You know that person that uses the same picture from ten years ago on all their social media profiles? That picture than shows them 15 pounds lighter, not as wrinkled, and probably at a wedding or some other special occasion where they are made up or dressed to the nines? That person may have a body image issue or at least a problem living in the NOW. That person may or may not be you, but many people have this issue.
It’s heartbreaking to me that many people choose a photo from their more distant past as their profile photos. It’s like they can’t accept or acknowledge fully where they are today. Our whole personhood is not dictated by one image. There’s no perfect image of us. We change each day. Too many of us privilege that “one special photo” of us and can’t stop to appreciate the beauty of our maturation, the beauty of our experience. Some are even ashamed to put up a more current photo because of how they think others will react to their picture.
The next time you’re tempted to put up a photo from your not-too-recent-past as a profile photo, question your motives. Are you trying to escape what you perceive to be your shortcomings in the present? Do you feel the pressures of ageism? Do you feel like the past was somehow better? Our social profiles are now the face we show to the world. Less and less, we interact in person. Computing has diminished the need to go to coffee with someone. We can chat through a small window. We don’t have to give someone our full attention if we don’t care to. That small chat window also tricks us into believing that we somehow “save face”. We can project that idealized version of ourselves from 10 or 15 years ago without much consequence.
It’s time to embrace who we are today, with our wrinkles and cellulite, with all the “flaws”. We are more than one image, frozen in time. We are living, breathing, maturing, evolving persons and we should all celebrate who we are NOW, today.