2023-02-07: angles

i've spent most of my adult life trying not to appear in pictures. on vacations, i'm always behind the camera. i've long passed the point where i was uploading albums to facebook and caring what other people thought. now it goes on to drive. links sent out to family by email.

at my first real position after coming to the city, people would often put vacation pictures on shared folders (people weren't as paranoid about plugging in usb drives there; perhaps it was because it was a small, local company; it's the sort of thing we'd never do now). and i remember one of my co-workers commented on how few of my pictures i was in.

i don't think i'm ugly, but i don't like myself. i used to have long hair, then i cut it. by the time i started growing it back it was almost two decades later. a lot changes in that time. my hair still long, still (mostly) the same colour, just...thinner. so it goes. we can never be our youth again.

some part of this goes back to when i was fourteen. eighteen. the way things went and ended with former girlfriends. to be brief: never well (though in fairness, degrees of such), and always the same way. a lingering shame. was i unattractive? insufficient? what makes someone decide to treat someone that way?

so lately i've been trying to — maybe not like how i look, but get used to it? lots of selfies. different angles. most pictures deleted, the best ones kept. while doing this i've also been taking more pictures generally, trying to get a sense of what makes a good photo. how to frame things. the way light works.

it's slow going. not just the pictures, but learning to like myself. i'm trying to undo the effects of residual shame, and i suppose it's better to come to that eventually, rather than never. to borrow a title from ocean vuong: someday i'll love malachite green. and maybe i'll spend the back half of my life comfortable in my skin.