When I released my blog post 30 days of beautiful: waterfalls, my blog shot to over 200 views. I haven’t gotten over 200 views in a day for a post since my post “Three reasons I’ve decided I don’t like AmeriCorps.” I felt uncomfortable with this because I knew something the average viewer didn’t know: The pictures in the post were photoshopped. When we were doing the photoshoot, I laughed and told my friend Kimberly, “Just be sure to photoshop my zits out of this picture.” Acne, ugh. She satisfied my request and there I appeared with flawless skin.
Since then I’ve thought — I am part of the problem.
When I was studying abroad in France in 2009, there was debate about whether or not advertisements should include disclaimers when photoshop had been used on the photographs. In France, ads for junk food already included a disclaimer that essentially states, “Foods with too much salt, fat, and sugar are bad for you.” In 2009, they were considering posting a similar disclaimer on photoshopped images so viewers would be knowledgeable about the reality behind the advertisement.
So, as I thought about my discomfort, I thought about how to remedy it. I woke up this morning, started a load of laundry, Skyped with my sister and brother-in-law who live in Abu Dhabi, then went for a run. I never put on make up, but when I came back from my run, sweaty and with a face full of physical “flaws,” I thought, now is the time I am real. I took a few pictures and said, this is me real. Like when Britney Spears posted a before and after of her un-photoshopped images online–
We are not flawless but human –
SO, I wear cover-up? A lot of people do. It’s not the question of whether or not we wear make-up but whether or not we’re honest about ourselves and love and accept the way we are. I am not ashamed that I have a few patches of bad skin. In fact, I felt so uncomfortable that people would believe I am perfect because they saw photoshopped pictures of me that I knew I needed to do something to remind people that no one is perfect. We are a broken people in a sea of survival. Nothing is perfect– don’t believe or trust or limit yourself to what you see online or in media. You are flawless and beautiful just because you exist. I love you for it; don’t change. Celebrate your skin and lungs and liver and kidneys and brain and everything, especially your smile and your life.