The Trouble With Picture Perfect

 picture perfect

I squealed when i stumbled on the pictures. It was an unmarked CD scratched so badly, I was surprised my computer read it.

I hurriedly picked some pictures, uploaded them and tagged a couple of friends who were either in the picture or would ‘get’ what they represented. The comments poured in and we  teased and yabbed ourselves, having a good time, or so I thought until I got a distraught phone call. Men…was she upset? The pictures were dated so let’s just say we could have looked better 🙂

In my haste to rekindle memories, I hadn’t stopped to consider the implication of that seemingly innocent action. Because I had no qualms sharing how I looked before the good lord had mercy and blessed me with some flesh didn’t mean others were comfortable sharing too.

With a tinge of sadness, I took down the pictures. I felt bad; bad because I knew her distress had to do with how she wanted to be perceived. They told a story of a less than perfect past she’d rather leave alone.

Forgive me but I kept thinking why the heck not? I didn’t think she owed anyone an explanation… I mean, my story is my story. Am I supposed to be sorry or ashamed it weren’t different? Those who matter shouldn’t mind and that’s all that should matter, right?

I remember my sister telling me of a roommate of hers in school who applied makeup before going to bed and slept with a mirror under her pillow. At the salon where I make my hair, a guy walked in 15 minutes after I did and left a few minutes before my hair was done. We both spent about 3 hours in the salon; I understand there’s an increasing number of metrosexuals around but boy, I became officially worried after that incident.

You may be doing yourself in, in your haste to portray picture perfect: Immaculately applied make up, the trendiest clothes and gadgets, perching on the latest cars with a castle in the background as the wind gently teases your Mongolian weave. Carry go; nothing do you! It’s what makes news on social media these days…

While it seems like harmless fun, something unpleasant is happening underneath all of this. We are becoming a self-conscious, shallow and materialistic generation fixated on the end and not the means. There’s a sick competitiveness to show who has better, drives better, wears better, travels better. To what end, I really can’t tell from where I’m sitting.

When our sense of worth, popularity and relevance is tied to external, material things and whether or not we appear better than the next person; when how we are perceived is more important than whether what is perceived is true or false, then Houston, we’ve got a problem. No amount of money or designer clothes can fix a poor self-image. No matter how hard we try, we are who we are. Even if we sell the persona, it is the real person we’ll have to live with daily. Any dissonance between the two will only fuel turmoil and perpetual discomfort.

No one is wired to be on point 24.7. It’s too much work and takes the joy out of being human. We fart, belch, snore and drool…keep quiet for too long and your mouth begins to stink, it doesn’t matter if all your teeth are encased in gold. That’s just the way it is.

I’m not here to tell anyone how to live but there’s more to life than the here and now and this sad obsession with what people say or think about you. It will help to keep that in perspective.

And on those days you feel less than picture perfect, visit a General Hospital, the Emergency Center to be precise. Its the quickest way to remember the things that are truly important.

©Naomi Lucas

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