The story behind a picture

The Story behind the picture


I posted this photo on social media the other day, in fact I made it into my profile picture. I am not a big “selfie” taker and honestly I generally dislike pictures of myself. I am frequently not photogenic. This is not me trying to put myself down I just have a knack for squinting or being caught making a weird facial expression in photographs.

I posted this photo because I really like it. It makes me feel confident. It makes me feel good about myself. And it showcases my strength and flexibility, which is something I have worked consistently on my entire life and I am proud of that. The act of posting it was all about me, I didn’t post it thinking of others. There was no weird message or hidden code I was trying to convey to people. It was simply a photo I liked of myself. Lots of people made really positive comments on the photograph, which was not what I was fishing for. However, it was certainly nice to receive positive comments (it always is).

A little while after a friend spoke to me about the picture, she was filled with mixed emotions. Nothing she said offended me or upset me, however, it did move me to think more deeply about things and write this post. The gist of the conversation was that she was feeling down about where she was at and even though she was really proud of where I was at (or where she guessed I was at based on this photograph), it had sort of made her feel even more down on herself.

I could actually completely relate. Social media can make you feel bad about yourself if you are in the wrong head space and I have certainly had moments where it has made me feel that way. There are definitely times where I think it is best to stay away from social media and I’d say we all tend to visit social media sites more often than we need.

They say a picture can paint a 1000 words and perhaps that is true. However, those words are subjective and abstract. They are created in the mind of the viewer and no doubts two people could look at the same picture and see completely different words. A picture can also leave out a lot.

I am going to share with you some of the story behind this picture. As I said it has told the story of confidence and strength that I felt in that moment (or maybe more so in the moment I looked at the picture). Here is what it doesn’t show.

The picture does not show:

1. My children running around in the background, including one who was very upset that I was not paying attention to her.

2. The other 100 photos that were taken that were not selected, because I was squinting, looked funny, were at a bad angle or revealed something of myself I didn’t like or find too flattering.

3. The constant effort I make to be physically active, to stretch, to keep up with my kids.

4. The gradual nature of my weight loss after having Summer, I didn’t bounce back in seconds or even weeks. It has taken me over a year to feel nearly back to normal.

5. The wrinkles, grey hairs or stretch marks I have gained over the years.

6. The years of training to hopefully become a Ballerina when I was younger and the disappointment when it all came crashing down due to injury.

7. The mess my house is in or the piles of laundry waiting for me to sort.

8. My car’s petrol tank on extra low and the funny smell it has had for weeks.

9. The challenges I have in some relationships.

10. My normal lack of confidence in my appearance which I have been working on.

I really like the picture but to be honest it doesn’t show a lot more than a fraction of a second of my life. It has been filtered to make it more flattering and less real. I am not trying to put down the picture at all, I really like. It is a fraction of a second of my life that I am proud of I guess you could say. But it was most definitely never intended to make anyone question their own achievements. It was not posted as a reference point or comparison point. I know I cannot control how others perceive me through my posts and that is okay. And I like to be “real” , but I can tell you for real I am not going to start posting the other hideous 100 photos for every good one taken.

My point is next time you feel down from social media step away, take a break and remind yourself a picture may tell a 1000 words but it doesn’t tell all the words. It is not showing life fluid, in motion. It is a brief, sometimes edited, sometimes filtered, snap shot. Our minds are powerful so next time you feel bad remind yourself that the picture is not the whole story and you have an awesome, worthy story to tell as well.

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend! (Anything fun planned?)

Jess xoxox

11 Responses to The story behind a picture

  1. First of all, I like the picture very much. As a martial artist currently working very hard at it, I know first hand the challenge of doing that position!

    Your back story is interesting and a wonderful sharing of what really goes on in all our lives regardless of that perfect moment that the camera may capture. It’s a good reminder that we all have our voyage, our moments of elation and grief, our humanity, and not to let social media fool us into thinking that there are perfect people out there living perfect lives in perfect land 🙂
    Dr. J recently posted…How Does She Eat So Much?: A Taxonomy of Food ShamingMy Profile

  2. Oh yes, I’m one to look at something on social media and draw all sorts of assumptions from it. I’ve regularly ditched Instagram because I’ve suffered from life envy.

    I don’t think you can control how others react to your pictures though. It still troubles me sometimes that I couldn’t have kids and occasionally I get a bit upset when I see cute baby pictures online or comments about kids… but I have to remind myself it’s nothing to do with me and I can’t take anything away from others’ joy.

    I like that pic of you and I do think you look strong and flexible. Of course if you were in a bikini showing off your taut abs or sixpack I might feel a bit depressed! 😉
    Deborah recently posted…Weekly check-inMy Profile

    • Very True Deb you can’t control others reactions, because they weigh in on so many factors that affecting them. And No taut six pack abs over here, just creepy post baby skin (which I don’t think I will be posting on social media).

  3. What a beautiful shot…
    I’ve often thought about my perceptions of what’s going on with others as being skewed because life is more like a movie and not just one frame from that movie. It’s too bad your friend allowed your lovely picture to make her feel worse (I’ve been guilty of the same) and it’s an awesome testament to your friendship that she felt comfortable sharing her thoughts with you. recently posted…Adventure Awaits!My Profile

  4. This is such a great post Jess (btw you look fabulous!). But I thought that that was brave of your friend to tell you that and I love the way you responded. They use to say that facebook was like brag book and I find IG, although I love it can be quite similar (as in there is no context). Love that you gave us context to this pic 🙂
    Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella recently posted…Win the Cooking With Kylie Kwong Dinner Range With Woolworths!My Profile

    • Yes it is a brag book really, and honestly for me I dont really put negative things up. Maybe I should? But ugh who wants to constantly be reminded of the ick in their lives.

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