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Picture Perfect

Her eyes were burning into the back of my head. I could feel it. I was standing in the checkout lane at Target. I had been driving for 8+ hours, was just over an hour from home, and I was wearing the same exact thing that I wore the day before; but by this time my leggings had stretched and were baggy. Like really baggy. Nearly parachute pants, it seemed. My hair was tied tightly on top of my head in a giant grease ball. I was, of course, only buying necessities –  shower toiletries – as if to say “Yep. Its bad, guys. Rock bottom. I’ll be using these in the bathroom sink before I peace out of here.” I went on my way and sluggishly limped to the car in true “woe is me” fashion.

The day before, I was at an event with friends where we made sure we had the perfect angle for the perfect picture. Those were the images I chose to present to the world on social media, not my accidental parachute pants.

We all have days like this, right? We aren’t put together and we look like we’ve been living under a rock. I’ve decided this is normal. Last week, on my busiest day, I wore new black boots. I was prepared for a day at the office and a night at youth group. What began as a small gap between my sole and shoe leather turned into a giant flip flop by the end of the evening. Everywhere I walked you could hear the flip flopping of my shoes.

I realized in the aftermath of baggy tights and flip flop boots that the images we post on social media aren’t of unwashed hair and janky shoes. We post pictures with perfect lighting and a perfect Instagram filter.

We allow Stinkeye Sally from the express lane to dictate our confidence. We freely give away our self-worth to the amount of likes our profile picture gets. In reality, those images and stories are carefully crafted with picture number 3 (AKA the only copy without closed eyes and a double chin) which unintentionally give off a distorted image of who we really are. Facebook, Instagram, and Sunday mornings at church become a silent competition with every other girl we come into contact with.

Some things I’m learning to do: Acknowledge the chaos. Embrace the mess. And choose to find my worth in greater things than materials and a picture-perfect life.

Ashley Cooper

I strive to find joy in each ordinary day.

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