Tuesday, August 27, 2013

an instagram filter of ourselves

Let me preface by saying that I Instagram, and I Instagram a lot. I edit my photos and put them through these magical filters that instantly make me or whatever I’m posting better and more vibrant. Heck, I even do it with my blog. It’s a simple part of this wonderful technology we've been privileged to have as millennials. We all joke about how everything looks better with an Instagram filter: it makes you skinnier, tanner, prettier, etc. I’m guilty of it! I laugh looking back at some of my spring break pictures where it was pretty clear that there was a filter in use to help my pasty white skin look a little...bronzer. We look in awe and bewilderment at pictures with #NoFilter, because it’s become a norm that if you post a pretty picture on the Insta, it most definitely has a filter. And if it doesn’t, then whoopdee doo, you are now either a) naturally gorgeous or b) an amazing photographer (and everyone's super jealous of you).
An Instagram photo of mine that is clearly not #NoFilter

Someone I follow on Twitter even joked the other day that when you see a girl in real life that you’re used to seeing in super-edited Instagram photos, it’s the biggest letdown. We even joke that we wish we could walk around with an Instagram filter on!
But the other day, I was looking through some pictures from the summer and was trying to find a good one to post. Getting a little frustrated at the fact that it looked like my eyes were closed in all of them, I thought, “If only there were a filter that could make my eyes look bigger and my mouth smaller.”

And then I stopped right there.

WHAT?!

How on earth would there be a filter to resize my eyes and smile? Is this what it’s come to? Wishing that there were a filter to try to prove to my Instagram followers that I didn’t, in fact, have small eyes? Most everyone that follows me knows that I laugh a lot. I smile a lot. And when I do, I am most likely squinting and have my abnormally large gums protruding. So why I was I concerned with trying to filter out something that is so true to myself?

It made me think of how we’re all trying to constantly ‘put a filter on it’.

Yes, we’ve all seen the Dove beauty commercial, bashed Victoria’s Secret angels, critiqued photography and magazines for using photoshop and not portraying ‘real women’. We use these terms ‘media’ and ‘society’ so frequently to describe things that are 'fake'. But how can we expect this so-called ‘society’ to stop changing photos if that’s what we, functioning members of society, do every single day on Instagram?

It’s more than just print ads of flawless models. It’s about how we try to convey a different person than who we are.

We’ve all heard some of these phrases a million times. As a girl, I’ve heard them a billion times. I’ll be honest about it, too, I roll my eyes a little bit each time I do hear it. Not because there’s no meaning behind it, but because these words have become trite cliches, almost to the point of where they don’t feel real anymore.

1. “Love yourself for who you are.”
2. “Don’t change for anyone.”
3. “Your imperfections are beautiful and what make you you.”
4. “If someone doesn’t like you for who you are, forget about them.”

They’ve lost their meaning because they seem to be overused. But could it be that they’re overused because they’re...

...TRUE?

Thinking back on my dilemma of small eyes and a big smile, I thought, forget about it. This is what God gave me and I love it. I’ve tried to think about it for everything about myself, not just my eyes and smile. I was given big hips that may or may not come with big thighs. I was given a great height that may or may not be annoying when everyone jokes that you’ll “never find a guy tall enough”.

But you know what? I can’t change those things about myself...and why should I?

If we go around acting like we need to change who we are for what we think others want us to be, we’ve lost who we are.

It’s not even about our looks, it can be about our personality. There are so many things about myself that others may not like, but that I love. For one, I love monograms. I know others don’t, but monograms make me happy, so why should I worry what they think? I’m proud of the decisions I’ve made, the religion I practice, the school I go to, the state I live in, and the way I dress because they’re what make me happy and they’re what make me Meredith Scroggin.


Worried about how I was being portrayed in a certain situation, I was talking to a good friend about it. I started blabbering on and on about what other people thought of me, and he stopped me. He said, “You know, I could let a lot of things that people have said to me get to me. Heck, I’d be in years of therapy if I did. The way I think about it, we’re going to grow up and there are going to be bosses and coworkers that we have to deal with and that we may not particularly like. But if we let that get to us, we haven’t done anything with our adolescent lives. If you’re doing what you love and loving what you do and it makes you happy, don’t worry about it.”

I am a happy person. I do what I love and I love what I do. There are people in my life that may not care for what I stand for, but there are people that love and support me because the things that I love are what make me me.

So I’m not worrying about it and I’m not putting an Instagram filter on myself. I don't want to sound redundant or like the generations above us that critique new technology, because I use it a TON. I have nothing against editing your pictures, either. I just think it's something important to note: Yes, I will continue to put filters on my real pictures, but trust me, I won’t be obsessing over a filter that could fix my gummy smile or my love of monograms anymore.

(#NoFilter)
with much love,
Meredith

3 comments:

  1. This is absolutely fabulous, Meredith! I have such small eyes too, and always feel self-conscious about them in my pictures! You've helped me to realize that there's no reason to filter out what God has blessed me with! Many thanks!

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    Replies
    1. Thank you so much, Melissa, it means a lot!

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