In the empirical representation of me, one sees only the superficial aspects that make me who I am. Facebook has become a very popular medium through which we depict these selective selves. What I mean by this is that we all only show those photos which we find to be our “best sides.” In the case of Facebook, we are exemplifying the myth of photographic truth. We planned to take these photos and posed them in such a way that we found to be acceptable to put on Facebook and show our friends. Although it seems that this photo caught me in a candid laughter moment, in all actuality, I had to take at least ten shots before I found one picture to be acceptable. We are all so caught up with our external appearances that it is often hard to not judge a book by its cover.
While I may appear to be a happy and fun-going kind of girl, the second, more symbolic representation of the journey of my life depicts a very different story of how I became that person in the original photo. The stonewall background and the cracked and broken railroad track in the center represent the long and windy path I took to become the person I am today. There were many bumps and obstacles along the way, but the future looks bright ahead.
Both portraits do not necessarily intersect, but they seem to fit together like a puzzle. The original self-portrait photo shows the end product and the superficial aspects of the life-changing experiences of my life. In the symbolic representation, surrounding the broken-down railroad are broken hearts healed with band aids. These two symbols represent the major ordeals that I faced within my short lifetime. When I was seven years old, I was diagnosed with leukemia. Although I did not fully comprehend the severity of the situation at hand, being so young, I emerged a stronger person in the end. The second heart represents my mother. When I was only eleven years old, she separated from my father and literally abandoned our family. She left my father alone with four children. Although very traumatic at the time, these ordeals have made me a stronger person, much less timid than the little girl I used to be. Today, I embrace these sufferings as they brought our family closer together and created the person that we all know today. I do not know what life would be like if I had not encountered such obstacles.
The symbolic portrait also shows a bright future. After all the ordeals and suffering in my life, I have learned to not take life for granted. Although I am terrified of graduating this spring, I will embrace the opportunity and attack the situation just as I have always done. The victory silhouette at the very end of the road is hopefully my future. Being the first to go to college, I feel as though I have something to prove to the rest of my family. I know that my hard work along the rough and patchy journey of life someday pay off. I can see the light at the end of the tunnel (in a good way).