I keep a picture pinned to my wall next to my desk. It’s of me. It has one of those filters on it to make it look like a cartoon and over that, I have the words “You Should Be Writing.” It’s just a reminder to myself that I have some really cool ideas locked inside my head, and I’ll never get them out if I don’t at least try to write. I love looking at the picture. It allows me to see myself as having infinite possibilities. What is a cartoon without the “anything can happen” rule, right? The original picture was a selfie that I took on the day I “officially” got married. (Together for 17 years and, all of a sudden, Alabama doesn’t want to recognize common law marriage, but that’s another story.) Objections to the whole “legally” married notion aside, it was a very good day and that’s another reason to love the picture. Not that we had a wedding or anything — we just went to the courthouse — but I did want to look nice, so I was wearing a lot of makeup. “Why does any of this matter,” you ask. Well, I’m glad you asked. It’s to illustrate my many facades. In a world where everything can be filtered, it can be easy to forget the real you.

There will be several pictures of me throughout this post. The photo at the top of the page is the cartoony one that I’ve already been rambling about. I love it! Infinite possibilities. This is how I see myself when I’m writing. The world bows down to me. It bends to my every whim. It does… Really. This is because it is my own world where I can create and do what I want. It’s mine. In this universe, I see myself through an extreme filter. I think that it’s part of the creative process, you know, to make myself stand out. After all, that’s the ultimate goal in writing — finding my own, unique voice and having it matter.

The next picture is the actual picture from the day that I got married. It is filtered too though if you think about it. I know that there are plenty of women out there who put on full makeup religiously. I have the utmost respect for them because that is some dedication that I just can’t find within myself. It’s a filter because I don’t look like that every day. It is how I think I should look in more formal situations. If I think that there is some significance to the occasion, I am going to put on a full face. I also find that when I present myself like this, I become a much more demure woman (unless it’s just my husband and me — all bets are off then). This is me in my ultimate filtered form.

This picture is me on a day where I want to portray myself as normal. I will usually put on a little makeup if I feel unstable somehow — whether that be on the hypomanic side or the depressed side — in my mind, I need a mask. How I came to this notion that a little makeup covers up the instability, I don’t know. Maybe it just makes me feel a little better about myself. I see a more normal person — whatever that is — staring back at me in the mirror. At any rate, it’s just another filter.

Last picture, I promise. I know… I know… I take a lot of selfies. This is me — no filter — though. This is me on a normal day. I very rarely wear makeup. I’ve tried to wear it on a regular basis before. It just doesn’t last. If you were to meet me on the street or come to where I work, nine times out of ten, this is how you would be greeted. Unfiltered, I use the word “fuck” like it’s punctuation. If I’m feeling depressed, I wear it on my face. Bliss emanates through every pore when I’m happy. I might look prettier with foundation and eyeliner, but that doesn’t make me happier. A dolled up face is sometimes just a facade. It is with me at least. How do you look with no filter?

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