November 22, 2013

Vanity, Thy Name is Ali Edwards

So the OED has declared “Selfie” the word of the year for 2013. I can definitely relate. In the past six months, I have become a selfie maniac.

What'choo lookin' at, Ali?

It’s true! Ever since I began coming out as myself I have been snapping selfies like they’re required by law. I don’t think that there was a day in the first three or four months of my open transitioning when I dressed in women’s clothes and didn’t take at least one picture. I’ve had more selfies on my camera in the last six months than I’ve had in the last six years. 

And I’m not just taking them. I’m posting them to Twitter, to Facebook, to this blog with more regularity than I ever have in the past. In the first months of this blog I was afraid to post any photos for fear of someone recognizing me. Now, I wonder if someone who knows me even would?

My recent selfie fixation is nothing like the way I used to be. He didn’t like His picture taken. He still doesn’t like His picture taken. He almost never posted pictures of himself; His Facebook profile picture was usually a cartoon character or logo or something. He always thought he was fat, pasty, and undesirable, and He hated to see himself in a photo or on a screen.

But me? My iPhone is loaded with selfies. At home; in the car; in the store; I keep taking selfies. Selfies, selfies, selfies. Selfies! 

My first mirror selfie. Should've done the duck face.

I’ve wondered why I started doing this. Is it vanity? Is it confidence? Maybe it’s paranoia — do I pass? 

There’s probably some truth in each of these. There are days when I’m looking at a newly-snapped selfie and ask myself Girl, what are you thinking?! And there are days when I snap a selfie and think Yeah, you got this. Truly, starting transition has made me a lot more aware of how I look, good and bad.


There’s also the documentary angle to consider. In a lot of ways, the photos I’ve taken over the last six months are a record of my progress, from the first and worst to the recent and best. Like this blog, these photos are a way that I’m telling my story to myself and to the world. They’re a record of progress. I already look back on some of the old pictures and cringe. I wonder how I’ll feel about the photos I’ve taken this week, six months from now when the hormones have started to do their job.


So is it vanity? Fear? Record-keeping? Maybe all of these. Maybe none of these. What good is there in psychoanalyzing, anyways? But I think that maybe there’s a simpler truth in all this.

Maybe, just maybe, for the first time in my life, I’ve learned to stand the sight of myself.

No Comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *