Here it is ladies. I am talking to you. Your face in my hands…eye to eye, I am speaking to you. This one is going to be a tough one. No one is going to want to hear it. But, WE all need to. I talk a lot about teens and self-esteem, and how social media effects how they see themselves. Well, it’s not just teens. Ladies, Moms, Women…we are guilty too. Horribly guilty. Recently I went on a girls weekend. Several of the most beautiful women I know, inside and out, were there. We were all dolled up and ready to go out, so of course it was time to take a selfie. After 3 or 4 I started to walk away and I turned around to see everyone checking the picture to make sure they looked ok. (Don’t get me wrong, no one wants a double chin, half eye open, crazy chick picture, I get it) But, this is when it struck me…Our lives are completely edited! Our photographic life has no bad hair days, no water retention, no swollen eyes. We have apps for skin smoothing, eye opening, hip thinning…we, as women want to PORTRAY ourselves, not BE ourselves.
Now, don’t get me wrong I check my selfies. I take two or three, or the girls in my studio will tell you sometimes 5. But, I am trying to be less critical. Trying to take one and done, and here is why. You know when you take a picture, and you show it to your friend/child/husband, and you ask if you look awful? When they say “no” your automatic response is that they are lying. Delete, re-take. But, the truth is, 9 times out of 10 they are not lying. That pic you hate, looks just like you to them. It’s not an insult. It doesn’t mean that photo that you feel ugly in really looks like you and therefore you are ugly. It is oh so much more complicated than that. Everyone around you, everyone that loves you…when they see a photo they see you, all of you. Inside and out, unfiltered. They don’t look at you with filtered eyes. They don’t just see your thighs or your thinning hair. They see YOU!
Think about your most favorite picture of you mom. Pull it up in your mind. If she saw it, would she love it? I can think of one of my mom. She is in a hospital bed, in a god awful gown, and she just had my sister. If she saw it, she would die. She would immediately comment on how huge she was, or what a mess her hair was. I simply see my mom. Happy, glowing, beautiful in every way. Now hold that. Remember how you feel about your beautiful mom…now think about this. Your children see you exactly the same way. Happy, glowing, beautiful and REAL.
Let’s go back to that picture of your mom. I am praying you still have your mom here with you, but if she has passed, this will mean oh so much more. Imagine you are planning your moms funeral. You sit down with your siblings to reminisce. As you open the photo album you turn page after page after page. No mom. There are just empty spaces where photos were removed. You find one Glamor Shot from the 80’s. She is beautiful, but it doesn’t really capture her. She looks weird and you have a little laugh about it. But, there is nothing. Nothing to remember her in the kitchen. Nothing to remember the water fights in the back yard, or the lazy Sundays on the couch. Not a single image of your swollen happy mom in the hospital bed glowing after she has had your sister. Then your dad comes in. “Where are all the pictures of mom?” You ask. Dad explains, “She deleted them. She was too fat. Her legs looked weird. Her roots were showing. It was a bad angle. Her teeth weren’t white” You are devestated, because you loved those pictures. You enjoyed those pictures. Those pictures were all you had left of your mom.
Do you get what I am saying here? Pictures are for memories. Snapshots are about life. Your babies see YOU every single day. They don’t see your flaws. We as women can’t help but to pick ourselves apart. But we have to stop. Next time your husband snaps a picture of you with your kids. Do me a favor, don’t check it. Let it be what it is. I know thats scary, husbands don’t care right? Actually they do. They just don’t see the same flaws you do. They really do think you look good! Let your picture be taken. Stop the negative self hating voice that says you look bad. If your first instinct is to look at your double chin, pull back and look at the whole image. See the moment, see the love, see the memory.