Lately I had a couple of impromptu shots taken of me at the beach for fun, and told the photographer I would use them for my profile pictures on Facebook. But the photographer didn’t want me to use them until she had retouched them. We had a heated little discussion when I insisted that I wanted to post the photos as they were.
After all, it’s so easy. And everybody does it.
Seemingly “cruel” truths become apparent as we age. Will we keep scrubbing away our defects in photographs, or finally make peace with ourselves as we are, recognizing that each wrinkle is earned and simply becomes a part of our authentic beauty?
I’ve been shocked before to meet personalities whose “promo shots” I’ve seen, only to find that they look twenty years older in person. But I recognize that now almost every photo has been manipulated somehow. Many celebrities don’t look like themselves at all. And it is no small issue that our children have access to the same technology to remake themselves virtually.
It isn’t real.
The pressure of perfection is too great, too passing. If the barn needs paint—well, okay, I get it. But a lot of weathered barns look beautiful, too.
I am more than my skin. So are you. We learn to work with what we have physically, and to nurture the beauty that is within, that truly defines us. Otherwise we become caricatures of ourselves. I don’t want to be a cartoon.
I want always to be able to look at an unretouched photo of myself and like it. I might have to look some shots for a while to convince myself, but I welcome that exercise. I learn as I adjust to my aging physical body, and find new wonder, new assets. Isn’t that a freedom—a truth—worth fighting for?