Self acceptance: The ongoing journey

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I’ve been reflecting a lot lately on my perception of fear and what masks I wear to deflect and embrace the way I experience fear to be. Masking can often be a a way of protecting myself which for a large part of life has really been one of the biggest opportunity blockers.

In photography, I have always preferred to be behind the camera, off to the side of drama performances and generally known, but invisible. Being watched or viewed by others can trigger my self conscious fear and in turn make me recoil from doing many things I like, or would like to do. I have experienced this in ALL aspects of my life but one.

I am the biggest dork of a parent, and I think I’m pretty hilarious all the time. But only with them. There is something really magical about they way they are so open and accepting about who I am. I don’t feel vulnerable with them or triggered. I don’t feel embarrassed to sing, dance, pull faces, or actively engage them in a way true to myself. Maybe that unconditional acceptance is not the kind of thing that we can expect from others.

However, I do believe that the more I can be me, in all my wondrous, dorky, awesomeness the more they will feel comfortable being them. Regardless of what other people try to tell them they “should” be.

I have hidden from the camera a lot. I have a lot of limiting self beliefs around not feeling pretty enough to be in photos or I’m just awkward as fuck. I am self questing to stomp the crap out of those beliefs and realise how many great moments I have ruined, by not feeling worthy. Not choosing to feel worthy to be included.

I recently created a photography event here in Perth, as an nod to the “Women Who Run With Wolves” book by Clarissa Pinkola Estes. I’ve been apart of a brilliant group of women meeting and sharing, discussing and reflecting on her words. A friend of mind suggested that maybe I should organise a version for myself, for me to be photographed. She suggested a photographer whose work I am familiar with and my NEG-Brain instantly bellowed at me.

“Nooooo! You can’t do that you will ruin his work”

Nice huh. This is the exact type of bullshit story that I fucking hate. And even though I have come a long way this year, it’s something I have to work at. When I photograph people, it’s hardly ever a question of how aesthetically pleasing they are. Well not to me anyway. I love a variety of other photographers work whose styles all differ. I connect to their work for different reasons. When I look at a photo I’m more likely to connect with the ones that tell me a story, hint at a secret or show me something real.

I’m a real person. My existence is valid. Why the fuck shouldn’t that be worthy enough to be captured.

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