By Kristen Mudrack
I’m not a huge fan of pictures of myself. I tend to want to be the one holding the camera instead of on the other side of it.
You see, I tend to not like the way I look in pictures. The picture was too posed, or the light wasn’t right, or I look fat, or I’m not smiling, or any other such excuse I can come up with. But usually it’s because I don’t like the way I look.
I have this image in my head of what I should look like. In short, perfect. I should look put together, happy, and healthy, even if that’s not actually true at that moment. I think I got this notion from looking at social media – where we all put the best of ourselves out there. The perfect selfies and the happy status updates – they don’t always reflect real life. When did we become so good at pretending?
Pretending that everything is okay, even when it’s falling apart.
Pretending that we’re always happy, even when we’re struggling.
Pretending that we’re always healthy and flourishing, even when that is the furthest thing from the truth.
In social media today, we put forward the best of ourselves. We want people to see the best image of us, not the struggling, frazzled, often overextended person that we actually are. Now, there are things you shouldn’t share on social media. For example, that you’re angry with your significant other or a confidential matter that has been shared with you. But neither should we always be the perfect version of ourselves.
Pictures show that more than anything. I have pictures from college during times that I was on steroids and sicker than ever before. I can tell, in those pictures, that I wasn’t feeling like myself. I have pictures from trips with my family and friends that show beautiful landscapes but also dirty, muddy, sweaty, happy faces. I have pictures from my wedding that show unbridled happiness as never before.
The more I stand on this side of the camera, the more I realize that I love these pictures. Even the ones where I look terrible. Because they show the real me. The messy, dirty, imperfect, happy, sad, healthy, sick, real me.
What do your pictures show? Do they show the real you? Or the you that poses for the camera?