Saturday, May 16, 2009
Inevitably when I babysit my 3-year-old granddaughter, Charlotte, I bring out my camera and take lots of pictures. And just as inevitably, she asks if she can take some herself. I usually let her. Then when I get home and load the pictures onto my hard drive, it’s always fun to see the kind of pictures she took.
Some, of course, are not very good, but others are surprisingly well done. Recently she took a close-up picture of a pillow, which I deleted, but yesterday she took a few great pictures of Ed and Babe. At one point she took a picture of the sky - and I think there is a tiny rainbow in the resulting photograph. Mixed in with all the pictures of her surroundings are always a few self-portraits.
Now, self-portraits are hard to do when you are holding the camera, because you can only get as far away as the length of your arms as you extend the camera out to the front. In addition, you have no idea what you are taking a picture of - you point the camera generally in the direction of your face, but that part is quite tricky. I should know, because years of trying to hold out the camera to take a head shot of myself for a handful of Internet chat sites has led me to bring out the tripod and do it the right way. Nevertheless, it intrigues Charlotte to turn the camera on herself.
They say that we never really see ourselves in reality, because all we have access to is a flat image - in the mirror or in a photograph. We can’t see ourselves in time and space with three dimensions, which is the way we see our fellow human beings. And I don’t know about you, but the older I get, the less I like looking at myself in mirrors or photographs. Ouch.
The one time I do allow myself to examine what makes up “me” is in this blog. One can avoid mirrors or cameras to a degree, but eventually the introspection can’t be avoided - and that’s a good thing, I suppose. Even if this blog were never read by another single soul, in the activity of writing it, I am forced to reexamine my life, my priorities, my goals, my relationships, my life experiences, my triumphs and failures, strengths and weaknesses, in the Journey to Simplicity. Sometimes my introspection just turns out to be a picture of one eye or the top of my head, or, if I’m lucky, I am rewarded with a good clear “photograph” that makes me smile, laugh, or sometimes cry. Yeah, the crying part is important, too.
Everyone learns about him/herself in different ways, and that’s the way it should be. My internet friend from Prince Edward Island (http://cre8ive1.blogspot.com/) documents her life with almost daily blog posts, with a lovely photograph accompanying each post. What a remarkable record! I’m lucky if I manage one blog post a week. I think it’s helpful for us all to take a little time now and then to do some self-examination, whether you post it on the Internet or just write it in a journal. It’s not all deep psychological introspection - it’s also good just to stop and take stock of where you are in life, where you are going, if you’ve strayed too far off the chosen path or if it’s indeed time to choose a whole new path - and to celebrate how far you’ve come in this fascinating journey of life. To stop and give thanks, shout a big “aha!” or sigh a big “whew!” - life goes so fast and we can feel as if we don’t have enough time to respond. And keep a camera handy. Such wonderful inventions - especially in the tiny hands of a 3-year-old ball of energy!