A couple weeks ago I got my new headshots taken. I remember waking up that morning. My first thought was: did I get enough sleep? Sometimes I’ll jump out of bed on an adrenaline high only to realize a few hours later that the answer was ‘no.’ Luckily, the answer was yes on this day. Getting your headshots taken is expensive. If I wasn’t well rested it would show in my eyes. If I was feeling down it would show in my eyes. Special thanks to the Women in Film Networking Breakfast, I was neither of these things. I was ready! I needed the camera to capture my personality. My mentor’s advice played on repeat in my head: when you’re dressed sexier, let your nerdier side come through; when you’re dressed nerdier, let your sexier side come through. Show the opposites. I zipped up my little suitcase and locked the door behind me. The pressure was on.
I told this story in my last post for Creative Life, but I’ll quickly summarize: A week before I had made the same trek down to the studio, only to find no one there. An unfortunate miscommunication. I’d started to make my way home, disappointed. And then, a phone call! I jumped off the bus and the photographer came to meet me at a nearby coffee shop. We hit it off immediately and rescheduled the shoot for the following week. In my last post I said that I felt so grateful for this strange occurrence because I now had a rapport with the photographer that I believed would add to the shots – he knew who I was; I wasn’t just another actor. My prediction was absolutely right.
My previous shots showed a younger more naive version of me. They were taken two years ago. I’ve grown a lot since then. Three months ago I started as managing editor of a magazine (Cella Magazine) in Vancouver. These young naive shots didn’t look quite right next to my title. I needed a change.
Since the breakup I’ve started looking at, and presenting, myself in a different way. I’ve started posting yoga photos to Instagram, putting extra effort into my appearance in the morning, playing with habits, spending A LOT of time exploring my feelings (yesterday I spent three hours working through the questions at the end of Danielle LaPorte’s Desire Map).
The result: A clear difference. The photos definitely showed off a more confident side to who I am. When I shared them on Facebook, everyone loved the one of me smiling in the blue shirt and lace. I love that one too, but I am especially drawn to the one in the grey dress. I love it because it doesn’t really look like me. It looks like the girl – pardon me, the woman – that I hope to grow into.
Liz, my mentor, caught my little trick. “I don’t think you could carry this character for a full film,” she said – translation: I don’t think you have the ability to carry this character in your life. I wanted to disagree, but she added a “yet,” to the end of that statement. Three to four years she said. A voice inside of me said “No, I’m going to do it ONE year,” but I’m learning that everything takes time. I’m learning to be patient with myself.
She’s right. I’m not this person yet. Yes, this confident and poised looking woman comes out when I’m doing yoga, when I’m curled up with a book, maybe even when I’m writing, but when I’m engaging with the world this woman is not present.
I came across this poem yesterday:
If all of this strength
and beauty was hiding
what then must be buried
within each of us?
What might be realized
with a chisel
day and night
at all we
This short poem was written by Vincent Convertito (you can follow him on Instagram @VincentConvertito_VAC).
“What then must be buried within each of us?” What is buried inside of me? Despite weekly massages the tension in my back continues to crunch underneath my fingertips. My self-made shield. The question, what is buried inside of me?, translates to what is underneath this shield? In many ways, I feel like I haven’t really met myself yet – the self that is at ease in the world.
I went to a partner dance class last night. “Try to relax,” said one of my dance partners. “You’re really tense.” Yes, I can no longer hide the fact that I tend to brace for impact in every social interaction. Am I preparing for rejection? I think that’s probably part of it.
No, perhaps this picture doesn’t look like me, and maybe I couldn’t carry this character for a full film… but I don’t think there’s anything wrong with having a role model in yourself. I’m reminded of Matthew Mcconaughey speech at the Oscars:
“There’s a few things, about three things to my account, that I need each day, One of them is something to look up to, one is something to look forward to, and one is someone to chase.”
In his speech he said that person he is chasing is himself… 10 years from now. He says that the person he is chasing will always be 10 years in the future. I love this idea. This is the woman I’m chasing: The woman that doesn’t feel like she’s impeding; the woman who doesn’t feel like an inconvenience, or the black sheep; the woman who belongs. This photoshoot showed me another way of looking at myself, but more importantly it gave me a glimpse of the woman I will one day become.
I think we all need a “yet,” in our lives.
Latest posts by Christine Bissonnette (see all)
- A conversation about belonging at the Vancouver Writer’s Fest - October 28, 2015
- Creativity is our common language – it is how we communicate what we are afraid to say as ourselves - September 10, 2015
- “I left something important at home during week 1 at the National Voice Intensive” – entry by Christine Bissonnette - May 22, 2015