Self Palace

Photographed on 3/3/2023

Published on 3/12/2023

These pictures are difficult for me to show. It also requires some backstory. One week during work I discovered an ad for a rave party in town. Excited to hear about a new party venue and the opportunity for some live electronic music I texted my friends to see if they wanted to go. One by one everyone notified me that they would unfortunately not be in town that weekend. Despite having to go on my own I still wanted to check things out to satiate my own curiosity.

I'm not really the type of person to do well at parties, even with people I know well it can be hard to keep up with everything going on. Large group settings are not easy for me to navigate. Yet, I have this vision in my head. In this vision of myself I am charismatic and kind and making conversation with strangers. In reality, I never really know what to say. I had a vision of what the party would look like and that it would be fun and I'd be great and have a good time, and things would be different this time.

I went to the party and paid the $5 door fee to a man with the venmo handle "Time Wizard". I was anxious to be on my own, and as soon as I walked through the door two strangers complimented me on the Ikea bucket hat I borrowed from my roommate. I was nervous and made basic conversation to the best of my ability before breaking away from them to awkwardly walk around the venue and stand in each of the small, humid rooms.

Everyone there was with other people, more drunk than I was, having more fun than I was. I went downstairs to listen to the DJ but the music wasn't that great and I wasn't in the headspace to enjoy it anyway. I felt so out of place and out of my element. I went ouside to smoke a cigarette by myself, and then I left, trying not to be too hard on myself for things not going the way I wanted them to. When I got home I took these pictures. I was in a strange state of mind.

These are all essentially self portraits taken with my close up lens and the flash on. I looked very closely at my face and every imperfection I've ever hated about myself was laid bare before me. However, I saw my eyes as well. In my eyes I saw a window to my soul and how I was feeling that night. I continued to take pictures of myself, I left the lights off and put on one of my favorite records. I floated along and learned to accept myself, despite my shortcomings and perceived flaws. I found solace and shelter in my Palace of Self. Before posting these I thought about removing my blemishes, editing the photos to make them more presentable, but I decided that showing them as they were shot would be more meaningful and true to myself. I love myself, or I want to at least, more often than I do currently.

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