I learned yesterday that photoshop magicians are now adding weight back onto models, who are so deathly skinny they look, well, like they’re dying. A wash of feelings ensued: sadness, pity, annoyance, disdain, pride, etc., and guilt.
Guilt because I photoshop myself all the time. Not literally; I really don’t even have time to look at my pictures, much less edit them. I mean I do what everybody else seems to be doing: I try to appear perfect. No, scratch that, not perfect, because that would be just over-the-top enough to get on everybody’s nerves. I aim for just shy of perfect enough to make people think I have it all together. It’s not only exhausting and dishonest on my part; think of what I achieve if I succeed: I make other people feel like crap. How do I know this? Because I feel like crap when everyone around me seems to have it all together.
I’m not saying we should all hang our dirty laundry out and gawk at each other. I am not talking about complaining. No, but about admitting the things that are hard to admit, embracing authenticity; taking pleasure in the remarkable things about life that even make grief possible.
A simple piece of music by an old college friend of mine speaks to this last bit. Sorry about the sound quality, but I wanted you to be able to see her reverberating smile. If you love it, here’s a better version. She is a lovely and passionate artist, brimming over with authenticity and gentleness.
I am reminded at last of Hebrews 12:1 from the NIV of the Bible: “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles.” Worst of all, my failure to be spiritually and relationally naked hinders my ability to be healed and to embrace Life.