Smoke and Mirrors

This world is focused on perfection, despite it being impossible. Thanks to social media and apps like Instagram, all we see is smoke and mirrors that disguise hardship and only reflect the good moments in everybody’s lives. We are fooled into believing the images plastered before us each day are reality rather than a twisted form of it. Mindlessly scrolling, this distortion seeps into our brains, and after years and years of exposure, it is normalized.

Yet what we see is not normal, and deep down, we know that. We are constantly reminded of that by both others reiterating it online as well as ourselves reiterating it in our minds. The beautiful images before us aren’t real. They’re doctored up, like processed food, with sugar and flavor enhancers and dyes hiding the garbage that’s really inside.

Okay, maybe that’s dramatic 🙆‍♀️ but you get the point, right? There’s so much extra put into pictures these days that it’s impossible to notice the edits and differentiate them from what’s truly there. (Unless the photoshopping is bad, of course 😉)

We know almost everything that meets our eyes is edited, but because it looks so real, it’s hard to believe it’s edited, no matter how many times we hear it is.

People have a hard time grasping this because they’ve never experienced such distortion before. Until pretty recently, there wasn’t much editing you could do to a picture, so the way an image appeared in print or online was pretty much how it looked in real life. Modern software, however, has allowed us to change any image we want in virtually any way we want. Depending on your skills, you can photoshop a carton of McDonald’s french fries into Marilyn Monroe if you really desire — and if that’s not the most distortion humanity has ever seen, I don’t know what is.

Anyway, the ability to do these extreme edits clouds reality to the point that we forget perfection doesn’t exist. Cellulite in your bikini shot? Just smooth it out! Fly-aways on your hair? Just delete! Too many people in the background? Delete them, too! Obtainable perfection, albeit false.

Truth is masked so well now that we believe everyone online with millions of followers is perfect. Perfect body, perfect clothes, perfect travel — just perfect! After all, if they weren’t perfect, they wouldn’t have millions of followers, right?

Wrong. That logic is flawed. Despite our number of followers and our amount of likes, we are all just people, and we all have something wrong somewhere in our lives. Human nature is to be flawed. Cliche, but true, and it’s that way for survival. We have to make mistakes so we can learn. We have to have issues so we can develop. We’re never fully satisfied in order to progress.

No matter what, we strive for more and more, whether we can actually achieve it. Striving for more is both man’s greatest suit and greatest flaw. It allows us to grow exponentially, but at a cost. We can see the cost very clearly with social media (and global warming, but that’s another post 🐳).

Truth is hidden. Life is made to look perfect when it’s not. The cocktails he’s drinking next to the beautiful woman in Prada could be hiding the fact that he’s dying of cancer. Or the gorgeous smile and perfectly toned abs on the beach in Greece could be hiding the fact that she’s actually miserable because she suffers from body dysmorphia and disordered eating.

More dramatic examples, but they show the point. Plain and simple, people reach out to others because they need help. That’s why people start posting online. Something is wrong, so they reach out to strangers for verification. On top of that, they need to numb the pain of reality, so they turn to the fantasy of making themselves something they’re not. Fantasy as relief is where art comes from. It’s where storytelling comes from. And it’s where social media and content creation come from. Influencers are turning themselves into fantasies so they can numb the reality of their lives. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, because it gives them relief and allows them to continue, but it’s also not the truth. Hiding from the truth of their lives only allows their issues to build up until they reach the point of explosion, a.k.a. bawling their eyes out to their followers in a video post from their car or bedroom.

Hiding from the truth may provide temporary relief, but it does not permanently resolve anyone’s problems.

I am a data analyst, and my main job is to diagnose problems, face their reality, and permanently resolve them as soon as possible. I cannot put bandaids on issues because they will eventually swell up and kill the whole system. Yet here I am, posting on Instagram several times a week as a crappy, wannabe blogger who hides the reality of her life. And what for? Why the smoke and mirrors? Do I hope to get millions of followers and make millions of dollars and never have to work in an office ever again?

Partially, yes. But it’s so hypocritical. When I work 10 – 12 hours a day specifically to solve problems, masking my own issues in hopes of people liking me more is ridiculous. I am honestly ashamed of myself for it. I am a pretender and a wannabe. Only a few people on here know who I really am, and that‘s horrifying.

I want to be honest from here on out. I started posting about outfits and style in college because it was always an outlet for me. Growing up, when I hated my body and got treated poorly by my “friends,” fashion was my escape. I read magazines and got dressed up, went shopping and put on makeup. Dressing well and being trendy not only won me compliments and made people see value in me (shallow, yes), but it also was fun and relieved my stress. It made me feel good and taught me how to love myself despite hating myself (and also taught me how to hate myself even more, but that’s yet another post for later 🙈).

Case in point, fashion saved me from going nuts, and I started blogging because I wanted to help others in that way, too. I was a dreamer, and I thought I could show normal people how to take their normal clothes and make them different and stylish so they can feel good about themselves and be happy. However, I got busy in my personal life and lost that goal. I’ve tried hard to get it back, but I wasn’t able to fully face the fact that I lost it. So I was never fully able to get it back.

Now I am finally going to change. I admit that I’ve been fake, and now I want to be real. It’s exhausting hiding yourself. I send kudos to all the people who do it well every day, because it’s the hardest thing anyone can do. I don’t know how they don’t give up. I am not that strong, and I am done living like that. I want you all to know me so maybe I can help you. I’ve always had this insufferable need to help people, but I’m really quite talentless in that aspect. I’m good at two things in life: writing and styling, and even sometimes my talent there is questionable! But since that’s the only talent I have, that’s how I have to help people.

Get ready for a new age here. I hope you all enjoy getting to know me in the coming years. If you don’t, then you can unfollow at any time, no hard feelings 😁 But this is who I am now. So deal with it for as long as you can, pretty please : ) Thanks so much for supporting me up to this point, and I hope you all stay by my side to see where this journey takes us! I really hope I can help everyone in some way throughout the coming years, even if it’s just by making you smile when you’re feeling down.

And to kick off this journey, I wanted to share my test shots of this photo shoot, too, so you can see what I’m really like before I put on all my make up, get dressed up, and start posing:

LOL at the hand shot, like who am I?

Anyway… You can clearly see that I had my base makeup already on, but hopefully you get the point. I am all pajamas until I have to create or step outside. And I honestly rarely wear makeup. Even for my posts. Scroll through my IG and you’ll see it 😉 But sometimes I want to transform myself, whether for shallow reasons or not, and I should be honest about those transformations going forward.

You can also see that my shooting location really isn’t that glamorous either:

It’s a tiny space in a tiny apartment with too many plants (that my mom murdered lol, thanks mom). Nothing more ☺️ And legit, when I say I live in my PJ’s, I mean it.

I am not special, yet here I am. I want to help. Hopefully you want me to help, too 😄

Well, that’s it. Thanks so much for reading, and I really can’t wait to get to know you all better going forward. Let’s have a great journey together 💕

Until next time ❤

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