People keep asking me why I don’t have an Instagram account. It’s because I often don’t remember to take pictures. And I rarely take selfies. To me, it’s kind of embarrassing. People look like assholes when they’re out in public taking selfies. Especially when they’re using selfie sticks. Also really vain. But it’s becoming more and more socially acceptable. Nobody cares when they see someone pull out their phone, angle their chin down, slant their eyes up and expertly manoeuvre their thumb onto the dot, only to repeat the whole process when they look at the screen and decide the picture wasn’t flattering.
That’s the advantage of living the selfie life: you can reset and redo (and edit and filter) until you’re satisfied. You only preserve and present the version of yourself that you’ve manipulated into what you’ve decided is the best. Some call it “branding”—social media has allowed all of us to create and market the ideal iteration of who we are. But I’m not sure if that means we’ve fully accepted Who We Are. If anything, I wonder if selfies are creating a bigger gap between Who We Are and Who We Want Others to Think We Are. What would we see in ourselves if selfies were truly one take, no take-backsies? Could we still stand to look? Do we even know what we really look like anymore?
I decided to find out, challenging myself to take one selfie a day for a month. With conditions: the first take is the only one, no exceptions, no messing with it—and it has to be published without retouching in a national magazine, to kick off my new monthly column.
Hello, FLARE. This is me.