I cut bangs yesterday. Well, this time, I had a professional at Mancuso Salon, across the street from my law office, cut my bangs. You see friends, I have a history of drinking wine and taking paper scissors to the front of my hair to create that "edgy, bad ass Lauren" look to reflect my insides. That choice always goes badly for me. I regret it almost immediately and tell my friends, "next time I say I want bangs, remind me that I definitely don't want bangs."
"I think I'm going to get bangs," I reported to my office earlier this week. Because my staff genuinely cares for my well being (and know very well how this potential decision can affect their well being at the office - more complaining than usual from the ol' boss lady), they immediately reminded me I should not do that. I showed them the pictures I had pinned from Pinterest...
"But look, my hair can do this. This can work this time," I declared confidently.
"That's what you said the last time," replied Benjamin. He's right, I did.
"It's going to be different this time, I know it!"
Trying to convince me that I'm wrong might be the most difficult task anyone can undertake. Certainly when I am wrong about something, I admit it and move on from it eventually. I have been very, very wrong about many, many things. "Trump is never going to make it past the GOP Primary." Wrong. "A lease is fine. I definitely won't go over my miles in the first 18 months I drive the car." Wrong again.
So I felt for my co-workers and my amazing boyfriend as I sat in my stylist's chair and watched 6 inches of hair fall in front of me. Bangs. Boom. There I was. New look, new attitude.
It amazes me that all it takes to remind me I'm a bad- ass- lady- lawyer- boss- babe is to change my look a little. I thought the tattoo I got last November would do the trick, but when I tell people what it is, a Celtic Mother Daughter symbol, the reaction I get is not "Whoa! That's bad ass," it's, "That is so sweet." No people, tattoos are not sweet. Damnit! (When my mom saw it, she had a different reaction of course. And now I can't be buried in a Jewish cemetery since I've desecrated my body and stuff. Sorry mom. I'm probably too bad ass for a Jewish cemetery anyway, membership in my HS Marching Band, notwithstanding.)
Pleased with my new look, I took a selfie. I have so many photographer friends, I have picked up a few pointers on lighting so I turned around awkwardly and shot my selfie. Pretty, pretty, pretty good if you ask me. Then I did what any self respecting middle-aged bad ass woman would do, I filtered it and posted it on Instagram.
Then I sent it as a text to Benjamin and some of my closest friends. The compliments poured in from all over - "Love it!" "Sexy" "You look beautiful..." My expanding head was deflated back to its normal proportions when Benjamin responded:
"Did you use a filter?"
Him: "Don't lie to me."
Me: "Fine. Yes. I filtered it to post it on Instagram." (Note: Instagram filters are really flattering, especially if you adjust the light and color...)
Benjamin knows me and is also intimately familiar with my face. Specifically, he is fully conscious of the field of zits inhabiting my chin following this months break-out, that happened to be missing from this photo - makeup helps hide them, but they are a vicious gang of hormone induced jerks. The largest of the group, the leader, is an angry zit that communicates in three languages. It's disturbing.
In any case, my admission that I filtered and doctored my photo brought on immense guilt. Would a true bad-ass lady post a misleading photo of herself just to get compliments from the social media community? I felt like a jerk. Not only am I not getting buried in a Jewish cemetery, but I'm letting down feminists and woman-kind. Why did I even get out of bed today? (I remember, because it was bangs day.)
I proceeded to try to redeem my reputation, at least with my best friend and love of my life, and sent him the original, unfiltered version of the photo. Really, it wasn't that bad. You can kind of see the zits (yay for Younique BB Cream and cover-up) and you can definitely see that my face isn't smooth or laugh-line/wrinkle free as the filtered version would make you believe. I vowed to Benjamin that I would clear up my misleading photo with a blog post, and here we are.
Here's the thing: I don't know a lot of celebrities or even friends who don't use a filter when they post a photo on social media these days. The technology exists to make ourselves look younger, thinner, prettier, smarter (You can actually add glasses to your face on Snapchat and some other apps), so why shouldn't we use it? And we're all doing it. What's the harm?
The harm is, we are all living by comparison and hurting ourselves emotionally and mentally. We are so obsessed with what everyone else looks like or has in their lives because of social media, that we worry ourselves - make ourselves sick over it whether we realize it or not.
The filtered, Facebook lives of some of our friends would make us believe they are happy, sun-kissed, smooth - skinned, fit-model millionaires. And we are big, wrinkled, frizzy haired, poor losers with boring lives, crappy jobs and terrible kids. Newsflash friends- that's all a bunch of crap! All of it.
Here's the thing, only the most honest, good humored, bad-ass, balls to the wall, people out there will ever admit to the world of social media that things aren't going that great. Sure, we've got those friends who occasionally surf Pinterest at night searching for quotes and memes to passively aggressively inform our loved ones that "We deserve better than this." (Me) And we have those friends who over-share stories of the horrors of child-rearing at times giving the impression that the State should probably intervene. (Also me). The rest of us are wimps. We are. Or more accurately perhaps, we don't want to burden the world with news of how crappy our day just went or how bad our hair looks. Social Media typically reflects the very best moments in people's lives.
It's not that we are lying about our lives on social media or intentionally misleading people (I hope), it's just that we want to share the things we are most proud of - we ran an ultra race, graduated from college, our kid kicked ass at his piano recital, it's our anniversary, no one threw up today (moms, you feel me). But the filters change that concept. Now, we're being a little misleady (not a word, I know, just work with me language purists.).
And I'm not judging. I'm not saying don't filter. I'm not saying I'm going to stop filtering my posted pictures when necessary. What I am saying is, don't believe the "fake news" that you see and for the love of Peter Griffin, do not let that sh*t get you down. Envy is a dangerous vice. Please don't get caught up in other people's fantasy worlds and believe you are somehow inferior or insignificant in your life. Don't compare, even though it is so difficult to avoid those feelings.
See through the filters, click on "like" (because that is the polite thing to do) and remember we are all just trying to do our best to get by each day. Then jump over to Snapchat and take a bad ass selfie of yourself as an adorable woodland creature. Life can never be that bad when you are disguised as a little bunny.