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that is my physics, that is my metaphysics

Sometimes people tell me that my work seems a little egotistical and self-indulgent. In some cases, I don't disagree. I really only take offense when it's aimed at my interviews or articles, because I intentionally try to reduce my role in those stories (of course, you can't escape yourself and I show up anyway, but still I make a conscious effort and that should count for something). But when that sort of thing is said about my self portraits, or this blog, I don't think much of it, because what personal blog is not self centered? Isn't that the whole point?

I like to think my photos have more weight than just making myself look good. I've really tried over the past year to create things that are more laden with symbolism. Even though I'm not the most proud of my Photoshop skills, I think I am proud of the intention behind my self portraits. Still, even though they might have more depth than the selfies I post on my Instagram stories, I am literally at the center of them, I am their anchor. I am the focus of myself.

But whenever I am the subject of someone else's work, it is never seen as superficial or self centered, even though they often have a much less nuanced understanding of me, and were likely only interested in how I looked, my style, etc. I have often been used. My image has been exploited to tell other people's stories. They do not understand me, they conceptualize me. I am by no means a model, and I've talked before about how I don't really consider myself pretty, but I guess because I have blunt bangs and listen to The Velvet Underground, I have found myself being called a "muse" by male photographers/artists who are really much more interested in how I make them look rather than who I am.

This is very bothersome. I run for the hills whenever a Male Artist looks at me, starry eyed, and says "You're my muse." Not "You inspire me," or "you have great style" or "I find your presence comforting," but "I'm your muse." It baffles me how anyone could consider that a compliment. It creates an unequal power dynamic, first of all. It implies ownership, the phrase "my muse," as though my sole purpose is to be the centrifugal force in your art, that I must uphold the idea you've created of me because it's my only concern.

But also, it showcases a refusal to take responsibility on part of the artist. You're putting the weight of inspiring you unto me. That's a heavy load. I don't want to be responsible for your poorly-written love ballads, your titillating ink sketches, your "artistic" film photographs. I don't want to be responsible for anyone's bad art except my own, and I think everyone else should want that too.

So how is it that someone arrogantly using me-- warping and bending me to fit the role of muse --as the centrifugal force in their work somehow less egotistical than me using creative outlets as a way of exploring myself and finding myself? I am thankful if I inspire people, but I create mainly for myself these days, and I certainly have no interest in being anyone's muse. Because I'm already taken: I am my own muse.

I remember one time, I was at this boy's house, and he took a photo of me and said, "It's a great one. I think I really captured your essence." He flipped around the camera so I could see. And I didn't see myself, really I didn't. I saw a girl who's black mascara didn't match her brown eyelashes, but she piled it on nonetheless, who was wearing her boyfriend's Kinks shirt, and looking at the camera with doe, bedroom eyes, exactly the sort of girl this boy would want to take photos of. I was not, and am not a photographer, but I though then, at that moment, that in the future I might want to have some photos that really reflected who I was in a deeper sense, and what I mean to myself.


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