I TAKE SELFIES
Not so long ago, if anyone would have predicted that I would be taking photos of birds, other people’s trees after it snows, my dog, or … Drum roll … Taking & actually posting selfies, I would have died laughing! I used to HATE birds. I mean I really DETESTED them! My mother made me stay up very late with her when I was a little girl & watch a re-run of that Alfred Hitchcock classic movie, “The Birds”, & I had nightmares for nearly a week after that. I wanted nothing whatsoever to do with birds!!! And a mockingbird used to swoop down & peck my cat, George Washington, on the head – he did this so many times that poor George had a bald spot atop his head. No lie. Not saying that George did not deserve it. He did, after all, have a propensity for killing birds, & he did destroy that bird’s nest, including its babies. Nonethless, when I was a little girl, birds were creepy critters that I wanted no part of participating with in any way.
However, when one finds oneself sitting outside, reflecting & ruminating during a protracted divorce, one takes note of the fact that there are 6 blue jays living in one’s yard. Fortunately, my cat at that time, Lucky, was not much of a hunter, & the only gift he ever brought home to my doorstep was those nasty little snub-nosed voles, & an occasional mouse. I guess he did not have a taste for birds, or was not athletic enough to score one. Whatever the case, the jays were safe from him, & they would come & visit with us at the end of the day, as Lucky & I sat swinging to & fro in the splintered old wooden swing in the back yard. We would sit there for extended periods, until darkness fell, or a I saw a coyote wandering through the yard, in which case I would abandon my post & hasten indoors. I was telling a friend about all of the blue jays I would see, & she told me that they stood for persistence, which I sorely needed to survive that season of my life, so I thought that was apopros, given that I needed a lot of tenacity to survive the ordeal of a contested divorce process.
After my divorce was final, when I moved into the townhouse, I could not believe it when heard myself say that I missed having a big backyard where I could see the stars & the BIRDS. But I did miss them. The house that I live in now has a great back yard with an expansive view of not only the stars, but also phenomenal sunsets! Yes, I take & post pictures of the sunsets, as well! And while I do not feed them, a variety of birds, including cardinals, blue jays, & bluebirds, frequently come & watch the sun set with me & my puppy. They come so often that I sometimes grab my camera & snap pictures of them to share on social media. I know that there is at least a handful of people who are unable to get out due to illness or disability to enjoy these things in person, so I keep posting the pics for their benefit.
And during rare Heart of Dixie snowfalls, I was always too busy making snowmen, having snowball fights, eating snow cream, or making snow angels to take many pictures, let alone photos of other people’s trees. However, when you have six and a half inches of snow in your back yard, & only one tree, no kids to bundle up, no man to engage in a snowball fight, then a walk to see what is going on in the ‘hood is the next best thing. So I snapped pics of people’s trees, & an occasional snowman, & enjoyed a brisk walk just soaking in the scenery. Realizing that some people criticize & complain about how many photos others post, I nonetheless posted a bunch of the pics on FaceBook for my home bound friends & those who do not live here to enjoy, figuring if other people do not want to see them, they know how to use the scroll feature, & just scroll on by.
This brings me to the subject of selfies. Once upon a time, about a year or so ago, I used to cast a critical eye on a woman I knew who posted selfies of herself. I thought that meant that she was self-centered. But now that I have walked a mile or so in her shoes, those being that of a single woman living alone, I understand. Just because you live with another person who can take your photo for you, that does not mean that you should criticize someone who does not. What does it matter, anyway, who takes the photos? If your kids live many hours away, & you want them to see that you are faring well, you want to share your excitement about an event, or you need a current photo for that dating website, then you should, if you so choose, take a selfie. Again, if people do not want to see it, they can delete your profile, or scroll on by. My great-aunt, who is in her 90’s just told me yesterday to please keep posting pics, as she loves to keep up with people that way.
Last but not least, there is my precious & precocious puppy! No, he does not change much from photo to photo, but he was my companion to ring in the New Year, my partner in photographing the beautiful red-tailed hawk that was sitting on my fence one morning, my friend while walking the Greenway, my dinner companion, etc. etc. If I am going to photograph my life’s events, I cannot omit him. Some people’s pets are their best friends. You take & post pics of your best friends, so why should you care if someone else takes pics of theirs? I will stop & peek at their pups on the days when I have time to do so, will hit the like button for a pretty pic, & just scroll on by if I do not have time to do either. It’s just that easy!
Yes, I take selfies now. No, I do not take them at inappropriate times, such as during a worship service at Church, when I am dressed in my unmentionables, or when I’ve got a nasty scrape or bruise. Some things are best left to the privacy of one’s home. But God has shown me that it is okay to do simple things that make me happy, as long as they do not intrude upon someone else’s rights. My private social media pages are for viewing by people that I consider to be my friends. Like a scene from a movie that you do not wish to view, you can always just look away if you do not agree with something, or not buy a ticket to the movie at all. I am secure enough in myself that I am not going to let critics stop me from expressing myself as I see fit. And please do not let them steal your joy, either!!
I do not envy people, I’m not jealous of what they have, but by the same token, I would gladly exchange taking pics of selfies for a boy friend, a husband, or kids at home to spend time with, & take photos of & with, so for those of you who are fortunate enough to have those things, perhaps you would please be so kind as to not be so critical of those of us who do not have them, please? While we are busy taking & posting pics of our puppies, you are snuggled up on the sofa watching a movie with the one you love, or going to watch your son’s baseball game, or reading a bedtime story to your grandkids. Perhaps I am just wired differently: but even when I was in a serious relationship with a man that I loved, whenever I saw a picture posted by a friend that was one of their dogs, a selfie, or some thing that they were having for dinner, I did not condemn them. I was always just happy to see that they were doing well, and enjoying life.
Yes, I look forward to the day when God will hopefully give me a special man with which to build a home, & I will be too busy sharing dinners, walks in the snow, or ringing in the New Year with him to take pics of birds, puppies, & neighbor’s snow laden tree branches, but until that time arrives, I intend to keep living life & enjoying the small blessings God sees fit to grant me, such as writing in my blog & taking photographs.
Haters are gonna hate. Rise above, & express yourself in the manner you wish, so long as you do not harm anyone in the process. I pray that you will find your own joy, & live your life in a way that brings you peace & happiness …
– Lou Lehman Sams