2014: The Year of the Selfie


Embracing Self-Confidence, the Moment, and Other Positive Things

The selfie. I wonder what future generations are going to think of my generation's fascination with taking pictures of ourselves. They may assume that we have broken faces from all the "duck lips" poses or that we are very, very full of ourselves. Hundreds of years from now, what are they going to think? Was it pointless? Egotistical? Annoying? Or was it empowering? Inspiring? Motivating? Maybe it could lead to a new art movement, or maybe I am being over-ambitious! Either way, the selfie has caused a lot of debate among my generation and the generations before me.

If I am going to be honest, I have to say that I am not a fan of the selfie. I am sorry but I hate having my news feed on Facebook filled up with random pictures of people's faces doing various things. My Facebook is filled with captions like "waking up in the morning," "eating food," "getting ready," "looking cute," "rocking the sweat pants," and many more. Maybe I should just give up Facebook, but I actually do want to stay in touch with people, just not what they are doing every single minute of the day. But the more I think in depth about it, the more I realize that the selfie can be empowering. It is not always "look at how hot I am," although sometimes it really does seem that way. If portrayed tactfully, the selfie can be an empowering tool to promote self-love.

Changing of the guard
London, Great Britain
For those of you that do not belong to the millennial generation or that do but have somehow managed to avoid social networking (I applaud you!), the selfie is something that has been developing in the last one to two years. In a selfie, people will take a picture of themselves performing a certain action, although lately, most people have found simply breathing as a good enough reason to take a selfie, but I digress. Usually, no one else takes this picture, so it is up to you to take it. People usually post this image to Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Tumblr, or whatever social media sites are out there. They then add a caption of whatever they are doing. Each caption is punctuated with a picture of the person doing that action. Some selfies show that a person is in a specific location and that they are excited. Others show what they are wearing for the day. Some just like taking provocative pictures to show their beauty. No matter the reason, it seems to litter social media websites with millions of images of peoples' faces, and sometimes other various body parts. You may see why I can get annoyed with this now and why it has sparked a great debate.

Halloween 2013: Napoleon
In 2013, I have only taken two selfies, one which was to show off my halloween costume. I was Napoleon and I was proud of the work that my grandmother put into it It is probably my favorite costume to date. The other was in London at the changing of the guard ceremony. It was a must have photo-moment. Only one month has gone by in 2014 and I am selfie free but am starting to consider the logic of it. I am not saying that I will begin posting about what I am wearing to work or what I am doing when I am by myself. I do not have the time, the energy, or the desire for that. What I am considering is taking a selfie of myself traveling, trying new things, conquering fears, and embracing my life as a potential travel junkie or expat. I am talking about embracing the moment and the journey that I have taken.

How may the selfie be empowering you may ask? Well, at face value, it may seem like you are just showing off, and that is exactly what it is! But remove the negative connotation of showing off and what you got is proving that you are beautiful and proud of who you are. Yes a little reality check is good every now and then, and maybe showing off your entire life is going to the extreme, but showing off what you are proud of on certain occasions is not as bad as I, and many other people, have made it out to be. It shows that you are not ashamed of yourself and that in your own way, you are beautiful. It also tells the world that you care about the experiences in your life and that you value what they have taught you. In an odd way, the selfie documents your journey through life. If you take away your negative connotation of showing off, what the selfie represents is that you are proud of who you are, where you have been, and where you are going. And I have to say, I am all for empowering yourself, loving yourself, and representing yourself in a positive way.

"Two roads diverged, I took the one less traveled"
Bolinas, California
So here I am, not fully converted to selfie-culture, but well on the way to embracing it. My goal for 2014 is take a whole bunch of selfies in all of the locations that I travel to. I want to embrace my experience as a traveler and learn to be a little more self-confident. I am proud of who I am and where I am going, so why not share that with whoever wants to hear or see. 2014 may be the year of solo travels, which means a lot of personal growth, learning new cultures, and experiencing new things. Now is the time to try something new, and if I can show that enthusiasm and love of my life experiences, than maybe I can inspire others to take a life changing journey too!

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