Wednesday, 15 January 2020

BLOG VOYAGE: PICTURE (IM)PERFECT


As much as well-paid travel bloggers will try to convince you otherwise, it is EXTREMELY INCONVENIENT caring about your appearance when you’re travelling. With a wardrobe constituting solely of clothes ‘you don’t mind getting ruined’ plus a complete absence of make-up, mirrors, and sometimes even functioning showers, you can say bon voyage to the glamours of a morning skin routine.

Now, please take a look at the following photos of my good self (and the one above). Aside from the fact they didn’t make it onto my personal Instagram account, there is one common thread in them all. What do you see?





Okay, I'll go first. The very first thing I noticed in every single one of these photos was:

chins.

I have a double, or in some cases, triple, chin in every flipping photo. I should upload the whole lot and call it my Chinstagram. If travelling has taught me anything, it’s that no matter how hard I try, I cannot flash my pearly whites without my damn chin creasing so that I get this weird wibbly line and horrible flashbacks to the orthodontist asking me for the eighth time if I'm seriously not considering jaw surgery, because most people with a protruding chin like mine get bullied (fortunately the only person to have seized this opportunity was my big brother, cheers Pete).

Instead of reconstructing my face, I have come up with two far more practical solutions.

(a) never smile again

What did you see, by the way? Was it chins? It may have been. But also, it probably wasn’t. It was probably that I was happy, or in a nice place, or doing something fun, or maybe you thought - they're just pictures of Hazel - completely indifferently, and are wondering what the fuss is about. I know that feeling, because I've taken pictures of my friends and been all - yep wow gorgeous - and they've taken one look and said something like 'no my fourth eyelash on the left eye is not symmetrical omg delete this picture omg I am so ugly omg I hate myself.' Crazy how we see ourselves, right?

I didn’t see happy photos of me. I saw chins. And I'm angry about it. How do we go back to what I like to call, the Mum Perspective, where the singular factor constituting to whether a photo is nice or not is whether the subject is smiling? Whether the photo is happy?

Which brings me to my second practical solution:

(b) stop caring about the chins

I don’t know how we arrived in this place where ‘picture perfect’ is synonymous to ‘not real.’ Real isn’t perfect so we don’t want to see it. The climate we live in encourages this - it’s in the media as celebrities are papped on holiday with - god forbid - a BLOATED tummy!!!!!!! (isn’t that the aim of an all-inclusive?) It’s in our dating life, as we swipe left all of the big noses and too-thins or too-fats, it’s among our friendships as we send a screenshot to our group chat of a girl from school who has put on weight or dyed their hair the wrong colour.

And if all around us everyone is focusing on the chins, of course, we are going to be BLINDED by the chins when it comes to photos of ourselves, because we don’t want to be the victim of a screenshot. The aim is to be perfect, so we end up hating the real.

But here are the things that photos of me as I’ve been travelling - true candid photos - have taught me:

1) When you focus on what’s in front of you and take a single photo, it will be a tribute to something more beautiful. That’s a good way to think about photos. They are just an indicator to a memory, a moment. The moment matters more than the photo.

2) Everyone has fat. Fat is not an enemy, fat is part of a nourished body. If you stop going to the gym so you can, say, travel the world and live your dream (an acceptable compromise, in my humble opinion) of course you are going to lose muscle and acquire fat. You may not like this, but you can either accept it and live with it OR forever prioritise going to the gym, therefore missing out on travels/dreams. I definitely think I'll take the fat.

3) Almost every photo you’ve ever seen online has been edited in some way. From filters to blemish removals to tummy toners to teeth whiteners: it’s quite terrifying how much of what we see is not real.

4) It’s okay to want to look your best. It’s not okay if this also means you are actually unhappy when you don’t look your best - going for a swim in the sea or pigging out your Mum's homemade apple crumble or triple-chin laughing all REQUIRE us to look dishevelled. They also require us to be happy. Don't let anything ruin that.

5) There are people out there who see beyond chins. And these people are FREE. Free to be themselves and do what they want and enjoy life as it is. They don’t let their armpit hair or belly rolls get in the way of seeing a photo for what it should be: a happy memory. I aspire to be one of these people. And I think you should too.

Let’s assess a photo on its positivity and allow that to confirm it’s beauty. Let’s readopt the Mum Perspective. Let’s forgive ourselves for being Picture (Im)Perfect.

Love, Haze. xxxxx
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