“Panic at the thought of doing a thing is a challenge to do it.” ~Henry S. Haskins
“He has not learned the lesson of life who does not every day surmount a fear.” ~Ralph Waldo Emerson
I have a personal mantra that sometimes makes my life uncomfortable: if the idea of doing something scares me, it’s something that I need to do. Now, before I get myself in trouble, I’d better clarify right now that I’m speaking about emotional challenges only – those things that involve personal growth and change. I’m not going to take up skydiving or speed racing or probably even mountain climbing, although that is something that has always sounded fascinating to me.
So when my friend Johanna Harness informed me that she had signed up for a self portrait photography class, and that I ought to join her in this adventure, I was well and truly in trouble. I don’t like cameras and I’m not very good at taking pictures. I didn’t even have a camera until Christmas of this year, and have always relied on somebody else to take the important pictures. I also don’t like being seen in photographs. I’m one of those who hides in the back row, or turns my face the other way. My mother is shocked about this: apparently as a child I was eager to perform for the camera and always the first to get in front of the lens. I can’t recall any traumatic events, but something certainly shifted somewhere along the way.
Anyway. As Johanna well knew, I was now going to have to take the class in order to confront the fear. She has been bravely putting up her lovely photos for all the world to see. Yesterday somebody on Twitter – I do believe it was @barnstorm2004, commented that he was waiting for my self portrait photos to appear. I told him he’d be waiting a long time.
Uh oh. Something else that scares me. And so, here we go. I am posting some of my self portrait photos for your amusement and edification, or potentially for your ultimate boredom. I don’t pretend for a moment that there is art involved here – just me learning to take chances. The class is called Wading In, and is just one of the offerings at Be Your Own Muse. Our assignment this week was to explore our life and our neighborhood with photos. The one requirement is that some part of my body needs to show up in every picture.
I thought I would share some of the things that I talk about a lot. Here is my morning companion and trouble maker, she whose name is not fit to utter in public:
There. That was easy. The cat doesn’t mind pictures and it’s not too scary showing you all my hand. Another regular part of my morning is, of course, the mandatory mug of good coffee:
And, of course, my beloved laptop:
Getting a little braver, let’s venture outside. Reflected in this window we get me, my awesome dog, Riddick, and my beloved Avalanche:
Here’s another pic of my dog, just because he is so cool:
I’d like to leave it there, but I still haven’t done the thing I fear the most, which is a self portrait pic that is actually a self portrait. And so, against all better judgment, I leave you all with this: