I spent a few hours this morning putting on makeup, doing my hair, and transforming a tiny corner of our apartment into a makeshift studio. I took dozens of photos with the self-timer, picked my favorites, and put another couple hours of work into editing. I absolutely loved how every one of my shots turned out. There were too many to choose from, too many flattering angles, too many shots where I actually had tits (and they were good tits). I felt so validated! So confident and hot and talented, all rolled into one.
I showed my boyfriend, and he was enthusiastic as always — “great job, babe!” he said. “You look hot.” Yes! I did! I rode that high all the way to social media, where I posted my favorites of the bunch.
Time passed. I ate lunch. Walked the dog.
And gradually, insidiously, the longer the photos were online, the more embarrassed I began to feel. God, I thought. These aren’t doing great numbers. People probably think I’m so full of myself. They’re probably muting or unfollowing. I’m wearing a bra in these pics, so they must think I’m an exhibitionist or a slut, and not in a good way. They must think I’m just trying to get attention from straight men.
Eventually, because I have clinical anxiety (like everyone else on the planet), I began to wonder whether even my friends thought I was gross, a narcissist, too into myself.
Was I? Am I? Is this hobby actually self-indulgent to the point of toxicity? Am I demeaning myself? Embarrassing myself?
But in the way these things usually happen, I talked to a friend about it and she immediately halted my anxiety spiral in its tracks. “creating something beautiful with self portraiture is NOT narcissism it’s art and self-celebration!” she said. “I think millennials are trained to feel like any feeling other than hating yourself is narcissism.” And whether that’s true for all Millennials, I’m not sure… but it’s largely true for women.
And then I read a tweet by Bolu Babalola that hit at exactly the right moment:
I think all women should be thoroughly in love with themselves– @BeeBabs
She is right! What am I doing? Why am I sitting here assuming everyone hates me because I had fun taking some silly little self portraits? Because I felt hot, because I documented it, because I shared and celebrated it?
Pffff. Of course nobody hates me.
And if they do, if someone out there dislikes me for any reason — especially if it’s because I like posting hot pics of myself — then I actually don’t care. My friends love me, my boyfriend loves me, and most importantly, I love me.
I deserve to feel sexy and post about it online! We all do!