Yesterday I had an epiphany. It involves my looks. It involves your looks. It involves how we all look like. First, the background story.
My mom once told me that I look good in my pictures. She let it hang there. She didn’t have to mention “…as opposed to in real life” after the statement for me to know what it meant. To look at the positive side, it means I am photogenic. And to look at the negative side, it means that my pictures are clearly deceiving and if you’ve seen only my pictures you’ll be left disappointed when you meet me. To look at the darker side, my mom, who’s supposed to love me for what I am, still feels I’m uglier outside of my pictures, to put it blandly. O-kay.
It is no news that almost everyone who’s got even an ounce of vanity in them wants to take great pictures of themselves. And why not. I’ve only heard of one exception where this girl from YouTube talked about how she puts not-so-good pictures in her Tinder so that when her match comes on a date with her, they would have a pleasant surprise. That’s easier said than done. First of all, she’s constantly in videos that are in public domain so she’s seen herself in motion more than enough to be comfortable in her skin. (There is no second of all because it’s a meme)
It should come as no surprise that not everyone is a photographer. When you ask someone to take a picture of you, they’ll click it and be done with it. It’s no concern of theirs whether we like it or not. I’ve got a friend who takes decent pictures and whenever I ask him to take a picture of me, he takes one, says “awesome’, quite pleased with himself and hands me back my smartphone (no one carries a camera everywhere). But then I have to ask him to take it one more time, and one more time, until I like any of it. Why would he be happy with the same picture while I am disappointed? Surely we’re looking at the same thing? At the same person? Because he seems to be okay with the way I look and I am not. Is it because I have high expectations about what I look like?
This is when the epiphany hit. I really do have unreal expectations about the way I look. But my friends are okay with my looks because they have seen me in every form. Sure, some pictures are great and everything but who am I kidding? Bad pictures don’t even stand a chance, given we discard them the moment they disappoint us. I mean why keep a reminder of how bad you can look? That being said, I don’t think we should restrict the definition of “how we look like” to just one form – one kind of smile, one side of our faces, one kind of hairstyle, one tilt of a head, one angle. We look different every time. Our expressions are multitudinous. Pictures capture only moments, and those moments, quite frankly are just fragments of what we look like, of what we are. I’m not suggesting you to throw caution to the wind and post whatever. I am a fan of everything beautiful. Sure, my definition of beautiful might be different than yours but you get what I mean. But I’ll respect you for sharing your not-the-best look either. Because you are much more than your best look.