Vainglorious was my chosen word yesterday as I celebrated my 32nd birthday. It was the term I used to overcome a bit of fear and challenge myself to finally take a picture of—me.

I’ve made so many excuses over the years for avoiding it. First, I didn’t have a camera. Then I got one. Then, I rationalized that since the camera hadn’t come with a remote control capabilities, taking my own photos wasn’t a viable option. And discouragement told me that using the self-timer option was just too complicated. Besides, insecurity continued, I didn’t even have a tripod, so how was I supposed to set up the picture? 

As my photography skills improved, those rationalizations no longer held water. Running out of excuses, I found help in a familiar friend—body shame. 

I am a bit thicker now because I’ve eaten way too many snickers over the past year. So, I told myself that my body was better suited to stay behind the camera. And with shame came its likely companion—self-pity. 

The more ashamed I felt, the more I began to mourn the body that I had before I came to Spain. And the more I began to chastising myself over having strayed so far from “normal.” But yesterday, my one year older self realized something: I hadn’t liked the body I came to Europe with either. So, why beat myself up over “losing” something that I never appreciated in the first damn place? 

So maybe there is something to be said about aging. My metabolism maybe slowing down, but so is my “fucks” generator. The “excuse simulator seems to be on the fritz too because it just no longer makes sense to exclude myself from the memories that I am using this platform to document. 

Yesterday I asked myself if I wanted to continue curating a gallery full of photos that make it look like I was never even there? The answer was a smooth nah.

So yesterday, without fucks or excuses, I put my purse on the floor, propped up the camera, set the self-timer and had a little photo shoot inside an old Portuguese church—insecurity and self doubt be damned. Because from that day forward, I gave myself permission to be both vain and glorious. I suggest you do the same. 

Candace FykesComment