When I moved to my first apartment in DC, I decided to start taking one picture of myself a day. If I saw someone that day, I had them take the picture. If I did not see anyone, I took it myself.
The idea was to track how my life, and presumably my face and body, would change. I never did anything with the pictures. I meant to put them together into a collage or a video or something, but it never happened. I had to put together a bio and a picture to go with it for a website I am writing for and I ended up going through a lot of the pictures tonight. When I started taking my “picture of the day” I thought there is no way I am going to remember what happened on this day by this picture, but I actually did for most of them.
This one was taken 71 weeks ago early on a Sunday morning just inside the front gate of the National Zoo. The guy I was seeing had slept over and in the morning we walked up the street to grab a coffee and then we walked through the zoo. I was happy, but tired and lazy, so I threw on my dad’s old sweatshirt and a scarf and I didn’t bother with makeup and it took a lot for me to say, “Can you please take my picture?” without feeling ugly or vain. I was taking a lot of these pictures for myself then.
This is what came out.
This is one of my favorite pictures of myself ever.
I can tell that I’m tired. I can tell that I care about the person behind the camera, my eyes tell me that, but also that all of the caffeine in the world isn’t going to let him into my head very much. I miss my long hair. I know I weighed five or ten pounds less here. My eyebrows weren’t disappearing to alopecia just yet. My friend was still alive. I didn’t realize the sun was on my head like that, but I remember my reaction when he turned the phone towards me and smiled. I said, “Wow. The sun. Thank you.” The man who took it never slept over again. We walked to another park after and I said, “I’m going to miss you showing me these things” because I already knew.
It has been a tiring two years. I see how tired I look here and I imagine how tired I must look now. I have lost myself in ways that felt like melting and found myself in tangible things like a photograph or a cup of coffee or a bus seat. Something hit me when I looked at this picture: I love DC. I do. For every thing it has let me see in myself. For every thing I lost or gained here, for better or for worse.
It has been a good two years. It really, really has.