My new obsession is InstagramReality on Reddit. I am the one who can’t notice photoshopping and filters unless they’re extremely obvious (looking at you, girls, who have wavy railings behind you).
I was disenchanted recently to realize that someone I know (whose Instagram feed is always body/mentally/spiritually positive, who I respect because of her authenticity) uses a face filter. I was also disenchanted to realize that I have very few pictures of myself with my kids because I don’t like how I look in photos. The ones I am okay with have someone strategically placed in front of my stomach.
Not a secret to those close to me that I struggle with my body image, like a lot of women. I do what I consider “normal” things for a woman my age- I religiously color my hair, I have an extensive collection of shapewear, and recently got sucked into the world of researching boob tape (check it out, or don’t if you feel like passing on a rabbit hole).
I think about my body a lot- when I’m eating, when I’m having a dance party with the kids and can only concentrate on what jiggles that isn’t supposed to, when I look at the mountain of clothes on my closet floor- clothes I’ve put on and immediately taken off.
I shouldn’t be the mean girl to myself. But of course I am.
My body has been through a lot, but it’s also forty years old. Three pregnancies, three c-sections. The same 30lbs that I’ve lost and gained over and over. Surgically induced menopause. Thyroid issues, a desk job.
I’ve waxed, lasered, peeled, exfoliated, tanned (shudder, what the Hell was I thinking when I was 19???), injected.
Am I trying to filter myself without an app? Probably.
I’m not alone in any of this.
Instead of taking a dozen pictures of myself and finding one that’s just ok, I took one. It’s a few days before my hair appointment. I got caught in the rain. I do have makeup on, but it was a special occasion only a few hours before. But, it’s me, for real.
If pictures and memories are what we all will be someday, I want my children to see I wasn’t afraid of a full body snapshot. They won’t look at me one day and focus on a muffin top or a double chin. They’ll see their mom smiling because she’s with them.
There is no photoshopping happiness, or a big gulp of courage before attempting bravery and ownership of oneself. It’s not confidence. It’s making peace with yourself at some point.
I’m getting there with myself, despite the gray roots. I want children by my side instead of in front. That’s maturity and a sign of a life well lived, even if that life is thirty pounds extra.
I don’t want patronizing, empty words. I want to just know inside I’m ok with who I am.
How’s that for Instagram reality?