When I decided I wanted to give this year long photo project a try, I was a bit skeptical. I, admittedly, have a hard time sticking to anything positive. Negative behaviors and habits are in my wheelhouse, I smoked cigarettes for twenty years, and stayed in a miserable marriage for a decade. Talk about dedication. But positive, beneficial habits? I couldn’t tell you — and by couldn’t, I mean wouldn’t dream of — how many helpful, healthy things I have started and found seemingly impossible to continue.
And yet, here I am sitting at over a year of daily mood tracking and day 188 of my erotic photography project.
For the past year or so, I’ve been trying to establish healthier routines and behavior patterns. I started therapy in October 2017. I went every Thursday, missing no more than 6 appointments until we moved at the end of March 2019. That’s a positive thing to keep up with, to be sure. I’m fairly confident in saying that it saved my life. Along with the therapy, I started tracking my daily moods with an app called Daylio. It’s given me valuable insight on how my moods are affected by how accomplished I felt that day. Seeing my moods charted out for an entire year helps provide self-awareness, and allows me to adjust my daily tasks/activities accordingly.
Having so much success with therapy and my mood app, I decided to step my game up and shoot for this year long photography project. I’m a photographer, so it’s great for my creativity and technical practice, but it has been so much more than that for me. Forcing myself to take a picture every single day that makes me feel good about me has been a challenge — thankfully one that comes with excellent rewards.
Seeing myself in new lights, and stretching my creative muscles in self-portraits has been incredibly beneficial for my confidence and self-esteem. It gives me a sense of accomplishment every day. That alone has made an impact on my mental health. I feel better about my self-image every day that I get another picture posted. I remember being so proud of myself for sticking with it for a week. Then a month. And 100 days. Now I’m at my half a year mark, and it makes me feel motivated to keep going and see it through until the end.
Along with the personal growth from the images themselves, the project has helped me connect with artists, writers and photographers and be more interactive on social media. I have engaged more with people than I ever have on Twitter and Instagram this year. It is giving me the confidence to believe that maybe, just maybe, I have something to offer the world.
Here are some of my favorites so far!
Nikki is a photographer, writer, and general creator of things. She writes about mental health, sex, and relationships.