A couple of friends and I were squeezing in for a post-workout photo. It was our first trip to Flywheel, and we wanted to commemorate our sweaty, tomato-red faces with a selfie.
My friend immediately plugged the photo into Instagram and started messing with the selfie filter. I, on the other hand, immediately turned on AirBrush, my editing app of choice.
“Isn't the whole point to look fresh?” my friend asked, peering over my phone in scrutiny.
“We will,” I replied dismissively while eradicating a blemish on my chin.
She still didn't get it. She may lightly filter her selfies, but using another app to blast away zits and whiten teeth was a level of Photoshop she didn't want to cross.
To me, Photoshop is the bare minimum.
Look, don't get me wrong, #NoFilter selfies are awesome. I long to one day go truly sans filter, a la Miley Cyrus and Demi Lovato, and not care about a random blemish or stray eyebrow hair. However, I do care, and there's absolutely nothing wrong with that.
My photos are my property.
The photos are of me, I took them and they're by all accounts mine. And, because they're mine, I can do whatever I damn-well like to them — including altering my face, airbrushing and throwing down as many filters as I see fit.
I don't tell you what to do with your photos — unless I'm in them, of course — so don't tell me what to do with mine.
It's about how I want others to see me.
I don't let men see me without makeup on, so why would I post a photo of me without my dark circles concealed?
Our Instagrams reflect what we want to portray to the world. I don't want to Instagram the “ugly” side of my life — the doctor's appointments, chilling with a therapist, my dog being sick — so why would I post a side of me I feel is lesser than? It's not that I don't feel like I'm pretty without makeup, but I feel more like myself with it on. There's no crime in that.
Selfies are permanent. My blemishes aren't.
Once it's up on the 'gram, it's not going anywhere. I might delete a post if I don't like it or it doesn't generate as much traffic as I would've liked, but that doesn't mean someone couldn't have taken a screenshot of it. Anything you put online is permanent (which, as a writer, I learned the hard way).
Unlike my photos, my random chin pimple, dark circles or weird mole aren't permanent. They aren't going to be on my face forever, so why should I treat them as such? A selfie should be a snapshot of me at a certain period in my life, and I want to be able to look back at them and be say, “Girl, you slay.”
I do not want to wonder what I was thinking not getting my teeth whitened.
Look, I'll always filter my selfies. And chances are, you won't even notice. Besides, if they make me feel just a little bit more like Beyoncé, it's all worth it.