You know what I hate about social media?
HINT: It’s kind of obvious.
I hate that the VAST majority of what we see on social media is a highlight reel or sometimes just completely fake.
Do you know how many times I’ve posted a smiling face when I’ve felt nothing but anxiety or depression or boredom?
Do you know how many times I’ve posted a photo of a smiling couple who paused from fighting only to snap a selfie?
Do you know how often I actually LOOK like those perfectly made-up, and impeccably lighted selfies that make it into my feed?
It’s just not real. I know that. You know that. But the pretty photos are what it takes to get things read.
Well. I want to battle against my own bullshit, because fuck flattering. Not posting some of life’s bloopers or messes or struggles can be damaging and isolating. We buy into the highlight reels even when our logical selves know that living a good life is not about making your life look good.
So I’m instigating #FuckFlatteringFriday on Instagram.
I’m going to post an unflattering/imperfect/uncomfortable photo of myself every Friday (I’ll try) and explain why it isn’t something I’d “normally” post.
If you would like to join— use the hashtag so I can reshape/feature your post! I would LOVE to see your posts but if not— sit back and enjoy.
This Week’s Post
This photo I didn’t post because I really, really hated how I looked.
The dress hugged my stomach’s roundness in a way that made me uncomfortable. My skin looked shiny and greasy. My cheeks looked extra round under the fluorescent light from the 90 degree heat of Washington DC. And my hair fell flat the second I left my hotel room.
When I saw this photo originally, my heart kind of dropped. You can see in the second photo, I was trying SO much harder to look flattering. I was sucking it in and standing differently, but I hated that photo too because it wasn’t perfectly-natural-looking-but-poised. On top of that, the lighting sucked. I felt like I looked sloppy and out of place on the east coast where everyone dresses like they walked off a runway.
Now, as I’m posting these all I can think about was how wonderful that trip was.
This trip to DC was one of the most professionally rewarding experiences I’ve ever had. I got to meet face to face with patients and record their stories. Then I also meet with legislators to advocate for changes in policies.
It was completely new and out of my comfort zone and it ended up being incredibly motivating and inspiring. But I didn’t share because all I could see were all my flaws in the way that I looked.
Sadly, feeling that way, tainted parts of the trip for me. Instead of focusing on the amazingness of being there– my eating disorder brain jumped in. It started taking over my thoughts, telling me to stop eating. Telling me to wake up hours early to go to the gym. Telling me that people thought I was gross. That I was silly for thinking I looked like a boss babe when I left for meetings that day.
Eating disorder brain has a way of turning really amazing moments in life into anxiety-ridden silent panics.
Pair that with the beauty ideals that each woman has had pounded into her head since she could walk. It’s a recipe for self-hatred no matter how much we love ourselves beyond how we look.
How we look, shouldn’t dictate how we participate in this world. Beauty ideals and unrealistic standards and impossible expectations– we can’t allow that bullshit to paint our experiences. It’s hard to not care. It’s hard to unlearn the things that we’ve been taught. But the thing is, we paint our own mother fucking experiences, even when they aren’t flattering.
We can choose to yell back at the parts of ourselves that try to tell us to stay hidden.
Lots of love to you all on this weekend. Remember to say screw it to the shit that simply does not serve you. Like flattering. Like other peoples’ ideas of beauty, value, or worth. Do you, and don’t let the bullshit stop you.