When I first started my 1,000 Selfies project it was 2012. I was at work and my coworker made fun of me for having too many selfies on social media. Believe it or not, selfies were not commonplace. It wasn't until 2013 that "selfie" became the Oxford English Dictionary word of the year. Shortly after, the Ellen Super Celebrity selfie happened. Then Kim Kardashian put out an entire photo book dedicated to her self snaps. And that was it. Now, of course, you can't travel without street vendors hawking the selfie stick. It's a ubiquitous part of daily life. So predominant has the selfie become that Apple, in allowing smart organization of your photos, created a Selfie folder that recognizes these images. All at once, my project became meaningless as the selfie became a standard.
Truth be told, I had been turning the camera around since I was a kid. But it was more an exploration of my insecurities than anything. When I decided to launch this project, I at first thought I would capture only the unattractive, raw, drunken selfies that many of us find in our iPhones — the ones we're embarrassed about and would never post. And while many of those did end up in this project (for instance, the ones where I showed my missing tooth, a source of insecurity my entire life), what I learned about myself, and quickly, was that there was indeed a sense of vanity ever present in myself — and likely in all of us, especially in this Snap-happy, Instagram era.
But, in sharing some of the more "embarrassing" selfies, like me "sissying out" and being overtly effeminate, it also allowed me to explore a part of myself that had long laid dormant: Out of my 1,000 Selfies project was born my love of drag. Yes, this ongoing experiment in vanity and identity led me to realize how essential it is for me to continue to explore the other side, my other spirit in this two-spirited body. And while some ridiculed at my constant categorizing and selfie snapping, I persisted and arrived at a place of acceptance and self-love. And selfie-love, of course.
So now, five years after its inception, and after this site and blog sat neglected for more than two years, I revisited the project to announce that, in case it wasn't obvious, I long surpassed 1,000 selfies. In fact, a cursory glance at my Selfie folder on my Mac shows that I have in fact taken more than 5,000 selfies. Make of that what you will. Call me narcissistic — or as I like to call myself, a Narcisissy. But I'm proud of the project for allowing me to get to know myself better and, ultimately, to love myself — and myselfies.
So what do your selfies say about you?