I used to take picture upon picture of myself, perfecting the lighting and the pose and the mood and . . . well . . . everything. Which features to emphasize, which to hide in the shadows. Do I want to look longing, or maybe look sad? Was I capable of mastering “sexy”? (Answer: No.) But I tried, which is something.
I used to feel harder, or at least that’s what I remember. Deep, powerful crushes which insecurities still hindered, but I felt them. I loved feeling that tragic yet exhilarating gut punch; that dizzying, drunken euphoria. And sometimes I would try and I would yield results (ROI). Sometimes I would cry over someone, or do something really stupid and cry over that. Or throw things. Or drink myself stupid and throw sushi at my friends. Or punch closets. Or even call someone at 3 am just to tell them they ruined Halloween and everyone thinks they’re gay. That all happened because I didn’t stop myself preemptively from caring or trying.
Now, I realize more. I realize some attempts are futile and cock block myself from the tears and the euphoria. I still make dumb mistakes but less out of curiosity and more out of boredom or lack of alternatives. I realize there are risks and turn around, tucking my tail between my legs. Or create diversions so I don’t even have to worry about failure. Or pass up opportunities because I am uncertain. And, yes, it’s also because I’m older and wiser now and know what is worth my time (I tell myself) and what is not . . . but am I selling myself short?
Now, I give up after 1 or 2 self portraits. I lack the experimentation and sense of adventure, of challenge, that I used to have.
I’m not making any broad proclamations of change, but I am being honest. And that’s a start.
Realize. Try. Maybe hurt. Maybe fail. Achieve.