This is me. Raw and unfiltered. Blemished and real. (aka : zero photoshop work applied)
I could spend a lot of time right now taking space to point out all of my flaws and all of the negative things I see when I look at this image…and just maybe you are conditioned to see that way, too. As a woman (of any age) we are constantly bombarded by the images around us that sends a message no one is actually putting words to :
You need to be thin.
Your skin needs to be flawless.
You need to hide what’s blemished, tuck what’s sagging, and inject what’s wrinkled.
Photoshop is a lovely tool. I’ve used and misused it for 18 years. I have grown hair on men with receding hair lines and camouflaged bald spots, removed love handles from men and women alike, taken away double chins, whitened teeth, made barbie skin…. for sure….it’s a great tool and can do all of these things and more. Listen, of course we don’t want to be portrayed as anything but “cover worthy”. We want to feel beautiful, young, put together…flawless. But, truly, let’s step back for a second and look at what’s happening to us.
This is not a post about banning soft filters.
It’s also not a post about how we are corrupting our little girls with our vanity issues or one to shame you into no longer hiding behind a faux appearance.
But it IS A POST about acceptance. Even if that only means accepting ourselves.
I just had my first “cover” experience with VIP Seen. I was a wreck leading up to the shoot. All of the self doubt crept in and would not stop nagging in my mind.
“I need to loose 40lbs. I need to do something with these wrinkles. I need lash boost. I need my hair done. I need new clothes. I need straighter teeth. I basically need…well…can we just use someone else for this? Or at the very least, can I have people with me so I can hide behind them?”
Being photographed is to be seen. It’s vulnerable. It’s scary. It’s choosing to be exposed. And that’s exactly how I felt. The lead up to the photoshoot was grueling. When we were in the middle of it, I felt super awkward because I couldn’t stop thinking about how I would be portrayed…would I be flawless enough? Would he be able to hide my extra lbs and wrinkles and old hands? When people see this, are they going to be able to point out all of the things I am trying to hide? But truly, when people meet me in real life…they see ALL of that. So what was I actually trying to hide, anyway?
What I know is this…10 years from now, when I look back on images of me today (ESPECIALLY images of me with my husband and kids, family members and those dear to me)…I won’t ever regret having said yes to getting in front of that camera.
Aging is hard. It’s hard not to look back and wish for what was, I get it. The memories that photographs will bring to your future self are worth investing in today…regardless of your hang ups.
Life is rich when gratitude is present. I hope today when you look in the mirror and see those fine lines and gray hairs or the cellulite and not so perfect teeth (whatever your hang up is), you can be kind to yourself and know you are traveling well through this life. Don’t hide. Others need to see you be imperfect so they can feel ok with being imperfect, too.