Beyond Me
Monday, April 16, 2012 at 10:45AM
Cheryl Crotty

It is beyond me why it is so difficult to take a self-portrait.  It shouldn't be that hard.   Set up the tri-pod, camera on top, self timer on and me in my favorite pose.  What favorite pose and do I really want people to see me?  I'm suppose to be behind the camera,  not in front of it.

The task this week for Beyond Layers was to try to do a "selfie".   Well here I am a week late posting this project. Believe me when I tell you it was a project and honestly I was a bit surprised by how challenging it was from many views.  Since I have promised myself not to miss any lessons, I  knew that I should get on with it.   First though,  I had to think about it.   How much did I want to reveal about myself.   Did I really want to show my face?  Do I want "flickr" and the internet to really "see " me.   Would I be judged in some way for my imperfections?  Who knew it would be so risky.  Who knew it would be so hard to get that camera to focus where I wanted it.

This weekend we were in Maine and I decided this would be the place to take that damn photo.   I love Maine. I am most alive in the quiet, grounded peace that dwells there on my tiny strip of woodland.   Maine also brings new life to me each time I visit.   I have more of a sense of myself in those woods.  My tiny little house provides me great comfort and ease as it wraps me in it's warm and loving walls.   Maine is good for thinking and dreaming and also for saying "what the hell"  give it go.

As I was thinking of this project I was also thinking of why I didn't want to put myself "out there".   God knows I have been working on myself for the past 35 years.   Getting healthy, getting over past loses and no so good times.   I know I have come a long way towards being who I am meant to be,  who I want to be.   I am,  for the most part,  the person that I would love to spend a day with.   It has been a long road and at times a very difficult road but one foot in front of the other places me right here right now and it feels good.  So why do I hesitate to say "Here I am.  Take a good look at me.   I'm secure and wonderful.   NOT.

What I am though is confident in my world,  loving to all who need a helping hand,  gentle to my furry friends, and a Mom and Grandmother that spills over with pride in her children.   I am the perfect wife for my husband because he loves me and my craziness.   He also knows the whole me...and we embrace each other most days. I don't mean to give the impression that my life is without flaws because trust me,  we have flaws but the goodness and love always wins at the end of the day.   That is where my girlfriends come in. On days when I need a lift or a laugh one of them shows up.  So many and so unique,  each of them taking the part of me that works for them.   Sweet friends for so many years.  Having said all that what I like most about me is my humor and my way of looking at the world.  Humor has always got me through and there is nothing better than a riproaring laugh.

So in that awareness I still  found myself reluctant to take self-portraits.   It is deep-rooted.  I have a sense,  at least for myself,  that even as we repair our minds and bodies,  when we come from a place of deep wounds,  it is difficult to put yourself "out there" even after many years of healing.   To see oneself is probably more difficult for me than the viewer.   I see myself and wonder "how will I be judged"...again.    I really do believe for many of us we bring our vulnerabilities along with us on our journey of life.   Most of the time they remain in check, hidden. We have learned to deal with them.   But a "selfie", and there they are roaring their ugly head again.

My project must go on though,  a promise to myself.  Over the years I have found that each difficult task has always made me stronger.   I tell my kids all the time,  nothing worthwhile ever comes the challenge was on.

What do I rely on humor.   I am remembering a Christmas gift left on my kitchen counter in Maine when we got there a few days after the holidays.  It was from the young man that takes care of the house in the winter when we are not there so often.   I remember walking in the door and laughing out loud at not only his knowledge of me but by the fact that he dared to leave it and in the leaving knowing that I would love it.   So although, we all have many faces that we present to the world,  this is the one I choose for this project. I did do another one,  but that's for another day and another story.

It really is Beyond Me why it took me so long to do this task.  It is done and now you know part of who I am and what I look like. Who knows maybe I'll reveal more of me in the future.   


"We are not meant to be perfect.  We are meant to be whole."  Jane Fonda 


Article originally appeared on CherylCrotty (
See website for complete article licensing information.