A few weeks ago I decided to run an experiment. I used myself as the Guinea Pig.
I wanted to see whether or not we really are moving forward and embracing people for who they are, or whether we still prefer the edited and filtered version that is most appealing and “cute” to the eye.
I first posted a photo of myself, makeup free, hair not done, just sitting like a bum on my day bed staring out the window like a usually do on a lazy Sunday afternoon.
I captioned it “Funny how it’s photos like these that are the hardest to embrace”.
I said that because it is true. It is hard to look at a non-primped version of yourself and accept that that is what you really look like when you are confronted by images in the media that are always on point and celebrities who appear to be slaying 24/7.
Expectations become unrealistic and so looking at a raw photo of yourself can be cringe worthy. So you pick yourself apart because who better to be your own worst enemy than yourself!
I posted the photo to Instagram and to Facebook and waited for the responses.
29 likes on Instagram (I’m not Nick Bateman ok…I don’t have that many followers) and 51 likes on Facebook later, I was actually pretty surprised with the response. I really didn’t think the reaction would be so positive so I was quite taken aback by the love and support and the high fives for posting me as I am when nobody is looking.
Lots of kind words were said and it was refreshing and encouraging.
My next step was to test the waters with an edited photo where I tweaked my skin tone, smoothed out some imperfections and ensured the pose was one of those cutesy AF types that makes girls with self respect cringe (look it happened guys….I’m not gonna say I hated doing it….but I’m not gonna say I’m ashamed either…lol).
I captioned it according to my upcoming leave from work and it was a little sassy to match the pose.
33 likes on Instagram and 54 likes on Facebook later, I realised there wasn’t much of a difference in reaction to either picture.
Both received a similar amount of traffic.
Both received a similar amount of interaction.
Both received a similar amount of love.
My conclusion…..nobody actually gives a sh*t.
Now I don’t mean that in a bad way at all!
Basically I found that whether I was being myself or being the airbrushed 2.0 version of myself, the same people still gave love and still gave a thumbs up because it wasn’t about what they were looking at….it was about me.
They interacted because of who I am not what I looked like in the pictures.
That is what counts to me more than anything.
I’ve seen the ugly side of the internet and I’ve experienced it.
It wasn’t easy to deal with and it was hard to get to a point where I felt comfortable putting myself out there again on many levels, not just photograph wise but blog wise. It was actually my first ever blog and twitter account that were attacked repeatedly by an individual some years ago and so for a long time I stepped away and didn’t engage on that kind of a platform. At the time it just wasn’t worth it.
But I grew and I moved forward and I’m no longer discouraged.
This little experiment helped reiterate for me that not everyone is toxic and not everyone expects the polished veneer to be in place all the time.
It helped remind me that it is more important to work on being beautiful on the inside.
The more you show who you are, the more beautiful you will be to yourself and to others.
You create beauty with your attitude, your actions and your behaviour.
Be the best possible version of yourself.