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Monday, January 26, 2015

#365feministselfie, A Recap.

I know the last week of January is a bit late for an end-of-the-year reflection but eff it.

I started the #365feministselfie project on a whim, with a plan to be as kind of silly with it as possible. I didn't want to take pretty pictures, I didn't want it to bear weight. I just thought it would be fun.

I didn't know then, a little over a year ago, what the year would hold for me.

Looking back, I'm so glad I did it. Not only to document the obvious changes I underwent as the year wore on -- but actually, because the biggest lesson I learned from it was how to look at myself with love. To see my strengths, to embrace my weaknesses, to learn to let go of the things I couldn't control and live in the moment, no matter what kind of moment it was ... to be vulnerable and therefore fearless, in my own way.

Of course, some amazing things happened along the way. My initial post about beginning this project was recognized as part of Schmutzie's Five Star Friday, a weekly round up of nominated posts from the blogosphere. I was honored by BlogHer as part of their Voices of the Year Keynote at the 10th annual conference for one of my selfies. I met celebrities and musicians and authors and new friends and old friends and I invited people in, to my heart and my head and how I see this mad world and people weren't scared or repulsed or judgmental -- but kind, accepting, supportive.

Sure, there's been a fair share of rubberneckers and a few trolls, but as with any drama in life, you'll have that.

But the biggest thing that happened for me along the way was that I found a voice I didn't know I had. A voice that wasn't afraid to stand up in the literal arena and ask a celebrity for a photo in front of hundreds of people. A voice, despite shaking, that could say with confidence that I deserved better and actually believed it. A voice that stopped worrying so much what others thought because I could finally start to see in myself beauty and grace and love and I didn't need that outside validation, the whispers telling me how I should look or act or feel. I found a voice that gave me the space to be me and to do so with confidence and hope and, yeah, I'm going to say it again -- love.

I can't tell you what it's like to finally have that after 30 solid years of not.

Sure, I bet I've lost followers because they're tired of seeing my face all the time, and I've probably gained some that don't understand what it is I'm actually doing here. But it isn't about the stats to me with this, no. At a time when my words, for varying reasons, failed or betrayed me (or had the potential to do so) these photos kept the story going, often times speaking more eloquently and honestly than I ever could convey through my fingers at a keyboard.

If anything, this project helped me to believe in myself and my words even more, because I know now more than ever the power there is in telling your story, however you choose to tell it.

So, if you want to feel a little dizzy, here's all 365 of my feminist selfies from 2014 in 15 seconds.

A video posted by Tabatha M (@so_tabulous) on

And if you want to take a peek at them at a more leisurely pace, I've put them all into a Flickr album, although some of the captions were cut off in the upload so you may have to traipse over to Instagram to see comments and whatever.

I toyed with making a Blurb or Shutterfly book out of them, if even just for myself -- and I might, yet.

I wasn't sure I was going to continue in 2015 -- I was worried the year would lose some of its salience, some of its importance to me and I suppose potentially to others if it didn't end and have closure. But as I watched my fellow selfie-ists commit to another year and chat about their reasons for continuing, I realized I was grateful to still see their faces everyday, as they have become my compatriots and moreso, my friends.

So I decided to continue, because this year already holds big things for me, and my story is so very far from over yet.

I think this post from a fellow selfie-ist sums it up pretty nicely:

A photo posted by Toni (@ohyes_that_girl) on

So here's to the revolution -- of society, of the male gaze, of our community being seen and heard and getting things done -- but also, to the revolution within ourselves, the radical notion that we are people ... people with stories worthy of being told and people worthy of being loved most of all by ourselves.