Weekly Reflection #3 (Week 4)

I found this week’s activities incredibly intriguing. When I first read the assignment about posting a self-portrait, I thought that would have been easy enough; I was wrong. I was surprised that I don’t have any photos of just me. The only photo I could find of just me was my school photo. I don’t like being in photos by myself. I feel too vulnerable and feel like I’m being judged. After I read the readings for the week, I started to understand the power that we have when it comes to our identity (some of it scarier than I thought; did anyone else think of the show Catfish!?)

I knew I was guarded when it came to my online presence, partly because I’m a teacher and I always follow the saying “Don’t put anything online you wouldn’t want your mother to see.” I now have changed it from ‘mother’ to ‘my students’. I just didn’t realize how much I kept out of the view of the public. I connected to Rettberg’s chapter, Written, Visual, and Quantitative Self-Representations, when she said, “Parmigianino used a convex mirror to see himself; today we use digital technologies.” I only post things or photos of me that I find acceptable to share with people. I think everyone is critical of their own image. We see things others may not. I think we are our worst enemies when it comes to pointing out our flaws. I have untagged myself in countless photos or asked my friends to take them down because I thought I looked horrible in it. But it begs the question: Are those things/photos the real me? If they are, why do we hide it?

It then led me down the questions that Rettberg addresses: Are the things we make public representations or presentations? I think the stuff I decide to share can be both. There are things I share knowing that they will be interpreted, and other times I share things wanting to address the audience. My first self-portrait post was a self-representation, where the audience could look at that photo and try to look for “signs” that would connect them with who I am. I decided for my second self-portrait to present who I am. For me, I think I’m much better getting my point across with writing than I am with face-to face conversations. I thought the best way to portray myself wasn’t through an image, but through words.  I thought the best way to ‘show’ who I am was by giving my inner thoughts.

After posting both, I realized that this still is only the self I want to be seen. Even with seeing my inner thoughts, I still didn’t show every thought I had. You still only see a version of me that I choose to share. But why? Simple Zesty brought up that “It is much less about identity through ourselves, and more about the self through others.” I want to disagree that I don’t do this, but I can’t. If you look at the things I shared, it was only what I want people to know about my life and how I want to be perceived.

My honest opinion: It both thrills me with the thought of all this power of “self” that I have, and at the same time makes me a little sad that there will probably never be a shared photo of me with my unwashed hair up in messy bun, my fiancé’s old high school sweatshirt, UGLY grey sweatpants, absolutely no makeup, with a box of vanilla wafers, and my one too many cans of soda for the day (which is my usual Sunday look) on my computer “working on grading essays” when really I’m procrastinating with funny dog and owl videos, and Googling news on Beyonce’s twins announcement.

Other things I shared this week:

Making Connections: the term “lurking” means something new for me now

Thought of the day: A snapshot of my life that I wanted people to see.

Self- Portrait #2

My thoughts on school picture day:

“Wake up two hours earlier to take a morning shower (I usually shower at night, but my hair will be much more manageable if I shower the day of)”

“Shave your legs (I feel prettier and skinner when my legs are shaved even though my legs will not even be in the chest up picture)”

“Good thing pictures are taken in the beginning of the year (My skin will still be tan and even from the summer spent outdoors)”

“Why does it take me so long to straighten this hair. I should have gotten a haircut; you look silly with short hair; it’s so much easier to deal with though; you can’t wear it in a pony; ok hair, I’m 25 years old and have baby hairs coming in: REALLY?!”

“I haven’t worn makeup all summer! Time to add BRONZER!! (oh boy, too much!!) Why do I do this to myself? Ouch; I hate when my eye lash curler pinches my face! Have I ever put mascara on and not gotten it on the bridge of my nose or the inner corner of my eye!? Does it usually take this long or am I out of practice?”

*Trying on at least five different shirts, even though I laid out my ‘picture day outfit’ yesterday* “My shoulders look like a linebacker in this. This is NOT my color. Woah cleavage, not school appropriate. Does this color wash me out? I wonder what the backdrop will look like; am I going to match it and just look like a floating head?!”

*Getting to the school for teacher in service days in August* “How did I forget it would be 1000 degrees in the school?! I am already sweating!!! What if I have pit stains for the picture? My face is going to look greasy!? Oh God, I can feel my makeup already smearing!”

*Sitting on the chair in front of the camera* “I forgot we had to sit! Do I have any body rolls sticking out? My arm is not usually in such a formal position. Does everyone sit straight up like this? I have terrible posture! I feel like a peacock strutting its stuff. I forgot how to smile naturally! Will my underbite be noticeable? Is my double chin showing? Oh, I think I blinked!

*After the photo, washing my hands, examining my reflection* “Oh good, was my hair this full of static in the photo?! I forgot to get the mascara crud out of the corners of my eyes!! Who cares, no one looks at my school photo anyway”

*Getting my school ID badge* “Oh it turned out pretty well”