notquiteold

Nancy Roman

Looking Like Myself While Searching for Myself

Lately I have been bombarded on Instagram with ads for apps to photoshop my selfies.

I love selfies. I admit it.

Although I will also admit that I like them much much better when I look nice.

One day late last summer we took the dog to the beach, and he was so adorable. I was snapping pics with my phone like crazy. Of course, in the bright sunlight I couldn’t see what I was shooting. When we went back to the car and I got a look at my photos, I was appalled to find that I had inadvertently flipped the camera around, and I had 47 shots of me, not the dog. And although I was laughing and delighted at the dog’s antics, happiness and delight was not what I looked liked. No. Nope. Sorry. What I looked like was:

Wacky.

I was mugging and grinning like an idiot  as I encouraged my pooch. I suppose I should have saved at least one of them so I could illustrate my complete goofiness. No. Nope. Sorry. I couldn’t delete those 47 photos fast enough.

I recognize that sometimes I look good and sometimes I look awful. And that people looking at me see both. But I have convinced myself that, since I am my own worst critic, my friends and family mostly see me as I am in my best photos. And if I destroy the evidence that sometimes I look unstellar, I can be content with my looks.

Which brings me back to photoshop apps.

The latest technology is incredibly robust. We are no longer talking about retouching. More like re-mauling.

We are not talking about blurring out a blemish. We are talking about turning your skin into glowing alabaster. You can change your hair both color and style and thickness. You can change your eye color and add liner and lashes. You can plump up you lips and lengthen your neck.

But even though I am desperate to look beautiful in photographs, what I really want is not to look beautiful, but to BE beautiful.

By this I mean – I want to look like myself.

I want to look as beautiful as possible, but I want to be considered beautiful for what I actually look like. Not for some superimposed technology.

We already have impossible standards of beauty.  Idealized versions that are getting more unobtainable every day.

We are never enough.

Even a woman as amazingly beautiful as Scarlett Johansson. Her photos get retouched because in this world her amazing beauty is not quite amazingly beautiful enough.

scarlettjo

 

Which Scarlett should a teenage girl aspire to look like?

How about this one?

scarlett-johansson-nomakeup

Impossible standards are just that – impossible. Trying to look like a movie star – who doesn’t even really look like the photo you are looking at – well, that is as self-destructive as whacking yourself with a pretty stick.

So photoshopping my selfies?

If it is depressing to compare myself to unrealistic Hollywood standards, I can just imagine how depressing it would be if the unrealistic standard was a phony picture of myself. I may understand why I can’t look as good as a movie star, but when I can’t even look as good as ME??? Why, every time I looked in the mirror I would cry.

Not measuring up to myself? WTF?

I don’t want to be a picture of myself to be better than the real thing.

I have no problem with fixing a stray hair. Or wearing a little (or more) makeup. Or taking pictures when the lighting is flattering.

But artificially making myself more beautiful than I am?

Well. I think I am beautiful enough.

annotated me

me perfect

 

 

42 Comments

  1. In my eyes, you are perfect, just like your doggie said. I do wear more makeup now and when I had professional headshots taken recently for my author website I had a professional hair and makeup person do the honors, but I still l look like me in those photos. Oh! And I get my eyebrows waxed every 5 weeks. That’s my treat to myself and I purchase a package of 4 and get the 5th one free! At only $20 per appointment, I consider that a good investment in my self-worth. Check out my photos on my site: http://www.irenefrancesolson.com

    Like

    • Your site is beautiful – and so are you!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Thanks, Nancy, for everything! My site is a work in progress and I’m doing it all on my own … so far. Once I have my book cover designed, I’ll post it on the Home page.

        Like

  2. jono51

    Your dog has the right attitude. I took a selfie with my dslr a couple of years ago. I had a weird smirk and decided it would be a long time before I tried it again.

    Like

    • The nice thing about cell phone cameras is that you can take 100 shots to get a good one. Just delete the bad ones. And the more selfies you take, the better you get at it – you understand better what’s your best smile, what to do with your eyes, how to hold your neck etc…. and that means that you aren’t just better at selfies – the photos other people take of you will start to look nicer too. Not that you aren’t adorable the way you are!

