I Look Real Good… on Social Media

As I scroll through my Instagram account, I’m berated by beautiful pictures of well-behaved children gazed upon by their flawless looking mothers.  It’s all smiles and love, with hashtags like #lovethem and #perfectfamily.  Won’t lie… half those pictures are my own damn posts.  But as we know, social media sites allow us to share our most shareable moments while hiding our most embarrassing or depressing.  We are now even able to add filters to make our dark circles disappear and our skin look flawless.  I’m a frequent user of the “make-me-sexy” lens on Snapchat.  One slide of my finger and I look amazing.  Add that “flower-crown”thing and I’m straight out of a magazine.

For the sake of being transparent and (fingers crossed) entertaining, I thought I’d give you glance of my reality juxtaposition with my social media “perfect life”.Displaying IMG_2066.JPG

The three pics above were taken within minutes of one another, and holy, what a difference.  The one on the left gives the impression of amazingly clear and even skin, which I do not have.  My smile lines are diminished and the lighting even shouts “I’m so happy!”  I’m mid-makeover in the middle picture, and you guessed it… that’s me on the right, void of any filters, lenses, photoshopping or editing.  Wrinkly, greasy forehead and all!

Now look at those adorable kids below!  And yes, they are that adorable in real life, but they are hardly ever snuggling lovingly like that (there is that one MMA throw they do that kind of resembles a snuggle, but usually ends in screams and tears).


Do you realize the kind of parental work that was involved in capturing a moment like this?  This didn’t happen naturally.  I didn’t walk in on this display of sibling love.  I ordered it.  I traded cookies and Legos for a moment like this.  They were also confined to a playpen so I could ensure no running away or rolling out of camera view.  I don’t tend to go for the camera in the midst of one of their “his foot is touching me” fits, even though that is a more common moment than any display of brotherly affection.

They do love each other though… honest.

It’s easy for me to keep perspective now.  I’m 32 and in a happy relationship with very little to prove to very few.  I’m happy in my squishy, pock-marked skin.  It would be a different story if these apps were available when I was a teen.  I cared oh-so-much about what other people thought of me.  I’m not sure if at that age I would be able to differentiate real life and social media.  I feel for the kids out there today that have to navigate through an over-saturated social media  world while still dealing with being an awkward teenager.

Do you have a double-chin pic you accidentally took of yourself or a cute video of the kids that turned WWE?  Share or comment below with your most #unshareablemoment.


8 thoughts on “I Look Real Good… on Social Media

  1. I also feel for the kids out there today that have been raised with all these apps fixing up your face and just simply seeing yourself online all the time! I have to say that I have had a tendency to do the opposite of the trendy pics. Most of my pictures all have me with some sort of funny face: with the tongue stuck out, with a scary face, with an exaggerated expression. I am also guilty of wanting nice portraits of myself. However, I keep telling myself to be kind to my imperfections. I post those double chins, those too white legs, those zit covered cheeks and tired expressions. I also share so many smiles. My wish is that if people look back at these, including myself, they will think that I am exactly who I am in real life, with no shame. I remember last week I changed my profile picture to one with my newly adopted kitten on my shoulder. A few hours after, a friend writes to me saying that it was a really nice picture and the cat looked cute, but that I seriously looked exhausted on it. They asked me if I was ok. And, truthfully I wasn’t, and it felt good to have someone tell me that I looked pooey and that maybe I should rest and think of myself a little. I also didn’t mind having the world see that side of me, because people connect so much more through imperfection than perfect moments. However, I do have a lot of low self esteem days, seeing all the beautiful celebrities sharing their “natural daily moments”, and I do sometimes wish I could magically look that great, if only for a moment, if only in a picture. So, it does make me wonder how kids see themselves with all these apps and social media surrounding them from an early age.

  2. Your post sure made me laugh as i thought back to my own story about never letting a photo reach social media before it was retouched. I had just started the photography program at Algonquin 3 years ago and had to buy one of those $1200 cameras. I found out that I could photograph the Andromeda galaxy with it! So, i don’t know why i was so surprised when I started taking self-portraits with this camera and I was mortified to see the lines, and bumps and moles on my face that I didn’t know I had. That will teach me for spending that kind of money. I thank god that we learned photoshop in this certificate program because it does a better job at making me look 20 years younger than the $400 in facial creams i bought right after i saw how “awful” i looked. So, I never let a photo loose onto the internet without a bit of beautifying. I do have to say that the best portrait I put out into social media was one that was slightly out of focus. That’s how you get rid of wrinkles. Thanks for your post!

  3. I think most teens use their images as their personal brand. The teens I know are fully aware that few if any photos are ever viewed in their raw state, and most have a discerning enough eye to know what filter has been used to enhance an image and they don’t care. I think being able to control your own image is actually quite empowering and it allows them another avenue to express themselves creatively.

    • I think it can be fun to be in control of your own image online, but unfortunately in the real world, they can’t be in control. I think for some young people it could be difficult to confidently show the real you to people who have been viewing your online images before meeting face-to-face. I know that would be how I would feel, but maybe youth of today have a confidence that I always lacked.

  4. I have sooo many of those photos that we all think should never make it to our social media. But I’m also the girl who mostly posts the goofy face pics just to hide the fact that my smile is crooked. I’m not often very serious in them, but I am definitely guilty of using all those awesome filters on Instagram to make the lighting always just a little bit better. Even when those social media beauty campaigns go viral we always take time or 400 pictures to post of the naked beauty….I’m sure it is.

  5. In the era of perfection I think your blog and analysis of the ‘filter’ is very timely. It will be interesting to see, 10 years from now what we will take for granted as beautiful and normal. I’m not sure Dove’s campaign for real beauty can compete with the ‘fun’ filters via snap chat, instagram etc.

  6. I, like so many others had a tough time growing up. The kids would make it a point to let me know that I was different and that I was not as ‘cool’ as thy were. I had a hard time for a long time. I would spend endless nights crying myself to sleep, wondering why I was not good enough. This is not meant to be a sob post, I swear haha. But man, I can only imagine how hard it would be nowadays. Now kids have to contend with cyber bullies, they are bombarded with images that are fabricated but made to look authentic and real, leaving them to think ‘huh, why isn’t my life as good as theirs?’ If I had an inferiority complex back then, I can only imagine how difficult it would be growing up now. Thank you for sharing, it is good to have little reminders that what you see on social media, is a small, tiny, minute piece of reality.

  7. I have lots of unflattering photos of me and my children and am so happy that there is help out there to make us look good. Thanks for sharing Louise. I’m going to follow up with this.

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