Self-Portraits / 2019/ Session Nº3

Last night I went to a live recording of Turn Me On and felt that wonderful spark I remember from my own podcast Impractical Women’s Studies – a spark that signifies liberation, curiosity, and empowerment.

When people say they’re going to be talking about sex its simultaneously exciting and stressful. What will you learn? What are you hiding? What conversations are you still uncomfortable having? What are you scared about other people knowing?

They started the evening off with some audience games, that included having to stand if you answered yes to a question and stay standing until your next no. There were moments that I felt relieved (like when they asked if you like butt stuff, and I gladly sat) and others that made me blush, like when they asked if you spit or swallow. I was sitting next to my boyfriend and our friends, so while we say we are working towards a sex-positive culture I had to question what that really meant for me, including the question “Does sex positive mean I want everyone to know what I like in bed?”.

I’ve realized my biggest insecurity is how I make other people feel. I didn’t want to embarrass my boyfriend, but I wanted to participate in the game. I didn’t want our friends to feel uncomfortable knowing that I prefer to swallow (which you all do now, too… sorry). Sure, I have my own embarrassments. I think for the most part any shame I have comes from how I think it will be perceived more than shame around those “kinks”.

I started thinking about what it is that I find sexy. What do I like doing? When do I feel my best? What fucking turns me on?!

I wore red fishnets under my outfit last night. Partly because I wanted the little peep of them at my ankle for my outfit. But also because it was fun to be secretly dressed up under my sporty-black-kind-of-generic outfit. I like the way I look in them, the way they make me feel, my boyfriends reaction. It is personal empowerment – empowerment that doesn’t ask other people to validate me to feel sexy. In fact, I realized the less people that knew the better I felt. I like being able to choose when I’m seen and how.

To contrast the spice of lingerie, I also love being cozy. I feel most in my element at home in a big sweater and panties. I am the typical girl-next-door and I think thats how I’ve always idealized myself sexually as well. Perceived innocence. The knowing things you’re not supposed to know. The beauty of the mundanities of life.

These themes inspired a fun self-portrait session. I threw on some Blink-182 and danced in my clothes from yesterday as soon as I got home. No showering, no changing my underwear, no props. Just dancing and having fun and remembering that at the end of the day I want to embrace my sexuality for me. I get to choose who I share it with and why. I get to feel powerful in my own skin, clothes, and relationship.

There have been times when my sexuality was something I wasn’t empowered by. I felt crushed under its weight and like it was something I could use to gain power. It was a tool in manipulation and being manipulated. I believed for a long time that my body was the most profitable thing I had to offer and totally disconnected myself emotionally from my sexuality and sexual experiences. Now I thrive on the emotional link, on feeling sexy for myself and knowing that I don’t need anyone else to validate that or put a price on it.

While this only skims the surface of sexuality and my experiences and learning with it, it is still these moments and instances that make me feel powerful and in control. That remind me that I am able to own myself and my body and that power only belongs to those I choose to give it to. My commitment to myself is to choose empowerment.

The Habits of Fear of Success

I feel like I’m constantly sabotaging myself. In small ways. In big ways. In ways that I am not even aware of until it has eroded my confidence, psyche, energy.

I want so badly to fulfill my dreams that it sometimes seems easier if I’m the one who causes them ruin. It seems more likely that I would be the one to let myself down so I do.

In small ways. In big ways. In ways that I am now all too aware of.

Self-Sabotage

This looks like so many things. Spending outside of my budget, not sending in my manuscript, staying in bed too late. Asking the world for days to make art just to find myself cleaning my apartment when I am gifted with them. Making up excuses for each and every one of these instances. Finding myself more lost than ever while on the outside my life looks like I’m getting everything I ask for, yet on the inside I feel more confused the more I achieve. I feel more far away the better things seem.

Is it me distancing myself from my accomplishments? Is my inner self so used to waiting for the shoe to drop that I can’t relax until I cut the laces? I have watched myself succeed; I have watched as I haul myself to the new heights that every venture has brought me too. I have watched myself try to bury myself under these successes.

You know that feeling when you know something is bad for you, and you do it anyway just to keep proving it is bad for you? Whether it be fiending for social media likes, smoking too much weed, eating gluten, not calling your friends back… I feel like that’s where I’m at.

Continue reading

On Gratitude + Appreciation

I feel like in the past couple of years there has been an influx in our conversations about gratitude and appreciation. We’re told to always be grateful for what we have and appreciate where we’re at and yadda yadda yadda like it is always a conscious choice where we put our feelings or even how we feel.

I was talking to one of my friends the other day and she was telling me she was proud of me for all that I’ve done this month. Moved out of an unhealthy living situation, officially started a relationship, published a book, started a new job… I hadn’t taken stock of my life in that way in a long time. I was humbled by what I had done and also shocked that I hadn’t recognized fully all that I had accomplished. The thing that got me the most though was that I still didn’t feel that proud feeling I expected. I wasn’t overcome by relief or emotion. I didn’t have an epiphic moment where I came into some other-worldly outside of myself realization of my worth and how far I’ve come.

