Teen Me would’ve loved social media–for stalking boys. I can only imagine the hours I would’ve wasted reading posts and profiles and texting my friends back and forth to decode various nuances.
But what would I have done about the obligatory selfies?
I spent all of high school feeling massively insecure about my appearance! Writing My Big Nose And Other Natural Disasters, along with the hard-earned wisdom of growing up, have helped me recover from most of my “nose issues,” yet my typical Snapchat still looks like this:
And my only Snapchat friends are my daughters.
My 9th grader spends a lot of time talking about the way girls alter their appearance online using various apps that brighten eyes, clean up complexions, shrink, enhance or blur facial features… Other girls simply hide all but their eyes. That would’ve been me!
In November a plethora of “leaf selfies” appeared on my daughter’s Instagram account. During a hike, we took our own leaf selfie as a joke.
I admitted that Teen Me would’ve been all over the leaf selfie, and any other means to hide my nose.
A few weeks ago, my step-sister scanned and emailed a photo of fifteen-year-old me. Even coming of age pre-technology hasn’t protected me from Throwback Thursdays!
My first thought: Aw! I like this photo. My next thought: Because you can’t see your face! And the next thought: Really, Syd, you’re still thinking like this? After all these years?
I’ve worked so hard–and continue to work as aging alters me yet again–to overcome my body image issues, and accept myself JUST AS I AM. But I’m no longer hoping to find a boyfriend, hoping to fit in at school, hoping to be somewhat popular, or at least not be stuck on The Outside, hoping that I’m okay–whatever that actually means, but it somehow has to do with beauty… right?!?
I have so much empathy for all those teens trying to create photos that make them feel like they fit within society’s too-narrow standard of beauty. Almost everything else in life matters so much more, but how can you explain that to teens living their most insecure years in front of an ever-present camera?
Teen Me wouldn’t have believed it, either.