A selfie a day for a year [UPDATED]


This post is very much a ramble of my own musings, and a lot of them are about me. I feel very conflicted about writing about or talking about myself, especially when I’m going to be laying bare truths (or things I hold to be true) about myself that I don’t particularly like.

Not that hard. Take a selfie, every day, posting them to Instagram. That’s what I set out to do at the start of this year. The reactions have been interesting. I’ve had some people who were long-time followers that I didn’t know very well unfollow me. I’ve had new people I’ve met follow me and unfollow immediately. I’ve also had a lot of really positive support from people, which has been great.

I’m knocking it on the head after January – and here’s why.

What’s been more interesting is my own response to those reactions. The fact that people were unfollowing me made me question whether I should continue (I can totally understand why they did – my Instagram feed was mostly me). In fact, the original version of this post was me saying I was going to stop after January, as you can see above.

It throws up a whole bunch of questions and reactions from me that I need to think about some more. The initial thought was “selfie a day, that can’t be hard, and maybe it’ll help with this and that”. I didn’t really think about people’s reactions to it. I hoped they would be positive, and maybe with the full story of why I’m doing it their reactions would be different (as opposed to just taking a selfie a day because I am obsessed with my own face – narcissism is not a trait I find in any way appealing).

But is dwelling so much on what other people think really helpful? In any way? Or is it just another part of what I’m trying to deal with here, which is how I feel about myself. There are other implications of my reaction as well – this desire to please other people (either by acceding to their wishes or attempting to anticipate them in advance, regardless of how solid that assumption is). To please other people at the expense of my own intentions. I don’t think that’s healthy.

Well, I know that’s not healthy.

One of the reasons for setting out to do this was to get better at being in front of a camera. I don’t like having pictures taken of me. I always run and hide when someone starts pointing their phone at a group, or when someone gets out a camera. I’d like to be more comfortable with it. I do feel a little more comfortable with it already. In some ways, having the reason of ‘I said I would’ to take a selfie is motivation enough to take the snap (and I feel bad when I miss one, which I have done in January already – twice).

But it’s not really about photos. It’s about accepting the way I look, and being comfortable in my own skin. It’s about having a confident image of myself. About removing that voice inside that’s a hangover from my school days (many many years ago). I’ve not cracked that yet – there’s a lot to change, and a lot of road to travel – but the selife-for-a-year experiment is an interesting way of getting started.

It’s tough to write about this stuff. There’s a reason this is going up here, and not on my main blog. Admitting that you aren’t that confident in yourself, and that you find hard certain things that other people find easy is very uncomfortable territory for me. Admitting any kind of weakness is uncomfortable territory for me! But I do believe that change comes from within, and I think admitting to yourself there’s stuff you need to work on is the best way to get started.

One thing I have learned is that a project like this works best when you’re doing something rather more dramatic with your day than I am – like this, for example.


Last post I was talking about Tabletop, the now-established online video series about playing various board games (nothing like hot off the press with information). One of the titles that has been played on the series with great interest to me is Pandemic. Wil Wheaton explains it far better than me.


So one of the Christmas gifts that I got this year was the Pandemic board game, and we played a lot of it over the Christmas period. It’s an incredibly elegant and well put together title, the core mechanics of player co-operation and the way that the different infections spread around the world works beautifully well. It’s one of the few games where we even managed to get the grandparents involved (who are, to be fair, elderly, easily confused and French). Everyone who’s played it has genuinely enjoyed the co-operation mechanic, with discussions and strategising breaking out across the gameboard. It’s one of those titles that you should play at least once in your life (and once you play, you’ll probably want to keep playing again and again).

It is a game you will lose again and again. But losing this game is hugely fun, especially with the whole “everyone’s in it together” co-op play. With a new version just released (which I can’t comment on directly as my copy is the older version – however, adding in two new roles for the players to take on will hardly have thrown the game dynamic off too much), now is a great time to go fighting disease in a global save-the-world kind of way.

It’s is a fantastic game – grab yourself a copy!

Also a great giggle is the gag reel for the Pandemic show (everyone loves a gag reel – and no one swears like Wil Wheaton when he makes a mistake).


I’m sure that anyone even vaguely into geekery and gaming would know of Felicia Day – who has become a geek icon through her work on The Guild – but one of the hidden gems on her YouTube channel GeekAndSundry is the Tabletop series. Essentially each episode features Wil Wheaton and a number of guests (it’s just a smorgasbord of geek icons) playing one or more boardgames.

Not classic boardgames, but those titles that are very well-known in gaming circles and should really be known in wider circles. We play a lot of these titles fairly regularly in my house now and a lot of that has come from watching Tabletop and getting excited about different games, including Small World, Ticket To Ride, Settlers of Catan and more.


Here’s the full playlist for Tabletop. I’d also highly recommend the gag reels – because who doesn’t love a gag reel?

Settlers of Catan was actually the first of the classic boardgames that I played (beyond Monopoly or Scrabble, say) that really sunk it’s claws into us as gamers. My father has also become quite the boardgamer, with many a round of Small World seeing him come out the victor – but Settlers is where it all began. We sunk hours into that game, including the expansions; having the Cities and Knights expansion adds in another level of strategy that advances the game brilliantly once everyone’s used to the straightforward play.

Try these games! I can not encourage you enough. Even if you don’t play games too often, or you’re not sure about them, give them a go. Ticket To Ride especially is incredibly easy to learn and loads of fun to play. Settlers of Catan has the fantastic trading mechanic, with deals being struck around the table and alliances building and shifting through out the game. They take a little while to learn the mechanics (but then so did Monopoly the first time you played it) but once you get them down they become second nature. Board gaming is a great social experience – as a gamer who enjoys playing games online, sitting down with your mates, a few beers and a board game or two makes for a great way to spend an evening.

Ulysses – Tennyson

Tho’ much is taken, much abides; and though
We are not now that strength which in old days
Moved earth and heaven; that which we are, we are;
One equal temper of heroic hearts,
Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will
To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.

Fabulous poem. Admittedly I was reminded of it by a BBC2 sting, but still.

Invictus – William Ernest Henley

Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.
In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds and shall find me unafraid.
It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll.
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.