      Like

  3. What a lovely post and you definitely do not need to edit your photos, you’re beautiful as you are!

    Like

    • Thank you…. I think the world would be a much better place if we all knew that we were beautiful.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Christine

    Except for basic haircuts, I have avoided getting my hair or makeup done professionally for many years, because even if I look really good afterwards, I feel uncomfortable because I don’t look like me.

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    • I love makeup…. for me, it’s just great fun. But everyone should be comfortable with what works for them.

      Like

  5. I agree with the dog.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Nice post. You can be sure that you’re really beautiful and your dog is also cute 🙂

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    • My dog is so cute, every photo with him makes ME look better too.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I suck at taking a selfie, just saying, you however, look pretty good

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    • Play around with selfies… you can always delete.

      Like

  8. Ray G

    Though I understand the thread/gist of this latest blog, I simply must mention that a stand-alone camera, no matter how inconvenient or hassle-prone, is MUCH more advisable than using one’s cellphone. Upload only when ready.
    And Scarlett always is gorgeous (to me). Wonder if in the next decades she will age as well as possible.

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    • As a straight woman, I have to say that Scarlett Johansson is the most beautiful actress in film today.

      Like

  9. Dogs know the truth. You are perfect
    (and I hate to not know I’ve flipped the camera and end up with selfies unaware!)

    Like

    • An alarm should go off in bright sunlight to warn you that you have made a horrible mistake.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Reblogged this on World4Justice : NOW! Lobby Forum..

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  11. Very well written and I agree totally!
    (AND you are beautiful:-))
    Best,

    Charlotte

    Like

    • Thank you, Charlotte!

      Like

  12. my30somethingadventures

    I love this! We are bombarded with images of celebrities looking ‘perfect’ and then feel negative with ourselves for being real. I rarely buy magazines these days because it is just photoshopped pics and adverts for things we don’t need.
    Beautifully written – love the 47 selfies 🙂

    Like

    • Thanks, we are shown artificial perfection and then we feel bad when we cannot achieve the unachievable.

      Liked by 1 person

  13. Thank you for this post! I think there is a terrible amount of pressure these days to present ourselves as perfect and beautiful, and that’s so harmful.

    Like

    • Thanks, Ann. I really believe that we should recognize that all of us have sufficient beauty.

      Like

  14. There’s nothing worse than an accidental flip of that phone camera. For some reason, I need to brace myself for that face-to-face with myself moment. Probably dumb, but true.

    Like

    • No kidding…. oh my god, unintended selfies were created to make sure we don’t get TOO narcissistic!

      Like

  15. inspiring. i really enjoyed reading this and reevaluating some aspects of my self esteem. also, beautifully written!

    Like

    • Thank you. Your self esteem can be so damaged when you are told by society that you are not beautiful enough… but there is no “enough” – you are beautiful.

      Liked by 1 person

  16. I love to take selfies but never forgetting that I love myself the way I am
    Amazing post

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  17. you are really beautiful :)I am affected with psoriasis so how much I may try I cannot look beautiful as you:)

    Like

    • I’m so sorry. That must be very hard. I am not perfect – I have scoliosis, and my crooked back has caused me to feel very bad about myself at times. But I try to concentrate on the things that I can love about myself. Sometimes it is difficult to get past our shortcomings. Keep trying though – it is worth it. You are beautiful enough for the world to accept, and for you to accept.

      Like

      • Thnx for giving me inspiration:)i am too sorry for you:) anyways pls read my first story

        Like

        • Thank you. I read your story and it is quite charming.

          Liked by 1 person

          • Thank you so much:)

            Like

  18. Loved reading this article! I am soon going to turn 18 and i think now i wont keep any photo editing apps in my smartphone 😀 ! Thank You. Would be amazing if you could have a look at some of my articles 🙂

    Like

  19. I love this!! The line ‘but when I can’t even look like me?’ got me. Stay blessed and beautiful 💓

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  20. Fab article. I worry constantly about the pressure my daughters will face as they grow up and I really just want to keep them grounded in reality. Even then, I have to admit I’m prone to the odd filter here and there! Let us girls get better at celebrating being beautiful enough.

    Like

  21. Love it! self acceptance in action

    Like

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