Never have I ever posted a selfie without any kind of filters on. I have never.
If you are among those amazing people who can without any hesitation show their bare face to the world of social media – I envy you.
As a girl who could never learn how to put on makeup, and has a face full of acne scars, my Instagram rarely showcases my selfies. And when it does, it always comes with Snapchat filters applied. I like those that specifically turn my wide nose (which has always been my biggest insecurity) narrower and sleek, not to forget how my face can look glossy and sculpted. Ah! The wonders of filters!
My face gets all scrunched up anytime someone takes out their camera and tries to click a picture with the real lens. I want lenses that have a spell of beauty on them. Lenses that are determined to show me how every ugly feature of mine could be changed. So whenever there’d be a shoot with me as the center subject, I would have my most awkward, uncomfortable expression put on. In group photos, I would just zoom into my face to a point that it looked disoriented, and I’d simply get to the conclusion that I was the ugliest one present there.
But then came the candid shots, some that my sisters and my best friends took. They would show me reflections of myself; laughing, in complete awe while petting a dog, zoning off, twirling, just me being myself. I noticed how an HD image where I froze to give the best expression I could was nothing compared to the blurry images of me being my frisky, clumsy self. It struck me how images could not capture the way I perked up seeing my friends, the way I’d act all cute sometimes and get so mad, the others. The photographs would be there as a reminder of a time that passed, but they’d never define who I am in a complete self.
The people who are with me, who love me, do not see me with filters. They choose to be around me and call me beautiful despite all the features that I’m insecure about. In fact, they have seen me at my worst; right after a breakdown, all sick and swollen in the hospital bed, hungover and dehydrated, you name it!
It took me a while, but I try to keep myself reminded how people around you don’t love you for your filters, and you don’t love them for theirs. And it’s okay, it’s okay if you want a pretty picture for Instagram and take your selfies with filters on. It’s just that I’ve chosen to not distract my sight anymore. I want to see myself the way my dog sees me when she comes and licks my face all over. I want to see how I look at my most real, raw, most authentic self and I want to embrace myself that way because real life does not come with filters. Also, I’ve begun smiling my real smile for pictures and not the awkward-Chandler face.