Tuesday, June 12, 2012
So have you ever had that awkward moment with someone when you know their face but forget their name? Well, you, my friend are not that person that everybody thinks of on the other end. Nope, we don't have to worry about forgetting your name or your face because you are posting head shots of yourself on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, etc... at every free moment that you have. That's actually why I am writing. This is a call to action... or inaction. Stop! Stop posting photos of yourself everywhere or anywhere (at this point), one right after the other every other minute of everyday! I am tired of looking at your face or hearing about the new picture of your face from the person who hasn't hidden you yet only because they get a good laugh at how many pictures you can post of yourself within the first five minutes of the day.
You can put on new lipstick, try out a thicker mascara, take the shot from a different angle at your desk but you're still you. Why do you need to remind yourself and the world of this matter every day? Why? Why? Please, explain to me why. Although I have a feeling that even after you explain to me why you are a narcissist (yes, a narcissist, because there is a fine line between this and self promotion) or self loather, I'm still going to keep you hidden from my feed and continue to unfollow you. There's no way to justify you posting five pictures of yourself, that look identical, back to back on any social media format. If you need to take the photos, I'm not asking you to stop taking them but please, oh, please stop sharing them.
Whether I've known you my entire life or for 20 minutes, if your face is all I am seeing in every photo you're posting, from the shoulders up especially, consider me not interested. And it's not just the daily head shots either. If you're shaking your head thinking, "I'm not one of those people..." I also want to ask you, the one nearing 40, 50 years old, with grown kids, who's taking a photo with your legs wide open, one of which is hanging over the arm of a couch to please close up shop. Nobody wants to see that. It wasn't cute when you were younger and it isn't cute now. Head shot or "I can be like the kids too!" shot, you are not a model. And um, models have standards.
I want to take this time to say that to an extent, I understand the need for attention and understand fully the importance of self-worth. But in the end, you can't get that through social media. An aid, social media can be but no matter how many comments and likes you do or do not have, in the end it is up to you to accept yourself for who you are. It is time to quit the daily "Look at me, I'm here" show. We all know that you are here. Do you know that you are here? Do you know that you need to be working right now, studying, giving back to the community, reading (when was the last time you did that?), exercising instead of taking photos of your nasty food that nobody wants to see, exploring all that this world has to offer, showing the world what you have to offer, doing anything but editing the twelfth photo that you took of yourself? Really, what good is another photo of you doing for anyone? You're just clogging up everyone's feeds.
Let's take a stroll down memory lane here. When I was young, I had quite the identity crisis. I saw so much beauty in my white friends that I never took the time to see the beauty in myself as a black female. For someone who has always had friends from so many different nationalities (and yes, I was picked on by a small few for not strictly having black friends, oh and not listening to literally just r&b and hip hop music... and no, I won't apologize for being musically cultured but that is another post), I was so unconsciously aware of my being black and that always made me feel inferior. I was open to everyone but me. Ever seen Chris Rock's documentary, Good Hair? Well, let's just say that I was the daughter who wasn't in love with her look. It's funny because it was all about the hair for me when I was younger and yet I've never actually been a hair person. In fact, in the present day, I've cut my hair very low specifically so that I do not have to do much anything with it. You might be thinking that this doesn't make sense but it was never even about the hair. It was about something bigger. It was about accepting and loving me for me and letting that love shine own its own. Did you get that last part?
So still a kid but a few years after everybody knew that I wanted straight long hair, "natural hair" even though generally for a black person, straight hair is NOT natural hair... I was reading a magazine and decided to take one of the back page ads up for an offer that I had seen a million times before. It went along the lines of "Send us your information and we'll send you a booklet that shows you how to look like a model." Note here that I have always had bad skin, so that was also part of my self esteem issue. Next thing you know, I found myself signed up for some modeling school (Yes, people really do that. I know. Crazy.) and it was a really exciting few months but when I look back at it now, I laugh, knowing that I really did not need that experience to have the self esteem that I have now. I do not need anybody to train me to respect myself, "like" me, or comment under yet another photo I have taken from the same pose and the same place as five minutes ago with essentially the same "I'm bored" caption to feel like I am something that should be worth watching. Showing yourself being bored is not nearly as exciting, intriguing, and artistic as you envision it to be in your head. Trust me. You're not fooling anyone. Really, what are you doing with your life? That's what we want to see. Progress. Change. Hope. Monotony has no place in this photo stream. I'm not insane. I'm not insane. I'm not insane. Say it with me!
Now I do believe that there are certain people who have the gift of encouragement. You know that their encouragement comes from a genuine, positive place and that alone can be the aid that changes a person's outlook on themselves (think: the woman who came to Oprah's church one time when she was little and told her she was pretty). But you should not be asking for such encouragement, confirmation every day, multiple times a day. I can understand the desire, the need to know that you are good enough at least once in your day. But begging for it on multiple social media outlets... you need to take a vacation from technology and look at what is real. Look at yourself and dig deep to figure out what is keeping you in this state of self absorption. Because contrary to what you may believe, it really is not all about you. Your Facebook profile, Instagram, etc... should not be a shrine by you, to you. Your life is so much more than what you think it is. We're all broken but what are you going to do about it? What meaningful mark will you leave on this world? Until you get this point, I think that the pictures will still keep flooding your friends' feeds. But until this clicks for you, just take a moment to think about why you are about to post another photo of yourself before clicking away.
Written by Melody Simpson at 10:19 PM