I don’t post to Instagram all that much (though heaven knows I love to scroll through it), but when I do, I always feel a little cognitive dissonance.
The profile picture on my Instagram account is one from, like, 8 years ago. It’s a picture I took right after a haircut and everyone said I looked good (for me?), and so it became my profile picture. And because I am so deeply self-conscious about my face, I just kept it. For years. Even though I don’t really look like that anymore (and shouldn’t, in that years pass and people change).
Sometimes I’d like to change it. And I take a bunch of pictures of myself and I find them all deficient in some way, and so I stick with the old bathroom selfie. It’s like a tiny lie I tell about myself on social media, and while there are no shortages of lies on social media, this one really bothers me.
How does one make peace with their appearance? How do you arrive at a place where you can see a picture of yourself and just think, “Yep, that’s my face”? Intellectually, I don’t believe I have a responsibility to be pretty; none of us do. And yet here I am: pretending how I looked for 2 hours in 2012 is how I really look all the time.
I know the work of making peace with my face is the exact same work I have to do around my body; it’s all patriarchal bullshit that we’ve been buried in our whole lives. I want to unlearn all those messages. I want to feel at ease with my appearance; I daresay I’d even like to love myself, though to begin with I’d settle for neutrality. I want to not feel a quiet sense of shame, like I owe my husband and son an apology for how I look (that right there hurt to type). I want to feel at home inside myself.
I guess it’s like anything: you begin by beginning. Speak your truth, and see what happens.