Monday, January 27, 2014

Mona Lisa Selfies

I've been waiting for something that struck me as worthy of writing another blog post and tonight I found it.  My cousin Michelle linked to this on Facebook.

I had so many emotions as I watched it that I could barely finish it.

You see, I am 100% guilty of this.  I've known it for a long time but I wasn't brave enough to do anything about it.

I am a Selective Selfie Taker.  I am that girl that takes ten selfies at ten different angles until I find The One that I am happy with the world seeing.  The one that in no way portrays what I actually look like in real life on a daily basis.  I'm the girl that crops the picture in close to hide my double chin and wide face.  I'm the girl that doesn't smile with my teeth showing in pictures because it seems to double the size of my face.  Also, my open-mouthed smile is crooked, something I never noticed until recent years.  And I think it looks like I've recently had dental work and am waiting for the numbness to wear off.  And I hate it.  And that's really sad, because I smile with my teeth showing, all day long, every day.  Nothing held back, just a big ol' grin to whoever makes me smile.  I'm a very smiley person.  And I don't think about my face looking distorted then. 

  Non-Selective Selfie, 
no filter

Only when I see it staring back at me in a picture do I hurriedly delete it in disgust and try again, this time with my mouth closed, a la Mona Lisa, which changes me from happy-go-lucky Alicia to I'm-a-little-too-cool-for-all-this Alicia.  And I'm not too cool for anything.  Except having a lopsided smile, apparently.

  Mona Lisa Smile,

Mona Lisa Smile

Mona Lisa Smile,

Do you think anyone has ever looked at Mona Lisa and said, "Man, she looks like she was one happy chick."?  I'd wager not.  Based on these pictures, you'd think I was miserable, or at the very least, apathetic.  And I am neither.

Do you know how many pictures I've taken with family members with the intent of posting to Instagram and Facebook that never made it past my phone?

This one
(no makeup) 

This one
(no makeup)

And the most painful of all to reveal, this one.

I don't want to be that person. I don't want to be the girl that hides her true self and only shows the world what she wants them to see.  But in a world that demands perfection and defines beauty as something that is, for 90% of the human population, unattainable, it's dang hard to not be that girl.  And the worst part? The worse part is that I have a twelve year old daughter who already has to approve any picture I take of her before it can go on Instagram.  As painful as this is for me to see happening, how could I fault her for it when I do exactly the same thing?  I get it.  Believe me, I get it.

But have I taught her this somehow?  Did she learn this from me?  The thought never occurred to me until watching the video above.  Have I inadvertently taught her that she is anything but beautiful inside and out in every way, shape, and form?  Looking back, I probably have, and I can't bear the thought.

So I vow to no longer be a Selective Selfie Taker.  I vow to not be that girl anymore.  I vow to portray myself exactly as I am, fat-faced, crooked-smiled, no makeup, and....beautiful.  I will use less filters.  I will take one picture of myself and post that picture, no matter what it looks like.  I invite you to do the same.  I will teach my daughter that beauty doesn't come in a filter and a carefully posed shot.  That it comes in all her imperfections and distinct characteristics; her laughter, and her smile.  Especially her smile.  Because Mona Lisa ain't got nothing on her smile.


Em and Ms said...

I love those pictures of you with your kids. You look happy, and beautiful! Thanks for sharing this.

Shayla said...

We always see the worst in ourselves when we look at a picture, when all I see when I look at all of your pictures is happiness and beauty. Thanks for the reminder. I'm guilty of this, as well.

Bobbi Jo Eslick said...

Alicia I just found your blog I was trying to figure out what happened with the burglery...then I was led to such an honest post that blessed me and made me smile! Living in a world that has a distorted view and concept of true beauty is a daily battle. Fighting the urge to conform and having peace that we are true victory. You are beautiful girly. Bobbi~