I absolutely adore Instagram.
Except when I start seeing all these “perfect” looking people looking slim and tanned as they dreamily look out towards the ocean or stand in a field full of flowers.
And then I look at photos of me with my hair in a boring ponytail, looking all puffy and pudgy and I start thinking things like, “Why didn’t I angle myself better so I look slimmer?” or “Why did I wear these hideous looking shorts that are baggy on me?” or “Why didn’t I style my hair more nicely?”
It gets even worse when I think things to myself like, “I wish I was slimmer”, “I wish I had straight teeth so I could smile with my mouth open”, “I wish my nose wasn’t so big”.
After a good long walk up Mt Coot Tha the previous Sunday morning with my housemate, I asked him to take a photo of me with the brilliant view out to the coast of Brisbane.
I personally hated the result but I wasn’t going to tell him to keep taking photos of me until I looked good. It would have only annoyed him.
So I accepted the photo for what it was. And pondered for a good hour as to whether or not to post it on Instagram.
I mean I was so proud of having made it to the top, I had to share the achievement with everyone, even if I didn’t quite look like a super model by the end of it.
So I decided to say, “Stuff it!” and posted it even if I didn’t look my best because I am a fan of documenting and sharing my adventures with everyone so that they too may feel inspired to get out there and get living.
A few weeks back, I had a work colleague take a photo of me at Bondi Beach. It was a crazy windy day so my hair which was out was flying all over the place and my shirt sleeves were flying all over the place and maybe I didn’t look perfect but it was still a photo of me visiting Bondi for the first time, so again I said “Stuff it!” and posted it on Instagram.
Quite frankly, I think it’s high time we embraced the beauty in everyone in all their different shapes and sizes.
But more importantly, we’re overdue to start embracing the beauty in ourselves.
Sure, it’s nice to look at someone with toned bodies and golden skin but I am more drawn to things like the life and laughter in one’s eyes or the way their hair might change colour in the sunlight or the wideness of their smile. Or the freckles on their cheeks. To me, that’s real beauty.
Our flaws only add to our beauty so let’s embrace these instead of trying to hide them from the world.
Yes, it’s nice to feel beautiful/hot/drop dead gorgeous and get plenty of attention but I’d much rather be loved for my flaws.
Below is a selfie I took a few months ago. I positioned myself in front of my bedroom window so as to get really good lighting. I was wearing a lot of foundation and red lip stick. I angled my face so as to look as slim as possible. When I saw the result I thought I was a babe.
When my sister saw it, she said I looked like a vampire.
Interesting how different people have different views on beauty.
I rarely take selfies any more. Mainly because I haven’t dressed up enough to make it worth my while. Also I’d much rather get taken of myself actually doing things like climbing mountains and going to touristy beaches in work clothes.
As part of this quest towards self-acceptance and self-love I’ve also come to another realisation that as long as I am healthy, eating balanced, keeping active, looking after myself and surrounding myself with good, positive, like-minded people then I am doing OK.
And I think the same should go for everyone.
I go walking everyday – in the mornings and during my lunch breaks. I take my vitamins. I drink my spearmint tea. I drink plenty of water. I cook nourishing meals and try and take my lunch to work almost everyday. I have just signed up to play soccer and so I train once a week. I look after my skin. I moisturise. I’m starting to make new friends and keep in regular contact with all my other friends. I don’t smoke. I get 7 to 8 hours sleep each night.
Maybe I still drink a little too much and maybe tonight I had an epic fail and ate an entire packet of crackers (gluten-free if that makes me feel better) and maybe I should start doing more ab work and get back into doing the exercises my physio gave me for my back and neck everyday and maybe I should start meditating and spend less time on my phone.
The point is I’m not perfect, but I’m doing my best.
And when I post photos of me looking pudgy and puffy on social media, I want the world to know that this is me, imperfections and all but doing my best.