Hi, friends!! How are you? I’ve got a whole bunch of new published pieces to share with you, so I thought now would be the perfect time to do just that! First up is an essay I wrote for Refinery29 about my favorite topic in all the world: Selfies
Back in September, I knew that I wanted to write about what I learned from a year of posting selfies and I’m SO proud of this piece and I’m so glad I got to tell this story! I grew up feeling different (and looking different) from people my age, which definitely impacted my self-image. With my selfies, it’s like I’m having a conversation with my younger self, telling her all the things I wish I had known back when I was a teenager.
I started posting selfies as a defiant response to trolls…sort of saying “You don’t want to see my photos? I’m going to post one EVERY DAY! What do you think of that?”
Yes, friends, the quickest way to get me to do something is to tell me NOT to do it.
It’s like I wrote in the piece, selfies are a powerful thing for disabled people — and especially for disabled women. It’s a way to open up the conversation about what it means to live life with a disability, but it’s also a way to take back the narrative and take up space in a society that doesn’t want to include us AT ALL
Here’s an excerpt of the piece, in which I reflect on how my selfies weren’t just for me, but in support of the entire disability community…
I may have started this year of selfies for myself, but I soon realized that these selfies weren’t just about me. Other disabled people told me they identified with my words, too, and they began posting selfies of their own. They started sharing their stories and showing the world who they are. I’ve often felt very alone as a disabled person and for the first time, I was seeing the disability community taking our rightful place at society’s table. Finally, I was seeing people like me — people who weren’t ashamed of who they are — and it was one of the most glorious things I’ve ever experienced.
We don’t typically think of selfies as being a revolutionary act or even political, but they are, especially in 2020. It’s a way of taking back my power and painting a more accurate picture of disability.
For this piece, the Refinery29 designers created this really cool selfies collage and I absolutely love it. Not just because it’s a great visual representation of the last year of my life, but because it’s amazing disability representation!
These selfies are for every single disabled person.
These selfies are a statement.
Our lives and our stories matter.
A special thank you to all the trolls for helping me learn these lessons! Something tells me I’m going to keep posting daily selfies…at least for awhile longer! Never let anyone tell you that selfies don’t matter. They do!
You can read the full piece here and I’d love to hear your thoughts. Feel free to email me anytime at email@example.com and let’s chat! And of course, feel free to share my essay on Facebook, Twitter or even your local refrigerator. If you share on Twitter, be sure to tag me @melissablake so I see your tweet and we can connect! I can’t wait to hear from you! Love you all… xoxo
Melissa wins the year! Thank you for posting your awesome selfies, and thank you for using your platform to do so much good for so many.
Krysten Quiles says
Melissa this is so awesome! Good for you for not letting those mean trolls get you down.
Bravo! You are an amazing person. So much to be proud of. Keep up the good work and the great words. You and your work do matter. Happy Holidays to you and Mama Bear.
Kristine Schuster says
I accidentally went on a tangent about you and how much I adore you in a meeting last week. I just wanted you to know that your story matters to me and I so appreciate the realness and love you put into the world. We need more Melissa Blakes!
Melissa, I discovered you on Twitter and followed you when the “selfie/troll” saga took hold. I just didn’t feel was fighting your corner as a women but because your attitude,focus,strength of words, articulate writings and fantastic quick wit that I found contagious! You are officially awesome!👍👍👍
Stellan Clausen says
Hi Melissa, I feel just fine, I love yours selfies, your disability does not make you different, you are a wonderful woman, you are cute and beautiful Melissa Blake, I hope you post many more selfies in the future, I wish I could meet you in real life so I could say in my own words to you what a wonderful and beautiful woman you are Melissa!
Wish you a very Merry Christmas!