Photoshop Rehab: An Exercise In Self Acceptance
For years simply refused to be photographed. I would see pictures of myself, and react by going on a tangent about what I hated about my self. For example I complained about my unsightly facial hair (the result my battle with PCOS) and my skin discoloration caused from waxing and plucking the annoying hairs. Then there was fact that I always thought I looked “too fat”. So it’s safe to say me and the camera were NOT friends.
I suppose my big shift came the first time I had a professional photo shoot. I simply LOVED how I looked at the right angle, with the right makeup and lighting. Hey, I was HOT STUFF!, check out the image below.
That did it, I was addicted to looking glamorous. Whenever I was photographed, I practiced my stand, my smile, my facial expressions, etc. I took vigorous mental notes until I knew EXACTLY how to get the “glamor shots” effect in most of my pictures. When I started out on social media a few years back, I never posted a picture that wasn’t Photoshopped, cropped or edited to perfection. But that was before cell phone cameras and selfies became so doggone popular. Throw in social media outlets like Facebook and Instagram and there became a constant demand to “see what you’re up to now”.
As cell phones and photo editing apps gained momentum, I started to use filters and effects to create polished photos that I could post online. But there was still one problem, when I removed all the make up, filters, photo editing and effects, I still wasn’t totally happy with my appearance. That’s when I made a crucial decision. I wanted to learn to accept myself WITH my flaws, while I worked to correct them. It’s true, I could work on accepting myself WHILE being more patient with myself about the things I wanted to change.
OPERATION SELF ACCEPTANCE:
So a little over a year ago I started laser hair removal courtesy of Ideal Image of Atlanta. Then I found a great esthetician to help with the skin discoloration (LaTonya Milling of Laciana Beauty Studio). Finally I found a personal trainer (T. Roberts) to help me get in optimum shape. Now that I had a plan for self improvement, I needed to work on the self acceptance part.
A couple months ago without explanation I started posting images and videos of my “unaltered” self. No make-up, no filters, glamor whatsoever. There were a few people that made comments like “I’m not brave enough to post photos with no make up on”. Now this could be taken as a backhanded compliment or as a statement of admiration. I decided it didn’t matter either way. You see, I didn’t post the pictures for other people, I posted them for me! It was an exercise in self acceptance.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not one of those chicks that can’t even go to the gas station without lip gloss, but I certainly don’t like taking pictures without being “done all up”. You see, I am very, very particular about my public image. But I have come to realize that just because my image is public doesn’t mean it has to be perfect. In fact I believe it’s just the opposite. Showing other people that I’m not always “picture perfect” gives them permission to show up with their own imperfections and expect acceptance. I believe this would be an amazing world if we were all just a little bit more tolerant and accepting of each other’s differences and flaws.
Jai Stone (The Emotional Nudist)