I have never really been a great fan of the famous traditional selfie, and I think my Instagram feed would reflect that. Society could be partially to blame for my dislike; our misogynistic society frowns upon almost anything women enjoy. I’ve noticed that women that take many selfies are sometimes viewed as being stuck-up etc. which was probably reinforced by the many misogynists that I have been exposed to via twitter. Personally, the thought process of: “you’re vain if you only post pictures of yourself” is what plagues me the most, and I’ll make sure I have pictures of children, flowers, quotes and food to intersperse the many pictures of myself that take up residency on my grid.
Ironically, pictures of myself are what garner the most attention, with the average picture of my face receiving about a hundred likes, whereas food pics, or quote pics numbers dwell at twenty-five to forty likes. Of course, the Instagram algorithm plays into that. Pictures of faces get more recognition because they’re given more attention and pictures without faces get lost in oblivion.
The most liked posts on my page are mostly all pictures from photo shoots. I have a friend that is a photographer who takes pictures of me occasionally, and I have a loyal sister who takes pictures of me often. Between the two of them my Instagram top nine was mostly completed.
While I don’t enjoy posting first person selfies, and don’t even take them that often, I have taken many mirror selfies, because they seem artsier? One instance where I took a traditional long armed selfie, in fact the only time last year I posted one such picture, was in conjunction with a poem that I wrote about living with Bipolar Disorder. Because it was a gritty poem that didn’t exactly feel like butterflies to write, I wanted to show the reality of being at the low end of the spectrum.
The picture was composed with my dirty, mangled hair in mind, with the sadness in my eyes in mind, with the desire to look into the lens and fully see myself before I capture myself. It made me uncomfortable and I was planning on sharing that discomfort with my thousand followers. The good news is that, maybe because it wasn’t the most glamorous shot, the engagement was not particularly great, at ninety-two likes and twelve comments.
I have been sharing uncomfortable pieces of myself via extremely personal anecdotes on the internet since 2017, when my mental health journey officially became a diagnosed illness. Since then, I have continually bared my soul for my one thousand two hundred followers and potentially the entire internet (because my account isn’t private, and I do use hashtags often).
The pictures that I often use in conjunction with meaningful captions are beautiful
pictures that don’t always fit the juxtaposition of the words I’ve shared. Oftentimes pictures from photo shoots will get close to a couple hundred likes and a dozen plus comments that are simply heart eye emojis and fire emojis, and because I bared my soul in the caption I am frustrated feeling no more seen than I was before, despite the engagement. Regardless, the way I post content has not changed in the sense that I continue to post meaningful captions with nice pictures for the most part, because the greater engagement increases the odds that people would see and read what I’ve written underneath the images, and even if the majority do not, I still share myself with those that do in hopes that it would be helpful to someone who can relate.
Kiana is a waitress, barista, blogger, nanny currently located in Atlanta, GA. She is a lover of everything rainbow, and passionate about helping people navigate their mental health, and started Mental Health Tings to do so. When she’s not working on her blog, www.mentalhealthtings.com, she is designing handmade stationary and sending out letters to help brighten people’s days.
"Uncomfortable Pieces of Myself" first appeared on the Sunday Style column as part of the "Selfie-Conscious" exhibit, by KIRUNIVERSE COLLECTIVE.
Sunday Style is a New York City based digital publication on personal style.