Someone once told me I’ll never see myself the way other people do. Apparently what I look like is subjective. There isn’t a mirror or a filter or selfie or a picture in which I’ll ever see myself in the same light someone else does. So I can’t help but wonder: what do I look like?
I’ve always wondered how other people see me. What do they notice? Do they see all of my chicken pox scars across my forehead? Are they repulsed by the mole on my inner thigh…or my thighs in general? How would you describe me to someone else? Do I really look like the Banana Republic mirrors would suggest? Do they WANT people to feel like a Humpty Dumpty hobbit in their clothing? Are they actually trying to go bankrupt?
I have to remember that I have built up insecurities and struggles within myself that others cannot feel, aren’t burdened with, and don’t see. What a relief to look at something and see it for what it actually is without 33 years of overly microscopic critical analysis. There’s a land somewhere between complacency and narcissism I wish I could find in regards to my self-esteem. Guide me to the magic wardrobe! I wish I could go back to the day I stopped doing anything other than loving myself.
The idea that we can all look at the same thing and see something different is as intriguing as it is infuriating. We all have our own lens and we all have our own concept on what a masterpiece entails. One person’s trash is another’s treasure. We all see the world in a different light and we each have our own unique perspective which is fantastic and empowering but it also destroys the concept of ever seeing anything eye to eye.
We’ve all been there. The group photo. Immediately everyone has to give their approval on whether or not it’s post-worthy. It must be a unanimous decision. Because why else would we take pictures anymore? So you take a look and zone in for assessment. Without even realizing it, your face has contorted itself into a look of disgust because you aren’t happy with what you see. Your eyes look too big, maybe they’re closed, your arm is the definition of gigantic, you forgot to suck in, you’re having trouble locating your actual chin- whatever it is, you aren’t impressed. You express these thoughts and hear this: ‘What? You look great!’ This means one of two things. Either you actually look fine and are being overly critical OR your friend looks like a smokeshow and is so excited about it, she’s willing to let your lackluster picture go under the radar as some kind of superficial sacrifice. I say she because I’m fairly certain this predicament is predominately (not always) a girl thing. A dumb thing.
You ever meet people and then a year or two later you think back to your very first impression of them and it’s totally different? Their personality and demeanor have shaped the person you now see because you’ve gotten to know them beyond the surface. It’s crazy. It’s like a 3-D puzzle. You can walk by quickly and see a seemingly normal picture or you can take the time to look a little harder and find something truly remarkable. Or maybe it’ll make you cross-eyed and sick but at least you can say you tried. The same goes for people.
We yearn so hard to get a glimpse of what other people see that we’ve become obsessed with ourselves in the process. The Selfie. Let’s discuss. Selfies are not for ourselves. Selfies are to show other people where we are, what we’ve accomplished, or who we are with. Other times it’s just simply when we’re feeling slightly more attractive and need a confidence boost or, in very rare occasions, look so hideous we can’t stop laughing and proceed to make a joke about it. For example, when no one believed I was sick I sent a selfie of my swollen gremlin eye with Kleenex hanging out of my nose as proof. Bottom line, there is nothing humble or vague about it. It is very intentional. It also steals your mind from the present which is what we are told over and over again to embrace. Be honest with yourselves about this.
That being said, there is a time and a place for a selfie. And you at a table with your friends at Sunday brunch is not one of them. Maybe the first attempt but certainly not the 30th. It’s become obsessive. Do you wanna be the person taking 50 selfies in front of the Eiffel Tower or do you wanna be sitting on a bench drinking a latte and eating a croissant while admiring the culture around you with nothing but one of the world’s most iconic monuments in front of you? Think about it. I know I am because I am guilty as well. We all are.
And the thing is, it doesn’t matter how many selfies you take or how many ego boosting comments you receive under your picture or how many likes you get because at the end of the day when everyone is asleep, all you’re left with is your own thoughts which inevitably will always be your reality.
So ask yourself, what do you want people to see?