#Selfie | Teen Ink


May 3, 2016
By reach4mars GOLD, State College, Pennsylvania
reach4mars GOLD, State College, Pennsylvania
16 articles 44 photos 211 comments

Favorite Quote:
I already know how it ends, I'm just here for the ride :)

Click. A small flash brightens the dim light in the girls’ bathroom. Steph, standing center of it all, a faint smile traced on her lips, pushing her hair to the right of her face to show off the slight waves it held from the morning’s shower. Her eyes glinting from the flash and perfume light, yet noticeable. Okay, so you couldn’t actually smell the perfume in the picture but that didn’t matter. Steph felt great. Not only was today the patiently awaited Friday, but she had actually done her homework the night before. With no worries ahead of her today she felt just great enough that this moment needed to be remembered. A physical, hold it in your hand and re-live the moment, remembered. Not even remembered, but seen. Besides, her camera was right there in the dock on her phone. It was so inviting, that when she stepped out of the bathroom, washed her hands and looked into the mirror it seemed like such a blatantly obvious thing to do. Probing her, practically screaming at her in her head. Steph swiped through her phone to her instagram app, pulling it open to reveal colorful content already being uploaded, liked and bombarded with flattering comments. Throughout Steph’s life Or at least as long as she could remember. Steph had always gone on her phone in the morning, right at 7:00 a.m. when the school’s wifi was fast and classes hadn’t begun yet.  She’d scroll through her feed to find artsy photos of feet, slightly cliche quotes from movies she hadn’t seen yet and yes, selfies. Tons and tons of selfies. Now don’t get me wrong, Steph was never against that kind of thing. She wasn’t “anti-selfie” or whatever. Steph just didn’t really care beyond giving the photo a few seconds of inspection, and a quick double tap of the finger. Sometimes she’d see a photo and would barely be able to recognize the person behind the light tinting filter and plastic cover of her screen. It wasn’t that they looked so incredibly different, there was just something slightly off.

Steph’s feed looked just like any other feed, a few family photos, pictures of her cat and photos with friends, sipping on sodas or hanging out at school. The only thing missing from her feed was a solo photo of herself. Not that Steph had never actually taken a selfie before, but this was the first time where it was just her. No reason to take the photo except for the fact that she was having a good hair day. Thinking for a moment, Steph considered posting the photo. Everything in the picture seemed just perfect but she wasn’t convinced, at least not without checking it out again. I mean, you wouldn’t just hand an essay to your teacher without checking, double checking and sometimes even triple checking your work. This was basically the same thing for Steph. Besides she wasn’t even sure if it was really okay for her to post this photo. Not that there was anything really wrong with the photo. Steph had just never thought about posting single, solo photos. To her they seemed a bit self oriented or at least kind of self absorbed. I mean, wasn’t the idea of the selfie to show people, “Hey look at my face!” Or something like “You know that party you wanted to go to but just couldn’t make it? Well I’m here!” For a moment Steph rethought posting her photo. They say “the internet is forever.”  Should she really be putting herself out there like that?

Swiping through her phone again, Steph opened her photos app. First in line of the two hundred photos she had already taken, she tapped the photo. It came up on her phone’s screen as big as it could. The light was perfect. The slightly yellow cheap lights in the bathroom were dim enough to mask out any acne and blemishes but gave her eyes little gold flecks, a cute angelic touch. The light created an almost halo like effect on her head. The graffiti on the bathroom walls, and posters with titles like “Save the world!” and “Wash your hands!” had been dimmed out in a nice fading away but still…

This would be a photo that everyone, absolutely anyone, could have access to and see at any moment. Was it really good enough to post? Steph then noticed a little fleck of light shining on her forehead. The way her body was, right arm slightly behind her made her left arm look slightly bigger then the right. Then the thought of what others might think of her occurred. Would they question the fact that she was really taking a photo of herself in the bathroom? I mean, overall it wasn’t exactly the “classiest” place to be. Was it weird? Or at least it felt weird thinking about it now. With twenty other thoughts running through her head Steph felt completely overwhelmed. The lighting on her head no longer looked “angelic” but almost made her look scary, like some villain in a pool of harsh light. The bumps and blemishes didn’t seem so faded out now. They seemed even more prominent in the light. Steph could hardly keep track of all the faults and flaws she saw now. 

“Steph? Hey, there you are. Coming to class?” Steph’s friend, Alessia stepped into the bathroom. Backpack slung gently over her shoulder. Steph quickly shoved her phone into her pocket, pushing hair out of her face only slightly embarrassed that she was obviously spending way too much time in the bathroom but she hadn’t even noticed the minutes passing by on her plastic covered phone. It was as if a little time eternity had been made just for her but no. The world was still moving on, and Steph was being left behind.

“Yea I’ll be there in a minute.” Steph said joining her friend by the tall bathroom mirror right above the row of sinks. Steph watched as Alessia brought out a hairbrush and started brushing out her hair even though it was already perfectly smooth. Alessia gave herself another quick inspection, checking her teeth and checking her skin for blackheads and bumps. As far as Steph knew, Alessia, had never once had a skin problem before. It was always smooth and perfectly clean. Then Alessia reached into her pocket and pulled out a little black container with peachy powder. Then began to dust herself, slowly and rhythmically across her cheeks. The powder went up in a flurry, but slowly settled silently on her skin. Steph could feel the slight weight of the phone in her pocket, yet again tempted by the thought of her photo. Maybe she should post it. Why be overly worried about what other people thought? Taking her phone out and opening up the photos app staring at her slightly forced smile. Alessia turned on the faucet on the sink and began washing her hands. Steph, again re-thinking her own thoughts accidentally let her phone slip through her hands.  Her phone fell, a very dramatic, very fast but felt like slow motion, fall. Into the sink, doused in city water and Alessia’s face powder. The phone broke and Steph could not recover any of her photos.

The author's comments:

Note: This piece is not mean't to offend anyone who takes selfies. 

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