I love seeing what words get added to the dictionary each year. It’s interesting to see how culture can have such an affect on our language. To think that new words come into existence simply because of trends is quite fascinating. Two words that stood out to me from 2013 were “Twerk” (which I think we have heard enough about) and “Selfie.” Perhaps there were more refined words that made the list, but these are the ones that seemed to get the most attention. In case you don’t know what a selfie is, here is the definition from the Oxford Dictionary:

Selfie – a photograph that one has taken of oneself, typically one taken with a smart phone or webcam and uploaded to a social media

Truth be told, I love a good selfie. I can’t pretend otherwise or my friends will call me a liar. My husband stated last week that anyone that I ask to be in a selfie with me, is just an accessory. Apparently I am a giant selfie hog. (I’m sorry I have a large head/hair.) My Facebook and Twitter pics are selfies, and what can I say? I have been known to enjoy this expression of oneself.

What do I like the most? Well, I like that I can get the angle JUST right. (You know the angle I mean) I also like that I can essentially see what my hair looks before I go out into the world. Sometimes, I have been known to really make my hair big.(Like gigantic) The selfie assists me in making sure I haven’t gone too far. I really love the photo effects. I can essentially shave about 15 years off my life using the right filters. (I never hashtag #nofilter. No one wants to see that) I can then take this very staged, artificially produced photo of myself and think “Wow, I’m not looking too bad. It could be way worse.”

I was feeling perhaps a little bit of shame at my enjoyment of the selfie. Until I came across this article. Then I thought, wow – is this what the selfie has brought us too?

A plane crash selfie. I have so many questions. I don’t know about you, but had I just survived a plane crash and was floating in the water – I don’t think the first thing that crossed my mind would be, “Wow, this would make a great selfie!” I’d be concerned about sharks eating me (my main fear regarding water disaster), burning fuselage, finding other survivors, trying to signal for help – and the list goes on. I’d likely be a little hysterical. Crying and screaming. And, how come his phone didn’t get wet? I can’t find my phone on a good day.  So many questions.

I am really glad this guy survived the plane crash. Others didn’t make it.  Maybe I was being  little judgemental of this guy. I got to thinking that maybe this selfie was more of a celebration or a statement. Look at what I just came through! Look what I survived! I could have died, but somehow I made it. I think when you look at it that way – it’s a very justified selfie of someone who just had a very significant before and after life moment. And the more I looked at his selfie, the more it became less about him and more about his story and the amazing odds he just survived.

Maybe this will start a new trend.

Maybe my selfies need to be set more as part of my story. Maybe I need to make them less about me, and more about what is going on around me. Selfies, turned into expressions of  stories.

Maybe I can zoom out. Find a wider angle. Take out the filter. Make it real. Turn the camera around.

Less self, more life outside the frame.