Our Perception of Reality is Based on Photoshop

Saw this photo today and it totally bummed me out.

That’s Lindsay Lohan’s sister Ali Lohan and she is 17 years old. She is the product of skin bleaching and poking and re-touching.

We all know about the train reck that is Lindsay Lohan.

And while she used to make me sad… I’ve lost sympathy for her situation. It bums me out though, to see what her behaviors have done to her family:

Crazy Kid + Crazy Family = Divorce

A perfectly normal teen turned terrifying

At 17 you should be seeing movies every night with your friends and trying not to fail your classes as a result of lack of sleep. If you’re a celeb, then 17 should be spent pursuing your career… not getting plastic surgery. But unfortunately, some of us are disillusioned to believe that we must go to great lengths (even going under the knife) to get that “perfect look”.

I don’t know what perfect is these days (and I’m afraid to type “perfect woman” into Google)… but I can assume that the Internet’s idea of perfect is far from perfection.

It’s easy to forget that photoshop exists. And better yet, that very talented artists exist who can manipulate photos to look the way they want them to. Here are some examples of what designers can do to a photo to make it look like the perfect woman:

Does this all make sense? Women in magazines simply don’t look that way in real life. Our perception of reality is based on tons of photoshopped images – not the real life women (and men) that walk this earth.

If we stood next to Naomi Watts or Madonna we’d be able to see lines in their faces, and bags under their eyes, and saggy skin – but photoshop quickly removes all the features that show that we’ve actually lived a real life.

As a result, 17 year olds are begging for plastic surgery and 8-year olds are getting Botox.

So, I can go to the gym every morning and drink protein shakes and cut out all carbs and candy – but… I’ll never be able to compete with photoshop. Photoshop can erase wrinkles, stretch marks, bags, saggyness – the very things that come with age – the very things that let others know that you’ve lived your life, and you’ve lived it well.

There’s nothing wrong with living a full life, and I’d rather see a bunch of well-used faces/bodies then a bunch of unnaturally smooth ones. I want to know that you’ve been places, and seen things, it makes you more real to me… it shows me that you’re living to your potential – that you truly enjoy your life.

We’re girls, we want to be beautiful… but what defines our beauty? I hope it’s not the photoshopped images you see in magazines – because you’re setting yourself up for failure… the reality is you will never be able to compete with photoshop. I don’t want to strive to look like a digitally re-touched image, I want people to know that I am flawed, but my flaws make me unique… they make me who I really am.

FYI: I think Photoshop is an incredible tool & it has truly revolutionized the way company’s and people can market themselves. I am in no way looking down on, or criticizing, the amazing things that Photoshop can do. 

Being Healthy Doesn’t Equal Weighing 100lbs

I was called fat all through high school.

If you’re a girl (or even if you’re a guy) being called fat sucks… especially when you’re 14. Suddenly that’s what you’re defined by: fat. Everything you do, or say, or think somehow centers around you and your fatness. There’s no denying that if you call yourself something long enough, you’ll start to truly believe you are that way, or that person. So, I was fat… Fatty McFat Fat, and you couldn’t tell me any different.

I did those things that teenagers do like, stop eating for a few days…or only eat Cups o’ Noodles (which are delicious but not nutritious and also, a Cup o’ Noodles diet is the opposite of a diet). I’d listen to Michele Branch and cry myself to sleep at night, asking God why He made me fat.

I was a cheerleader. Ironically I was probably the most fit I’ve ever been. But I wasn’t a size 0, and therefore… I was fat. [one time I wore size 0 jeans, and then sat down and they ripped in front of my friends… friends don’t let friends try to fit into size 0 jeans, you guys]

Believing I was fat carried over into college/young adulthood. The feelings weren’t so pronounced but a little part of me still saw myself as a fat kid.

I’ve noticed, as women (and men), that we shy away from talking candidly about this subject (fatness). No one wants to admit that they look down on themselves, or that they struggle with weight or self image… but the reality is, most of America does. There is nothing abnormal about feeling poorly about your physical appearance. It doesn’t make it right, but you are definitely not alone if you feel fat.

Thankfully, in high school I never struggled to the point of an eating disorder… although I toyed with the idea once or twice [and even stopped eating for a few days… that was bad]. Instead I bottled up my fatness and let it eat away at my self-worth and confidence.

I wasted a lot of time worrying about what others thought of me. 

At some point somewhere around 21-23 I realized I wasn’t fat. I wasn’t (and am still not) a size 0… but, I can hike Half Dome, and run 5 consecutive miles, and I bike a few times a week. I realized fat people can’t do that.

Just me... and Half Dome. NBD

I’m not a vegan (I love me some meat, and carbs, and cheese) and I also love sugar (show me ice cream and I’ll show you an empty bowl) … but I also don’t eat McD’s for every meal.

I’m not a super model (I’m wayyy too short for that ish), and I wouldn’t pose for a magazine in a bikini (even if I was a size 0, I still wouldn’t do that). If I was standing next to a famous guy, he might not notice me… but that’s not what I’m striving for here.

You should strive to be healthy, but don’t kill yourself getting there.

People forget that being healthy doesn’t = being 100lbs. I know plenty of 100lbers that aren’t healthy at all… and that can be just as deadly as being fat. There is a chance that you aren’t built to be a size 0… no matter how hard you try, you will never get there (that might make you feel hopeless, but… don’t).

So if you look at yourself in the mirror and you’re disgusted with yourself, but you can still run a 9 minute mile… then you’re probably healthy. If you can walk up stairs and you only get a “little bit” out of breath, then you’re probably healthy. If you don’t eat McD’s for every meal, then you’re probably healthy. If you go to the doctor for a physical and they tell you that you are healthy, then you are healthy.

Don’t beat yourself up for being “average”. Think about it: if we were all supermodels and body builders, we’d all be average.

SOO thankful this isn't "average"

Is weight and self-image a struggle for you? How have you worked to overcome it, or what are you currently doing to put your mind at ease?