Of Selfies and Self-worth
I sat by a beautiful girl at church several Sundays ago. Or rather she sat by me because she was considerably late. She had her hair nicely done, wavy, black and long. Her makeup highlighted in all the right places with not an eyebrow out of place. Her bright pink lipstick made the perfect pout. It was working, her look. Everyone was staring. Hell, I was staring, thinking to myself I’d like to ask her how she got those eyebrows looking like that.
She sat right next to me and took out her phone. Her back was arched back. It was easy to tell she was a very confident and in control. The stares didn't bother her. She thrived in it, as a matter of fact. Admirable to say the least. I'd have probably remained in the corner free from the attention. I thought she was awesome.
She already had her phone out as she sat down and proceed to pour over a number of photos on Snapchat. I can tell you her eyes never left the phone until the service was over. Well, I mean, she did, but that was just so she could open her Instagram as well. It was pretty clear she was completely disconnected from any part of the service or the people. She poured over people's photos, videos, complexity immersed her little social media time.
Am I konkonsa? Maybe oo, but I couldn't help notice we were both using the same phones and the original intent was to really look what phone cover she was using. I'm a bit of a collector.
But I kept feeling a little sad watching her. She reminded me of parts of myself. You see i happen to take a lot of photos for no reason at all. I can force my lips to widen in some kind of elastic smile until i actually start to sense a bit of heaviness lift off my face and heart. It’s amazing that a click and snap of the same face over and over can give such joy. It makes me wonder whether i am seeking approval from myself; Whether staring back my own brown skin, small eyes and wide smile will assure me that i am doing alright; That there is no indication of the turbulence in my head. I am measuring myself, I realize. But against what?
Sometimes i feel as if you over there… yes, you... you are probably doing the same. Initially, because you are bored but more importantly, you are feeding a subconscious need to let us know that you are doing ok in spite of.
It’s an interesting socio-cultural mental evolution we are experiencing, isn’t it? My photo, your like, your comment, may just be what i need to keep smiling through the day. Is it vanity or survival?
There was no telling if we both had the same reasons and I knew well enough to mind my business. But pouring over the seemingly perfect lives and happiness of others because of the mind's misconception one's life isn't like my church friend was exhibiting, felt was all too familiar. It's an insatiable desire to want more and feel more relevant. To connect while hiding your true self. To be accepted while passing checks on others that do NOT quite meet the standard.
What I really wanted to tell her that she was very beautiful, that she looked confident and she must look good in anything she wore. That no matter how many selfies she took and saw or how many filters she used her face, just like all she embodied would remain the same, beautiful and just as it should be. Perfect and imperfect in all the right places.
Mental note to self.
This post makes no attempt to offer an alternative outlook but just to muse on what is.