Friday, December 12, 2014

Confidence and cameras

Before the age of 11, I had very little fear of the spotlight. I used to dance and sing in video recordings, show off my best model poses for the occasional disposable camera. I'd gaze directly into the lens as if it was a dear friend, possessing confidence, poise and mostly a lack of self-consciousness.

That changed quickly when I hit middle school - I grew my hair long and I bought my first digital camera. From then on I wanted to be behind the lens or away from it entirely. I had no interest in the spotlight, no interest in documenting myself. If anything, I wanted to sleep away the years and wake up in a different time and place.

One day, when I was around 13 years old or so, my sister and I went to a local drugstore. While the details of our visit are cloudy and under-formed, what I remember was the moment at checkout when the guy behind the counter asked me why I was hiding my face. Until that point in my life, I didn't realize that my long flowing black hair was unintentionally turning into a personal shield from the outside world.

In time I grew out of this. While I maintained my long hair, I no longer found myself hiding behind it so much. I still didn't go out of my way to be seen, but instead of actively avoiding it I took it in stride.

Which is why, as of last year, I started to attempt vlogging for the first time.

Vlogging, a word that is clear to some but unbeknownst to others, is a combination of two other words: video + blogging. The word "video" should be self-explanatory. And I assume "blogging" is also clear as you are currently reading a blog right now.

Putting myself in front of a camera and uploading what I made to YouTube involved a tremendous break from my comfort zone. I chose, in doing so, to revert back to my childhood innocence. Instead of being hyper-aware of my faults, I let them go. I tried to ignore my concerns over how people would perceive me physically and intellectually.

And in doing so, I felt better as a person.

It's funny to me how by placing myself in the position of being judged by others, I felt relinquished of the anxiety of their judgment.

Though my productivity has wavered since I made that first video, I fully intend to keep on going with vlogging and to get myself comfortable in front of a camera again. Because while I enjoy being behind the camera very much, in the game of life it's not always beneficial to hide.

If you're interested, here's my first ever vlog (from 2013):

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