Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Why You Should Post An Ugly Selfie Today

Act #331:  Authenticity.  It's what's for dinner.

This past weekend I posted this status update on Facebook: 

Last night we talked about how perfect everyone's life seemed on Facebook, so let me put that rumor to rest. This morning I strategically hid my growing muffin top with a skillfully wrapped scarf. I haven't had time to bathe my kid in 2 days. Last week I unknowingly disempowered my staff. My husband and I haven't had a date in 4 weeks. I was late paying a bill. I chose to go to dinner with friends rather than take my son to a basketball game he's been begging me to attend. My toe nails are still sporting polish from my friend Leslie's wedding....2 months ago. And my finger nails have been chewed down to my skin. At least one person in my family is in therapy and at least two more should be. Perfection is so overrated.
I got 144 likes and 29 commiserating comments - probably one of my all-time most popular status updates.  Many of the commentators commiserated with me.  They too shared similar imperfections.  But many comments also expressed relief.  Great to know you are human like the rest of us!  Thank goodness you have a few flaws!  Finally! 
In the world of social media, we have the opportunity to always think before we act, to put our ideal selves forward - our perfectly cooked gourmet meals, our air-brushed instagrammed selfies, public commitments to our world-changing jobs, declarations of love and devotion to our perfect spouses and children, impeccable Christmas decorations.    Even when we are self-deprecating, we do so with exquisite wit and sarcasm, leaving all our friends of friends thinking we're about 8 million times cooler than we really are.  In essence, we're spending more time away from each other, and when we do "connect", we rarely do so with authenticity - we're pretty much fraudulent.  No one really knows who we are!  Our unintentional need to "document", play-by-play, our most ideal lives is leaving the rest of the world.....feeling inadequate, too fat, too boring,  Our "perfect" lives are leaving our friends thinking they need to make more money, find a more romantic boyfriend, start a new hobby, be a better parent, write a blog, and hike the Appalachian the snow.  When in reality we're most likely all struggling with our weight, our jobs, our identities, and our relationships.  And that's OK.  It's what makes us human.  And what my status update revealed to me is this:  Our imperfections and willingness to be vulnerable about them are what connects us as humans.  We can all relate to the realities of our struggles.  So if our sole way to connect with others these days is through social media, why not really connect and show the world who we really are every once in a while?  Because after all, it's not the most staged and visually appealing things in your life that make it beautiful.  It's the raw, vulnerable, authentic, and imperfect moments that do.
So on this day, the 27th day of November, this Thanksgiving Eve, I give thanks to our collective human realness, and I hereby declare the first annual Facebook Day of Authentic Imperfections.  I challenge you to post a boring, non-witty status update, a picture of the Big Mac you will have for lunch today, a non-sepia tone, non-airbrushed photo of yourself right this moment, a photo of your ugliest piece of furniture that you can't live without, a reflection on your hot "pizza and Redbox, jammies in bed" date with your spouse tonight (with accompanying picture of the drool you will leave on your pillow after the sex you don't have because you're both too tired with exhaustion).  And do so in your most regular, ordinary, every-day voice - without any added wit or humor (unless you are always authentically witty and funny all of the time).  Hashtag it with this so your friends don't think you've been hacked:  #BeingReal.  Go ahead, change the world today, just by being you.

Look!  I just woke up!  And I'm horizontal too. (Was that too witty?)


  1. I love this, and best believe, I am hastagin it today! #BeingReal

  2. "a reflection on your hot "pizza and Redbox, jammies in bed" date with your spouse tonight (with accompanying picture of the drool you will leave on your pillow after the sex you don't have because you're both too tired with exhaustion)"

    O, that's normal? :) LOL
    Really great call to action Mae. I appreciate it!

  3. I forget where I read this a few years back, but it's a pretty awesome thought that seems relevant:

    "Quit comparing your feature-length movie to everyone else's highlight reels."

    It's so easy to judge ourselves (and sometimes, others) based on all the great stuff you see in friends' social media, and so difficult to remember that that's what they choose to show. Thanks for a great reflection!