Instead I realized that my lack of recognition for where I’d gotten myself was because it felt like it was necessary to not give too much weight to these instances so I could keep growing and moving forward.

My friend pointed out to me that it is sometimes necessary to not take stock. To close our eyes and keep plowing through – to not compare or judge, but simply just do. To realize later that you had gotten ahead and were okay and strong. But that to do this forever is it’s own kind of depression.

I feel like the past year has been about realizing and recognizing my true power and potential in my life. There was a lot less fear this year than there ever has been, which means all that energy I was able to put into faith. The challenges I took with a grain of salt and took on the mindset of knowing everything is temporary – but this survival mechanism also stole some joy from me. I was less able to be grateful for what I do have and who I am because I know it’s temporary too – or more, I make it temporary by living like this constantly. I wasn’t aware of the learning curve I was dipping into and how often the changes we make can sometimes bring us into even more of the same.


Continue reading

RESOLUTIONS / GOALS / DREAMS 2019

I love lists, and I love manifesting. So it’s safe to say that resolutions are right up my alley. Looking back on so many things I’ve written over time that have come true, it’s hard not to believe in the power of putting your intentions down on paper.

My favourite example of this is when I wrote in my journal that I wanted to live in Halifax in 2 years. I didn’t know what 2 years was going to hold for me when I wrote that. I didn’t know how it was going to happen and there was a time when it was more than off the back burner – it wasn’t even on the stove.

2 years to the month I wrote that I pulled up to my house after moving across the country. That wasn’t a new years resolution, but it was something I was resolved to do.

I think what I like particularly about new year resolutions is that we energetically are at a time to let go of the old and start fresh. We want to move forward, feel unburdened. We thrive off that motivation to get going and get stuff done. We are more apt to notice what we do and don’t want in our life anymore because we have the permission to make changes without judgement from ourselves or others.

THE LIST

  • DO THE SPLITS
  • HOLD SELF IN SPACE IN A HANDSTAND
  • GET AN EXCELLENT PUBLISHING CONTRACT
  • ABUNDANCE THROUGH ART
  • FIRST TRIP OVER SEAS
  • WIN GRANT/ARTIST RESIDENCY
  • CONTINUE DELVING INTO SPIRITUALITY
  • MEDITATE EVERY DAY
  • LESSEN REFINED SUGAR INTAKE
  • PAY OFF CREDIT CARD DEBT
Continue reading

Self-Portraits / January 2019

I’ve always loved self-portraits. I think it was actually the reason I ever became invested in photography.

The ability to capture yourself in a raw, whole state. To see yourself objectively, as a subject. To think about how you want to portray yourself and work within how that actually comes across. It feels like a practice of proprioception – seeing how we come across vs. how it feels in ourselves.

My smile is never as big as it is in my head. A particular angle makes me look young. I think I am happy yet I look lost. It’s funny how self-portraiture has always made me feel foreign to myself as much as it has made me feel at home in myself as well.

I think that “selfie” culture, something I actively participate in, got somehow diluted. Our way of thinking about people when they are taking a picture of themselves is almost inherently negative, frowned upon. Seen as attention seeking, or somehow inappropriate. Somehow we have made a line in the sand between a selfie and a self portrait as if they aren’t the same affect. As if documenting ourselves and our own beauty and happiness and experience of life isn’t something to be celebrated.

I love the quality that comes from a real camera, like I can see the density of myself more with it. I like the privacy of it; of getting away from the epicentre of communication that is our phones; our perceptions of ourselves, of our places, of our faces.

I have an older DSLR camera and you cannot see the photo on the face of the screen. You have to look through the eyehole to see the picture. You have to trust your set up, have patience, be able to see yourself in half-formed ways immortalized in the between photos. I love the pile of books and rocks and odd objects I balance my camera on because I lost my tripod. I love the way lighting sometimes just fucking works. The moment you look at yourself immortalized exactly as you feel and realizing just how it is you feel once you see the photo.

I was self-conscious for so long about what people would think of someone who took so many photos of themselves. Am I a narcissist? Am I full of myself? Is there a reason for all of this? Is it really art? Does it need to be art?

I like the bags under my eyes. The red lipstick. My boyfriends sweater. That I’m sitting on a stack of books. That my hair feels like it belongs to a higher version of myself – like I was shedding half-lives when I cut it. That I don’t feel like I need to wear face makeup and that these are photos I will probably use as head shots and I love the idea that I’m getting over the “stigma” of taking my own head shots. That I can display so many parts of myself here and honour all of them. I love that I am excited.

I’m excited to take on one of my resolutions this year to take more photos with my real camera, and I’m happy to include myself in that process as well.

Embracing how we want to be seen. How we want to see ourselves. What we want our world to look like.


For more writings, snippets of thought, and art follow me on at @edgarallanfoe

Want to check out my latest book? Click here to read a short story from it and follow me for more updates on pre-orders and its release date!