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Was my happy anti-self portrait invalid?

pialamode314's picture

I had a really interesting and unexpected personal experience when presenting our anti-self portraits to the class. I really loved creating mine and I thought it showed a cute and happy little snippet of my private life and the things I love (yes, I do sit in my room naked playing the ukelele frequently). I was really excited to present it in class because I thought it represented the person I was very well. However, when I got to class and started looking around at all of the other anti-self portraits people made, I began to feel really insecure about my own. So many people had created these amazing, beautiful portraits that showed a deeper, sometimes darker part of who they were or the things they have experienced, and I felt like my happy little video was inadequate and superficial. I felt really self-concious about it and was really worried that I had messed up the assignment and should have done something to represent some deep dark part of me that no one knew about. Then at the end of the class when Laura Swanson mentioned mine as a happy anti-self portrait (in a way, validating it for me), I realized that I had chosen to do a happy portrait for a reason, though I may not have realized it at first. I am in general, a perpetually happy person down to the core no matter what, and though I don't often acknowledge that out loud, it is something I see in myself and I guess subconciously felt the need to represent in my portrait. Realizing this was somewhat pivotal for me - I recognized how lucky I truly am to have brought myself to a point in life where I live with, as my dad would say, "no rear-view mirrors". That doesn't mean that I am superficial or oblivious, or that I don't go through the occasional struggle, or that it's wrong to represent that when talking about my true inner self, or that my anti-self portrait was invalid. True, I found many other people's portraits to be far more striking, thought-provoking, deep, poetic, and beautiful than mine, but in the end, my anti-self portrait represented me as I see myself, and that's okay.