The Power of Video for Self Discovery: Removing the Mask

conscious | Dianna Bonny Photography

I have written about my experiences of coming out from behind the lens, much like a child stepping out from the folds of her mother’s skirt, slowly revealing more and more.

When my blog first went “live,” I made my computer gal take it down so I could get used to the photo of myself being out there. It was quite a shock. Then there was the adjustment to each post going up as I shared more and more of my story. The first encounters with the likes of Twitter and Facebook were equally as terrifying.

I had the sense of being ever so slightly pushed from behind, while at the same time being pulled by some mystical force in front of me. I wonder what on earth is it about being seen that is so challenging.

I think my singing debut last summer stripped away most of the last vestiges of being invisible. It is damn hard to hide when you are standing in front of an audience by yourself.

As a practice in learning to make eye contact, I was asked to spend twenty minutes staring into the eyes of someone, preferably a stranger. Not willing to venture that far out of my comfort zone, I asked a friend to do this with me. In case you haven’t tried this, eye contact is very personal and it will make you acutely aware of why you have avoided it. Having someone stare into your eyes without looking away — brings things up — which is, of course, the point.

My latest project: shooting video of myself talking about my story. This was assigned to me by a woman I admire, Alexa Fischer. I resisted this with all my might, for all the reasons stated above, and then some, but in an effort to surrender to all things personal growth, I stepped over my resistance and did it anyway.

A couple of weeks ago, I garnered the strength to sit in a chair and push record on my iPhone. The first few takes were frighteningly uncomfortable. Squeamish comes to mind, and I admit at first it feels self-indulgent watching your squirmy self on the screen.

Then I stopped judging and just started observing the woman in the frame, looking at her with curious compassion, which allowed me to see some incredibly valuable information about myself.

I think we look into mirrors to see our reflection and evaluate what we think everyone else is seeing, and I’m not so sure our interpretation is accurate. When we look into a video we can see, feel and hear — maybe for the first time — our being coming into focus, as we observe the person who has been masquerading as us.

There is an opportunity to see behind the mask. Or at least peer through some of the cracks. I would love for you to try this and let me know how it made you feel. Take baby steps and just shoot a minute or two here and there. Let yourself get comfortable enough so you can observe without criticizing. I think you will find buried treasure in this moment: self-compassion.

For best results, crack a genuine smile from the deepest part of your being and look straight at the camera lens like it is your dearest friend. And, if you really want to have fun, this little tripod makes it a lot easier to balance your smart phone just about anywhere.

Little by little, I am getting to know this stranger on the screen and notice the subtle ways I have shrink-wrapped my personality to deflect flaws and imperfections. It gives me such a deep appreciation for our imperfect humanity, as well as a new found respect for the ways in which we cope with the life we are living.

Have you been masquerading as someone else your entire life? Try this project and let me know if you discover anything interesting. I would love to hear about it.

As always, sending you love and encouragement on your healing journey.


Who is Dianna Bonny:

Hi, my name is Dianna Bonny. It’s my mission to candidly share my journey with you. For me, it’s all about the healing: to create a radiant healing energy for others who have befallen a similar fate. Together, we can forge beautiful lives of belonging and connection. Thanks for joining me today! I look forward to hearing from you.

  6 comments for “The Power of Video for Self Discovery: Removing the Mask

  1. February 28, 2014 at 3:52 pm

    Hi Dianna,

    It’s amazing to see how far you have come along this journey! Video…wow, you have managed to challenge yourself every step of the way and it is so inspiring to see! I took up commercial acting in my 40’s for the very reason of learning to love myself more. My first teacher was in her 80’s and an actor in Hollywood years and years ago – she had so much spunk, was so alive, it was a gift just to be in her class which she taught from her home. (She passed away a few years ago.)

    The first time she put me on video, she told me to take the tape home (yes, she taught on VHS…took me a while just to find a machine to play it on! :)) She told me to go home, watch it and fall in love with myself. She said, “If you don’t love yourself on film, no one else will either.” So I went home and fell in love – it was such a healing experience. Something about seeing yourself on camera is so softening…at least to me…it was like seeing myself from a much less critical place. I look forward to hearing what your insights will be with learning to film yourself – I think its going to be magical!! xo

    • Dianna Bonny
      February 28, 2014 at 4:44 pm

      I love that your journey mirrors mine Karen. I am a few steps behind you 😉 Hoping to catch up one day! So true that it is healing to see yourself on camera. I don’t know why and I wouldn’t have believed it until I did it. Softening is a wonderful word to describe it. I will keep you posted on my progress. Always love to hear from you. xoxo

  2. February 28, 2014 at 4:34 pm

    Dianna, when I first started videoing myself, it wasn’t as consciously as when you did. But I had the same “softening” attitude towards myself. Something else you might try: I record most of my articles and post the link on my blog, so my voice is real familiar to me now. Not the one we hear in our heads when we talk, but the one the world hears … I love it!

    • Dianna Bonny
      February 28, 2014 at 4:41 pm

      Thank you Sharon. I love that idea. So true that it is the voice the world hears! Still getting used to the idea of hearing my voice and liking it. Lovely suggestion. xo

  3. March 3, 2014 at 10:34 am

    Hi Dianna,
    Once again you hit a cord. It’s difficult to “see” yourself. I try to concentrate on the content and not how I am coming across…I’m going to try your idea of the “dearest friend”!

    • Dianna Bonny
      March 3, 2014 at 3:32 pm

      Yay! I’m excited to hear what you find in the dearest friend frame of mind. Sometimes we just have to shift our perspective the tiniest bit for the biggest results. Let me know! xo

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *