This weekend our family went to look at homes a few hours from where we currently live. We are exploring our possibilities after Todd retires in a few years. We scouted out a few areas where we found homes that looked promising for our family. We booked an Airbnb in the community to get a feel for it. Well, Airbnb was just as described. The home was as expected, which was a refreshing change. Everything we see: people, places, and homes for sale appear to be edited and photoshopped until some are unrecognizable. Where does it end? Does it ever?
I may edit a photo to enlarge or make it brighter, but I do not alter my home (or my face and body) for an image. I may try to use the best angle, but if I post something—what you see is what you get. When did our world become so fake? How do we make it stop? I get it. We want things to look nice. I work for a graphic design firm, and our company makes things look good. They make the product or website look pleasing. When the finished product is completely altered, far enough that you do not even recognize it when seen in reality, haven’t we gone too far?
I follow some people on social media that could walk up to me and say hello, and I would not recognize them. It bothers me. I know we want things and ourselves to be aesthetically pleasing, but to what degree and what is the cost? Do we smooth out every flaw and imperfection and put a perfect “Avatar” of ourselves into the world?
Last night when Todd and I reflected on the homes we visited, we were upset. Todd was angry that the homes we scoured on Zillow, and drove two hours to see, did not remotely reflect reality. I know home staging and photography are big businesses. It can help increase profit on a home. I understand the value, but I also know that Todd and I spent 48 hours looking at properties we never would have visited if they were represented honestly on the website. If the descriptions and photos closely represented reality. We laughed at the absurdity of the process. We came home feeling duped.
A world where everything is altered and made to look different must have a long-term impact on society. I began thinking about young girls going on social media only to find a world of women and young girls that are perfectly proportioned and flawless. Their makeup, hair, and body are all perfectly placed and have perfect proportions. Every freckle, wrinkle, and spot of cellulite is erased with the click of a computer key. It is not easy for adults to handle the perfection displayed on our screens. Destinations, locations, people, and places are all represented in flawlessly in videos and photos. We begin to feel insecure or less than. Even people with a strong sense of self can feel pressured to edit or alter what is posted on social media.
I refuse to do it. If you go to my social media, you will see the good, the bad, and the ugly. You will find a woman sometimes wearing a tee shirt, without makeup, and with cellulite. You will also see me in makeup and dressed for some occasions. You will see the real house. (I quit staging the pretend house, even when company is coming over years ago. I am a perfectionist in recovery since Emily was born.) There is often laundry, dog toys, Emily toys, and clutter in the background. Because this is real life. Real life has paint chipping from the house, dirt spots on the windows, and weeds to be pulled, and it also has cellulite, wrinkles, and sometimes bags under the eyes from lack of sleep. The sand is not always white, and the water is not always clear. Life is beautiful, and it is messy. There is no such thing as a perfect home, perfect body, or perfection in nature. Everything has imperfections. Don’t give up on improving yourself, your home, or your environment but be confident enough to display and show up as the real you. The unfiltered, imperfect, and yet totally perfect you.