Emma was kind enough to send me a “selfie” she took in the not-too-distant past. Like many naturists or nudists, she takes selfies to record her life unclothed. I am no different. I also record my life sans vêtements. So what is it that has us turn to the mirror to take these selfies, or to use the delayed timer with a phone or tablet propped up to get an image? Is it simply just a record of “self” that fringes on narcissism? Or, is it curiosity? Or, in my case, is it a deliberate attempt to peer at myself in hopes of discovering something more about who I am? For most of us taking these nude images, I imagine that it is a mixture of curiosity and deliberate study.
We discover more about who we are through examination of the images we see of ourselves through the eyes of others. There is so much about ourselves that is unknown to ourselves. We often fool ourselves thinking we know and we are in control of who we are. But lurking beneath the skin and the ego, is a shadowy self, a stranger that confuses us. We know that the shadow side exists as we hear from others about ourselves, aspects of ourselves to which we are blind. Psychology tells us that what bothers us most about others is more about the shadows within us that are reflected in others, like a selfie in the mirror.
Knowing this, it should be easy to simply say, “Okay, enough is enough with these damned photos!” But, that’s easier said than acted upon. These naked images of ourselves are proofs that we aren’t locked in the prisons of personae that we live in the outer world. As time goes by, we record the changes and use them to reassure ourselves that we are on the right path to self-awareness, self-discovery. Okay, so maybe this is all so much psycho-babble and there is no legitimate reason for so many of us to take and store these images in our archives, sharing them with others we learn to trust, who have learned to trust us. But, I doubt it. This is real, this is deep, and it is a rich source of nourishment for the naked soul.