I'm a big fan of a few things--moderation, self-deprecation, humility, humor--that I don't always put into practice very well.
Moderation--ha, tell that to the sleeve of graham crackers I ate yesterday. Immediately after a full meal.
Self-deprecation...well, sometimes I accidentally back people into a corner.
"You look nice!" "Pah! Nice! If only I'd lose some weight and actually iron my clothes and for that matter WASH them and by the way look at this gross stain!" "I'm completely uncomfortable and have no clue what to say."
Humility. Don't even want to go there.
And humor--crack jokes, sure. Be the butt of a joke? NO THANK YOU. Smile sarcastically and find a place to cry later, that's me.
But those are four things I'm trying to keep in mind as I think through this little dilemma in my little head. Because here's the deal--I'm fascinated by beauty and posed pictures and flattering angles and positive messages as much as anyone, or maybe more--but I'm wondering if we're getting out of hand.
I scrolled through my instagram feed this morning, and after about 30 photos, realized that only 2 or 3 were truly candid shots of "real life." By this I mean, the light wasn't perfect, they were actually taken with a cell phone camera, smiles were maybe a little goofy...but I liked them just as much as I liked Anthropologie's magazine-worthy snapshot of breakfast or whatever. For different reasons, of course, but I liked them just the same.
Now, I definitely understand Anthro's need to present themselves fairly perfectly. They have a brand to maintain. Also, I pretty much only want to post flattering photos of my sweet baby girl--because it's not her fault she makes weird faces sometimes, and I love her, and I only want to promote the best of her! So I get it. There are a million reasons to put our best faces forward, posed, poised, perfect.
But isn't there room for moderation?
When I want to snap a picture, instead of moving my smiling baby away from my pile of (hopefully still) clean laundry that has been waiting to be folded for a few days, what if I just embraced that she actually does live in a decently messy house?
What if I didn't put concealer over my facial blemishes, and instead let them stay clean so they could heal more quickly?
What if, when people ask how my parents and the kids are doing, I kindly suggest they google "support for adoptive families" to see how many different hits they would get. They're doing great, thank you, but frankly it's hard enough to be a human, let alone to do life with other humans.
I think humor is good to mix in, too. It helps us connect with each other. Laughing is powerful. So is humility. When I see a beautiful girl look less than perfect, I am strengthened by her ability to be confident no matter what. Side note: some of the most Barbie-beautiful girls I've met have also been the most self-conscious. Surely I'm not the only one who has noticed this. Their words and body language are blatantly obvious and very consistent. I hate that for them. Is there extra pressure to be that pretty?! To us non-Barbie girls: apparently life is easier when we're not an 11 on a scale of 1-10. Be blessed. To loosely quote my brother-in-law, "Girls who haven't always been pretty have to develop personalities." I bet we've all been that girl for at least a day...or a few years...or always...tomato tomahto.
Now, moderation is still important. I think we can self-deprecate in a humble, friendly, maybe even funny way, so we're more approachable. But we can also make other people uncomfortable and, worse, actually start to believe some of the play-insults we lay on ourselves. So be careful.
My amazingamazingamazing (she would hate I used that word!) high school English teacher taught me that a good persuasive piece should end with a call to action. So here it is.
Let's pursue moderation over perfection. Trends change too quickly to keep up with. One minute is paleo, the next it's minimalism, the next it's camping and then we're partying on the 43rd floor of some high-rise. All these things are fun, and each are great fits for some people, but I think the best trend is timelessness, and that's you. And me. We're timeless, because of Who made us.
We're beautiful when we're young and awkward, older and able to properly apply makeup, in the morning with gross breath, on our wedding days with a full team of beauticians, and covered in mud at the family reunion. We throw parties that not many people come to. We don't always buy the perfect gift, but dang it, sometimes WE DO. We accidentally-on-purpose eat all the ice cream, even though we instagrammed a photo of a gorgeous salad this afternoon with the caption could eat this every day!! (yeah freaking right). Some outfits make us look fat. That's all okay. It's as okay as looking perfect. It's all good.
So, if you want, instagram an imperfect photo (bad light, weird expression, messy house, whatever) that you WISH you could love (because it's of you and your hubby, your messiest room is your most favorite room, your salad really does look amazing even though people are sick of #foodporn photos, whatever) because having a fairly average life is something to be proud of. And I want to see what you're secretly proud of. #fairlyaveragelife so I can see, please. Because I'm nosey. K thanks love you.