Today’s prompt was “Are you as comfortable in front of a camera as behind one? Being written about, as well as writing?”
Now, anybody who has known me since my teenage days (or even my childhood ones for that matter) will safely vouch for the fact that I am probably the most reluctant of ‘posers’ in front of a camera. I don’t know what it is about the camera shutter (whether it belongs to a camera, or a mobile phone) that just makes me cringe in my clothes. I cannot, simply cannot bring myself to sport a decent smile for a photograph.
As a child, I had quite the reputation of being a shy kid when not in my elements. And given that my ‘elements’ in those days pretty much consisted only of the small passage in the compound of that rented house and the open playgrounds opposite my home and at school, it meant that I was most comfortable in the company of my friends (all of whom were boys) playing cricket or football with them, getting into scuffles with them, screaming my lungs out at my teammates for not being competitive enough or just having a garrulous time in general.
Even at family gatherings (typically large Tam Brahm ones where the entire extended family would converge), all of us boy cousins would get together, devise our own games and start running around the function hall busy with our own mischief. These were the only occasions when I was at my happiest, natural best. In fact, legend has it that I haven’t spoken to a couple of my girl cousins until I was around 20 yrs old and some of my aunts and uncles until I got married only seven years ago. At best, my reputation was that of a shy boy who loved to hang around other boys, friends and cousins and just run around wreaking havoc on the surroundings.
It therefore goes without saying that I was not a ‘people person’ at all, in fact, I still am not. Back in those days there simply weren’t enough cameras or occasions for me to actually have to face the ignominy of posing for a photo at all. Posing therefore didn’t naturally come to me. And even when my father did buy a Kodak point and shoot camera, I was more interested in taking photos rather than pose for them. The very few ones in which I actually am posing, they are all full of awkward self-conscious poses and I cringe when I look at them today, twenty years down the line.
I don’t know what it is that makes me so self-conscious when it comes to people talking about me, taking my photograph or worse writing about me. Of course, the only people who want to write about me are my Project 365 Core Team friends who wanted to put up an introduction for purposes of the group blog, and I am sure they will corroborate when I say that it is the toughest thing for me to read about myself.
It is not a self-esteem issue in terms of how I look in photos or an under-confidence issue of what people write about me. It is not false humility when I think that it is too pretentious to write really good things about me. I guess it has to do with one value that I have been brought up with –don’t blow your own trumpet. From a very young age, I was taught that it is the world that needs to trumpet your achievements to others and not you yourself. Remember, these were the pre-Facebook and pre-LinkedIn days when publicity didn’t matter as much as actual achievements.
These were days when an ‘achievement’ was more than just walking 4.26 kms a day in 45 mins (which is what I use Endomondo to advertise as my Facebook status nowadays). An achievement meant putting in concentrated efforts, hard work, staying dedicated, focused and single minded on the task at hand. And honestly, I haven’t put in that much hard work for pretty much anything in life. It therefore follows that I didn’t like ‘talking about myself’ as much either through photos or in words; I still don’t like it.
I really would love to hear what you readers think about ‘self-promotion’ and your comfort levels with the same. Remember, I am not judging you here, nor are any of the other readers. We are just trying to get your perspective on this issue. So, feel free to hijack the comments section if required.
This post was written for the prompt provided by Project 365 : A post a day where the objective is to write at least one post based on the prompts provided.