For as long as I can remember I’ve hated having my photograph taken. I’m not entirely sure why, although feeling awkward in front of a camera and some hellish looking pictures over the years may have had something to do with it.
When I joined WordPress I had no intention of putting my face or own name to my site. I’ve already done a post on my reasons here ‘faceless, not voiceless’, so it’s pointless to reiterate. But something has changed. Maybe not hugely. But significantly enough.
OM did a rant on his post, the-right-to-opinion, regarding Project O, which I took part in. I mainly took part in it because of his rant. How dare I not express my opinion when it may be of some benefit to others? As pointed out by OM, some people – many people, way too many people – do not enjoy that basic right.
I said, quite truthfully, in my post for Project O that I would fight for my rights. All of them. But, especially those I value highly – like free speech, self-determination, freedom to worship in my chosen way, freedom to be me.
And then it occurred to me that fighting means putting yourself out there. Oh, I do that in my life but not in public forums. I’m actually quite shy in lots of ways and the main one has always been any public display.
This sounds a bit stupid to my own ears, coming from someone who has sung in front of hundreds of people and in pubs, in front of strangers. But, I was so much younger then and probably had a different sort of confidence. But mostly, my mum had drummed it into me that talent was a gift and self-effacing bashfulness disallowed use of that talent. Talents are to be shared. Otherwise we insult God. And waste our gifts.
Anyway, all I had to do was stand up and perform. Performing is one thing. The idea of ‘being myself’ in any sort of public display embarrasses me.
I’m the person who would use a nom de plume if I ever finish a book. I would shun publicity if it were required.
So, what kind of righteous militant am I when I can’t face people but ‘hide’ behind my voice?
I don’t feel I’ve been hiding here. I’ve found kindness and understanding and approval. For my words. But, most importantly, as my words express me, for me.
It may seem somewhat pathetic but maybe we’re all a bit pathetic. With or without faces, we’re all seeking something from WordPress. From each other. Otherwise, I’d still be writing, dating it and filing it.
So, coming out of the closet Mark 1 was putting myself, in words, out here. Not on Facebook, not on Twitter or anywhere else.
But that has to change, I feel. Coming out of the closet Mark 2 has been required. And I did it yesterday. I did a video reading of a poem I’d written and opened up a scottishmomus Facebook account so that I had somewhere to post the video to. I had a hellish time trying to work out how to connect it from Facebook to WordPress but, with a little help from my friends, thanks Cubby, I did it.
At the moment, all that means is that I’m ‘performing’ but I’m putting my face with my voice and my words on display. For public perusal.
I am kacking it slightly but I see no reason to go back – unless, of course, Facebook people are horrible to me!
I don’t know what Mark 3 will be or even if there is one or should be one. But, my ‘getting over photophobia’ and fear of public display begins. I am adding a page to my site for video readings of some of my writing. My face is there, my voice is there, my words are there.
OM asked what we hoped to expect or happen from Project O. I never expected this. I’ll be running around naked next through the town, shouting to passersby that I’m no longer shy or afraid. Well, maybe not naked. I do have some modesty left.
Little and large things can be changed in so many subtle, unexpected ways.
Something special is occurring here. I can feel it. I know it. OM’s Project O is not just for me and my little foibles. It’s for everyone. To give over an entire month on a forum that has over 23,000 followers, to allow all of those linked in this way to share each others’ minds and opinions is huge. It’s momentous.
I don’t know what it is yet. But, I’m pretty sure OM has an idea and hopes. I’m really beginning to think that ‘Ohm’ would be more appropriate as his catch-all.
It takes someone a bit ‘bolshy’, a bit questioning, a bit pushy, a bit ‘get in your fucking face’, to raise awareness. He’s doing that. And not, I believe for himself. Oh, he may get something out of it. There’s usually splendid payback when you do something wonderful, And, really, this has the potential to be full of wonder. My stomach’s fluttering at its potential. Insights and understanding of others could go a long way in making the world a better place for all of us. For all children, no matter where they are born. Namaste.
My videos will be ‘warped’ somewhat to protect myself, I hope, from mammies and daddies of weans I teach. If any of them come on here and see my full face and name I might get into bother for letting ‘fuck’ and ‘wank’ and other such niceties slip from my pen. I try to do so only when it seems fitting and I’m pretty sure lots of people (including mammies, daddies and some school kids) use them. But, given some of the odd things that happen in this crazy world, I’m looking out for my job.
And, if anyone recognises my face that knows me as Mrs. ******, school teacher extraordinaire! – I’m blaming OM. He made me do it! Well, you know what I mean.
And, if ever I make it into print and people slate me, I’m blaming him for that too.
And, if I burn the dinner today – well, I’ll blame my husband. I’m too busy writing to cook!
Thanks OM. It’s only taken 52 years! Where have you been all my life? Oh, that’s right, you weren’t born. 🙂