Photography has the power to heal.
When I was a child, I was sexually abused by my then stepfather. The abuse lasted for four years, and then my stepfather passed away suddenly from a heart attack. My heart was broken. It was broken for the person I loved who died and that he had abused me.
I’m a very relationship-oriented person. A lot of my self-worth comes from the feedback I get from others. I feel great when I feel loved, and super down when I don’t. I’m certainly not someone who doesn’t care what people think. I care so much.
After the abuse, I had to learn how to accept my body. And eventually, how to love it. We all have to learn how to love our bodies because most of us are led to believe that our bodies are not right the way they are. Whether you were abused or not, people have probably told you that something is wrong with your body. And if people didn’t tell you that directly, you’ve probably gotten the message from somewhere. We are a culture that’s constantly chasing an unrealistic ideal, so most of us are going to feel the weight of that. For me, loving my body started with self-portraiture.
I was 13 when I took my first photography class, and I quickly discovered my self-timer. Photography became a way to create my own reality. It was how I learned to have compassion for myself and what I’d been through. My power had been taken away from me, but I was able to take that power back by orienting myself in space. I controlled when the shutter went off. I put myself in the way of light.
When I’m having a bad day or I’m not feeling good about my body, I’ll often photograph myself. I’ll find beautiful light and I’ll position myself in front of it. I’ll click my shutter. Beautiful light is always available, every day, whether using natural or artificial light. Sometimes it takes more creativity to find it, but it’s always there.
Since it’s the month of love, I challenge you to focus on loving your self image. Try taking a self-portrait in beautiful light. Let me know how the experience went for you. Did it feel good, or was it frustrating? Did you find the process easy, or did you hit a roadblock? If you aren’t a photographer, that’s okay. Almost everyone has a camera. Get out your phone and take a selfie. I do it all the time.
I really want to see the photos you take, so if you feel up to it, post yours to Instagram using the hashtag #sofiasselfiechallenge. And comment below with your thoughts. I always, always love hearing from you.
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Wishing you a lovely February filled with light.