By: Susannah Hutcheson, Regular Contributor
How many of you use Instagram? I would bet that a good percentage of you do. If you do, you have probably felt the same push as I have: to feel that satisfaction that comes from the orange notification at the bottom of the app, showing that 55 people have liked your photo. I know that you have probably craved the satisfaction of cropping a picture just right, so that all of your unattractive features are blended into the magical land of perfect pixels. And I’m sure that some of you have done what I sometimes do: arrange that latte and that book in a perfect position, angling it just right, and slapping on a caption about how perfect your day was.
Last week, I was laying in bed, binge-watching One Tree Hill on Netflix. I got up to make a cup of coffee, and before I knew it, I was crafting this perfectly staged photo. I set my steaming hot mug down on the section of my white comforter that I didn’t spill pen ink on, set a book next to it, and spent about 10 solid minutes trying to get just the right angle--one where the sunlight poured in through the window and put a pretty face on my afternoon. In reality, I spent so much time trying to take the picture that my coffee got cold before I could drink it. I certainly wasn’t reading a book, I was on my sixth episode of One Tree Hill. And before I had opened the blinds for lighting, I had been burrowing in my covers all day.
If I had wanted to post an honest Instagram photo, I would have taken a picture of my makeup-free face and included the huge bag of popcorn I was eating. I would have taken a snapshot of my down comforter, which has a giant stain on it from when I didn’t realize there was an open pen on my bed. Instead, I took my often not super exciting, sometimes lazy, not always perfectly lit life, and put it in a staged photo. In a lot of ways, we all do this. Instead of embracing the not so Insta-worthy moments, we hide them behind filters. Instead of taking a few moments (hours) to be unapologetically lazy, we try to make it look like we live lives full of constant excitement. And, especially in my case, we spend time comparing our lives to those of fashion bloggers and food photographers, when, in reality, a square photo shows nothing about our actual lives.
I challenge all of you to stop fitting your lives into a perfect square, even if just for a couple of days. There are many days that I am doing good to put a bra on. There are many days where I do not want to wash my hair, much less take it out of a ponytail. There are many days where I watch Netflix until the message pops up on my screen asking if I’m still watching. And that, those kinds of days, are what make up about 80% of my life. I’m all about the pretty lattes and the Farmer’s Market visits, but those aren’t my life. And so I challenge all of you, including me, to take a step back from lives in a perfect square and instead live the life that you have so graciously been given. I challenge every single one of you to stop comparing yourselves and staging yourselves and just be the beautiful person that you are.
Let's Chat! Can you take Susannah's Inst-challenge and show the world your amazing, authentic, beautyFULL YOU? Tell us what happens here!
Susannah is a Journalism major, passionate about social justice and Jesus Christ. She loves cold weather, triple-shot lattes, and macaroni and cheese. When she’s not writing papers or baking cookies, you can find her Googling random things on the Internet or watching large amounts of reality television. You can read her ramblings at ileftamessinthekitchen.wordpress.com, or look at pictures of her coffee on Instagram: @susannah.beth.