A few days ago, my husband and I were looking through old picture albums of him and his family when he was a kid. Memories of fun trips, birthdays, and family activities flooded back to his memory and he told me funny and exciting stories from his childhood. It was so fun! And it left me yearning for modern-day pictures to be reminders of happy memories too, instead of the deception they sometimes sadly convey.
All too often, there are pictures within the last few years that I look back on and some of the first things I remember is how many pictures I took before I was finally satisfied with one, how long it took me to edit/filter the picture, and how I still wished something like my hair or makeup or weight or outfit had been different. How sad! What a waste! I want to look back on pictures and have memories of experiences—not memories of my insecurities and what I was trying to portray.
With all the apps, photoshop tools, and social media we have today, I think a lot of us have become obsessed with appearing perfect—especially online. Because an app can clear wrinkles and zits in seconds, it's totally understandable that we think, "If I can make myself look better than I actually look, why wouldn't I?" Because it's possible to exaggerate our stories and augment reality, and because so many other people do, we can begin to convince ourselves that we have to somehow compete or keep up. So we take a million selfies, angling our faces until we think we look thin enough, and then we edit our blemishes and the lighting until we feel like a modeling agency could totally see that pic and sign us on the spot and we'll become Instafamous. Then we have an anxiety attack over writing a caption that makes us sound witty and clever and shows the world how much fun we had doing an activity that we really didn't experience because we were on our phones the whole time looking at other people's similar posts. So we embellish, edit, and filter our lives until we feel everyone else will think we have everything together and we are happy—even if we aren't. How often is the final product of what we present to the world no longer reality at all?
I miss the days of the old school way of taking pictures. I miss the way we had disposable cameras on trips in the 90s and how you couldn't see the pictures you took until you printed them. I miss looking through the printed pictures and remembering the fun times and laughing about how a random person accidentally photobombed the shot. I miss how many times our eyes were closed, our hair was out of place, and the lighting was horrible. I miss the raw, unedited snapshots that captured real, happy moments.
My point in all of this? Let's not waste our time on such unimportant things like how we look or what others think of us. Let's not sit on our phones comparing ourselves to others and miss out on living. Let's really experience life and create memories and take an unfiltered picture we can look back on and smile because it helps us remember a joyful moment. Let's post on social media to uplift others and document things as they really are without any ulterior motives of being liked or pretending that we're different than we are. Let's get back to being real.