Are you ready for your close-up?
Take selfies however you want to take them. From way up high or down low, there's no wrong way to one. Here are six tips to take the ultimate selfie:
1. Start out gently and ease into it.
You don't need to jump straight into nude, full-body waters. If you're hesitant about capturing yourself in the first place, try using the mirror in a bathroom or somewhere else that feels private and safe. Do your duck lips, your poses, or whatever makes you feel best.
When photographers take photos of people, they all know that a moving subject can look different in every frame. But that doesn't make one image more "truthful" than others. Take pictures of yourself however you want. They're all you.
After becoming comfortable with this, Vivienne suggests attempting to show your hands or feet in the photo. Sounds too simplistic? Then go for broke and get your whole self in there. It's what works for Vivienne: "The most transformative kind of selfie, the one that feels transformative for me, is one where your entire body is in the photo. Because then we do get to see ourselves as a whole."
2. Tell a story.
Our photos give us the opportunity to tell the story of us. Photos can be a literal, visual representation of our body, but they're also a way for us to share a little bit about who we are.
Think about taking up physical space and how it can reveal something about yourself. Or choose something to wear that says something about you that others may not know. Notice how the moments when you break into laughter can bring intimacy to your photos. There's a lot your photos can say. You're in charge of the narrative. Write it your way.
3. Ask your body what it wants to do.
If you're jonesing for freedom, think outside the box, as I did when I broke up with Flattering. Ask yourself, "What does my body want to do?" Does it want to stand? Does it want to sit? Does it want to lie in the grass? Does it want to jump? Whatever YOUR body wants to do, do THAT.
Many of Vivienne's photos show her dancing. "I always felt like I needed to sit still and be contained. To not bother anyone; to sit on my hands and shrink myself down ... It's not just about [dancing], it's that I'm taking up space and allowing myself to be expansive, and f*ck anyone who tells me that I need to pose in a smaller way."
Teacup pose be damned. Unless you like the teacup pose... then you should totally rock it.
4. Look for yourself in the photos.
This is perhaps the most important part. We do this terrible thing where we look in the mirror or at pictures and we expect to see a thin model. Unless you are a thin model, this will never happen. So stop that sh*t.
The second you start looking for you is the second you'll start to appreciate what you are. Stop looking for flaws. Stop looking for differences. There isn't one definition of beauty. Try to see yourself with kindness. You're absolutely perfect just as you are. Try to find that.
5. Show your images to someone else.
We sometimes have the urge to hide hard things from others. We only put our "best" pictures on Facebook, and we "un-tag" images of us that we hate that our friends add. I'm going to ask you to do the opposite of that. When you look at your images, sit with them for a while and then show them to someone, whether it be your lover, your partner, a friend, your social media network ... just show someone you trust.
We certainly don't need to define our worth by what others think of us, but we also don't need to ignore the fact that sometimes support is helpful and needed. Our perception of ourselves is often skewed because of our lifetime of shame, and sometimes the outside perspective of someone who "sees us" as we really are is a gift.
So share them! Throw them up on Facebook. Watch people not die. They might even compliment you, and I'm going to suggest that you don't deflect it. Yeah, that's right. Take the compliments.
6. The most important thing: have fun.
This is about you, and celebrating you. Despite what you've been told, selfies aren't dangerous, vainglorious, or conceited. They're a tool for reclamation. For seeing yourself through your own eyes. For defining what you believe is worthy. So call all the shots, be the boss, do you, and celebrate!
Call out photoshopping for the insidious scoundrel it is, reclaim your body by creating your own narrative through selfies, and then share the sh*t out of the images and flood the world with unaltered beauty. All un-photoshopped pictures add an element of truth to an otherwise airbrushed world.
THAT is how you fuck the system. From the inside out.
Excerpted from Things No One Will Tell Fat Girls: A Handbook for Unapologetic Living by Jes Baker, published with permission by Seal Press, members of the Perseus Books Group. Copyright © 2015.
This article was originally published at Things No One Will Tell Fat Girls: A Handbook for Unapologetic Living. Reprinted with permission from the author.