax.

My great niece ( yes, I’m that old) told me to “jut your chin out” like that will eliminate the double chin and/or turkey neck thing that occurred when I hit fifty.

Sometimes while I’m waiting for the flash to go off I am transported back to my water skiing days because all of these different parts of me need to be doing  something different at the same time:

  • hand on the hip
  • twist slightly to one side
  • one foot in front of the other
  • jut your chin forward
  • no crazy bug eyes
  • relax
  • smile

I Just CAN’T Do It!!!  The pressure is too much.

So, what is a girl to do?  I avoid the camera.  I’ve got great looking kids.  I’d rather just post their pictures.







But, sometimes, these angelic faces are not as sweet or innocent as they appear.  No, they know my aversion to the camera and they enjoy and manipulate that knowledge just a little too much by bringing my worst fears to life.



IMG_0033In my defense, I don’t normally carry around a knife.  I was chopping vegetables.  I just came in the room to fuss at the boy and his dog playing a little too rough in the house.


IMG_0191“You’d better stop taking pictures of my back side.”  She threatens.

Facebook-20141106-052027Even my “friends” like to take those less than flattering shots.



These are the reflections of my “self”.  Attractive, huh?  These aren’t even the worst ones.

Do you think it’s just me?  What can I do about my problem?  I’d love some advice.  Maybe some coaching.

Let’s form a support group.  Won’t you share your experience, hope and strength?


About The Author

Jean Heaton

I am a daughter, sister, aunt, mother and probably most notoriously, ‘the Vet’s wife’.


  1. Robert | 23rd May 16

    This is why I avoid pictures….altogether

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