Welcome To Our Little Big House On The Prairie

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Aging, Photoshop, and the Illusion of Perfection

A couple of days ago, I came across this video through Yahoo.

First, you gotta watch the video.  Seriously.  Take the time.

I laughed my tail off.  Especially about the blog part.  Because its so true.

But, it also something I've been thinking a lot about this year.  Is it because all of a sudden I'm middle aged?  Is it normal to be thinking about this stuff?

My fleeting youth?

This year, I'll be 36.  THIRTY-SIX?  OMGee.  Where'd the years go?

I'm old.

The kid at the drive through calls me "Ma'am."  "MA'AM?!"  I'm not a MA'AM.  That's my MOTHER!

The wrinkles on my face have started to multiply and make friends.

And don't get me started on the Ta-Tas, which are saying "Ta-ta!" to my neck and "Nice to meet you!" to my waist.

Does anyone else look into the mirror and go, "What the heck happened????!!!"

So anyway...  This has been bugging me.

Does anyone else look at celebrities that are forty, but still look like they're twenty and get disgusted?  And not only disgusted, but also feel the burden to measure up?  And know there's NO.  CHANCE.

Shannon from Fox Hollow Cottage and I were chit-chatting yesterday on the phone and somehow we got on the subject of aging...  And men.  And how men age like wine, while women age like...  Well.  We age like milk.  Had I known that the best I was going to look in life was how I looked at seventeen, I might have enjoyed it a little more.

Anyhoo...  To my point:

Stuggling with my self-image as a thirty-something is hard enough even when I KNOW they photo-shop the heck out of pictures of celebrities that are my age and older.

I mean, beyond them having perfect bodies.  I know that they have trainers and spend boo-ku bucks on make-up, anti-aging creams, botox, and plastic surgery.  Besides, their job in life is to look good.  That's why they make the money they do.  But it doesn't help the average woman feel any better about themselves.

Case in point...

I had a little fun with Picmonkey yesterday.  It started out as a new picture for my blog.  My first thought after uploading it and looking at it on the computer was, "Holy crap!  I'm really starting to look old."  My second thought:  "Sunlight is not my friend."  My third thought:  "Thank God for photoshop!"  And then, while I was working on it,  I really thought about what media and the fashion industry has done to us as women.

Here's the before:

Effects used:  Wrinkle Remover, Airbrush, Shine Reduce, Blush Boost, Spray Tan, Teeth Whiten, Lip Tint, Eye Brighten, Mascara, and Weight Loss

Amazing, isn't it?  Scott and I had a good laugh because I said, "See...  You're married to model material and you didn't even know it."  LOL

But, getting passed the giggles...

What is this doing to our daughters and our sons?  

THIS is what is being shoved down their throats every day.  Our daughters are trying to measure up to a standard that doesn't even really exist.  And our sons are looking for a standard that will never exist.  What they see on TV, movies, and magazines isn't REAL.  They've been perfected.  And perfection doesn't exist.

Here is a picture of my daughter, Savanna.  She's beautiful.  Just naturally beautiful.

 Because I had e-mailed the above pictures to her and my mother, so we could laugh over them, she asked me to do one of her.  At first, I couldn't imagine how I could make her look any more beautiful than she already is.  Then I started working on it because she had asked me to and I had promised her I would.

Before, she was the pretty girl next door.  Altered, she could be America's Next Top Model.

To use this as a teaching experience for my sons, I called them downstairs last night and showed them the befores and afters.  I reminded them that they need to keep this in mind when they start dating and begin looking for a wife.  The perfect woman does not exist.  And they should never compare their girlfriends or their wives to what they see in magazines, on the internet, or on TV.  They will never measure up.  Ever.  And that is not fair.

And if you think that your sons are not noticing or even thinking about such a thing at whatever their ages, here were their responses:

Noah (Age 9):  "No wonder girls in magazines look so hot."   Wow.  I didn't even know he was noticing girls.

Ian (Age 11):  "Holy cow."

Greyson (Age 13):  Never a kid of many words, he didn't say anything, but the look on his face spoke volumes.  I'm pretty sure he got my point.

In the current culture of perfection of ALL things...  Whether it be our lives, our appearance, and even our blogs,  remember:  Perfection does not exist.  Only superficial perfection exists - in the pictures we see in magazines or pictures we post on our blogs (Don't lie, you know you "tweak" your pictures too.).  That's why occasionally, you'll see that I'll post pics of the real deal.

And ladies...  Just remember...  We put enough pressure on ourselves to be perfect wives, perfect mothers, perfect bloggers.  Its okay.  LET IT GO.  T he conclusion I came to last night is, its okay to always try your best, whether it be in how you look or in the things that you do, but perfection in any form does not exist.  Far more important than being perfect is being REAL.

Because it never gets better than the real thing.


Nicole said...

So true! Great post, Laura. I don't know how to do a thing with Photoshop...which is probably a good thing. ;)

Lori said...

Amen girl!! It's a GREAT day when you can FINALLY let go of the feeling that you can't measure up to others. I'm 45, I have 3 kids AND have had a hysterectomy (sorry if that's TMI) . I say all that to make the point that my body has served many purposes and it shows.....WHO CARES?? I will never look like Jennifer Anniston , but that's ok. I look like a mom...no, a woman......hear me roar. Lol

Vintage Paints said...

Your daughter is gorgeous and so are you!! Great topic!

Kammy's Korner said...

Okay, so I have some photos of myself that I'd like you to redo for me!!!! haha, j/k... sort of! :) Seriously though, that was an amazing post. And your daughter is gorgeous - even and especially - in the before shot! Thanks for being so real!!

p.s. I think this has been bothering me too because the other night I had a nightmare of these two beauty salon ladies holding me down and slicing my face open to make me look better - it was awful! haha

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