For my birthday, Joseph got me a new phone. Among many great features that comes with this phone, (including a fiancee that knows how it works so much better than I do and is built in tech-support), this means my snapchat finally has filters. And while that may seem to be an insignificant factor, I’ve had filter-envy for quite a while, since my old phone did not support the app’s filter features.
So I went to town and filtered the heck out of one photo. After a couple of swipes, I realized that what I was left with was a girl who was me, but not quite. Her skin was smoother. Her face was a little thinner. It was like Chloe, the improved version. And I didn’t like it.
I’m a perfectionist, and so I should adore the filtered life. No one can see my flaws, my not-so-hot makeup application skills and that spot of acne that I’ve been dealing with this month. But instead of falling in love with this perfected, digital version of me, I realized that the more I have become comfortable with who I am (imperfect flaws and all), the less I want to see this “perfect Chloe.”
In some ways, the filters that I can swipe onto my photos remind me of how much I haven’t limited filtering just to my snapchat or instagram. Often I find myself filtering my off-screen life as well. I tell people that I’m “doing fine” and bury stress deeper and deeper in an attempt to make it look like I’ve got it all together. I avoid heart to heart conversations because something may come up that makes me uncomfortable.
I’m guilty of this filtering. A month ago, I decided to not accept my graduate school interview due to future dreams of being a stay-at-home-mom. But when people ask me what my plans are for graduation, I usually offer them what they want to hear. “Well, I’m not quite sure yet.” #filtering….why am I afraid to boldly state the truth? That I love littles and I’m looking forward to a day when I can see Joseph and myself in the faces of our kids? That graduate school was a safety zone for me, and not challenging enough for the radical life I know God has in store?
What would happen if we removed all those filters from our lives? If we lived fully and without the gauge of likes on our photos and comments of others? How much our lives would change. So my challenge today is not to post an unedited photo of yourself. You can do that and not have a shred of change in your off-screen life. Instead, take off a filter today in your interactions with others. Be vulnerable. Admit fault. Ask for help. Because people are desperate to get to know you…the real you. The Chloe who is desperately afraid of fish (I know, it’s an irrational fear), is on her fourth cup of coffee today and is turning off her snapchat filters is much more of an interesting person than that “Perfect Chloe” who can be posted to a snapchat story.
“To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.” (Ralph Waldo Emerson)