Can I tell you the worst part of my new job?
My new identification badge—is the worst, the very worst. Ever. If nothing else, the photo provides a good laugh, and for a minute I thought about posting it for your entertainment. On second thoughts, I would prefer not to be my own worst enemy. Allow me to paint you a picture instead.
Due to the backwards tilt of my head and hunched shoulders, my face and throat seem to be equal in proportion forming a column atop my torso. With said head tilt, my nostrils flare like a horse’s, and my hair resembles a mane. If I turn my badge upside down, I might be smiling. My teeth are bared, the corners of my mouth pulling down when right-side-up. A severe glare reflects the photographer’s flash on my glasses, and my teeth are orange. Orange, I tell you. I wore a Lancôme lipstick called Bewitched that day, but I know for a fact that it wasn’t smeared all over my teeth. I assume the same guy who took the terrible picture prematurely pulled the ID from the machine, smudging the colors in the process. I normally give people the benefit of the doubt, but I blame this guy for everything—especially for not giving me an opportunity to preview the photo. I received my badge a week or two later. A do-over isn’t worth the hassle.
When I showed my husband my new ID, he almost busted his gut. “What the ____?” he said between cackles. “Nobody could’ve thought that was okay.” He’s right. It’s completely and utterly ridiculous, but if my badge is the worst part of my job, then I think I’ll be okay. At least I no longer share a staff restroom with men.
School portrait day happened a week or so ago. Never in life have I so much appreciated the school portrait photographer and his expertise in telling me, “Chin down. Tilt your head to the left.” After the first shot he said, “You have a glare on your glasses. I’m going to take another one.” I had to laugh on the inside, but my smile this time was genuine. He even allowed me the courtesy of approving the photo before I returned to class—classy.
Recently I read a Business Insider article about “Snapchat dysmorphia,’ a form of body dysmorphic disorder and a disturbing new phenomenon where people seek cosmetic surgery to look more like their filtered selfies. I found myself shaking my head, but at the same time, I wondered—Is it the flawed reality of my badge that bothers me the most? I consider my own question. Although I have no plans to see a surgeon, I realize that I, too, have succumbed to the allure and the societal norm of the filtered photo. For the past year at least, all of my profile pictures on social media are selfies, all taken via Snapchat to soften the flaws and enhance what God gave me. Magazines, advertisements, and professional photographers have airbrushed photos for years, so I’m not sure where I’m going with this.
Will I quit using Snapchat?
Will I stop taking selfies?
Would I want people to know I filter my photos?
Sure. Why not?
We all keep up appearances, and why? Because who we are isn’t good enough? Or because we have secrets to hide? Because we have a point to prove? And to whom? Others? Ourselves?
I don’t have all the answers, mostly more observations and more questions:
Don’t our flaws make us human? More relatable? More empathetic? When the worst is laughable, is it really that bad? And when the worst is cryable, isn’t it healthier to share the burden?