I follow an amazing woman on social media by the name of Anna Victoria. Anna is a personal trainer who empowers others to be their best selves. One of the things she regularly posts are her “2 seconds apart” pictures where two photos are posted side by side, one usually the picture of perfection fitness pose and the other is a relaxed pose with the caption “2 seconds apart”. She says she posts these side by sides to tell people to love themselves in every way, not just in the posed pictures. This got me thinking. What other “2 second apart” examples are there and how can we embrace all the parts of our lives, even the ones that are less than ideal? I am totally guilty of seeing pictures on social media and instantly wishing my life was “more like that”, but I know full well that that’s just one moment out of their day and that more than likely it wasn’t that perfect for the other 23 hours and 59 minutes. I think we all know deep down that the majority of the photos we see of our friends and family on social media are only snap shots of their highlight reel, so why is there such a disconnect between what we see and how it makes us feel? Why is it that for the most part our emotional reaction doesn’t match our intellectual knowingness and what can we gain by diving a little deeper?
2 Seconds Apart…There was a period of time after I had both my sons that I had a considerable amount of weight to loose to “get back to my pre baby weight”. I had gained 50 and 40 pounds with each pregnancy. This is actually when I found Anna Victoria because I had purchased her fitness plan to help get back on track. The statement “get back to my pre baby weight” never sat well with me though and she really made me think of myself in a better way. I tried to appreciate what my body had gone through to crate this little life and give myself allowance to just feel good about where I was. With time I learned to love myself just as I was and ultimately wanted to loose some weight because I knew my body would feel better without it. My first photo I took for this post was a fitness inspired one. Side note: it took about 18 photos to get a good posed shot. I will have to put a blooper reel together to post all the ones that didn’t make it and we can sit and drink wine and laugh together about my ridiculousness. My ideal fitness scenario would be what I like to call the “European Fusion” workout: slow paced with wine and appetizers incorporated. This hasn’t quite caught on yet so in the meantime I do yoga and ride my bike around the neighborhood for my workouts and try to eat really clean because I seriously hate working out. The picture on the left took countless tries while sucking in and flexing. I think I look pretty damn good, but that’s not really what I look like all the time. No one walks around posing and flexing and not breathing! I am just like everybody else, I would love to have the tight abs and a perkier rear, but ultimately I am happy with where I am (relaxed and breathing especially) and I’m still happy if I gain a few pounds here and there.
2 Hours Apart…I love the pictures right after you step outside the salon. Your hair has never looked better and you have a pep in your step that you didn’t have going in. Insert the picture on the right. That IS NOT how I look when I wake up. I look like I do in the picture on the left. I am not the girl who is posting this that has tinted moisturizer, concealer and mascara on and claims I don’t have a stitch of make up on. No. I rolled out of bed with my still damp hair from washing it the night before and grabbed my phone to take this picture so I would be sure that I was being authentic to this post. You know what happened? I felt like I didn’t look that freaking bad! Almost every day I woke up and took a shower and looked in the mirror and picked myself apart. I thought I plucked my eyebrows too thin or my rosacea is so red or another zit has emerged. Why? That negative self talk is completely unnecessary and unkind. I’m not saying I’m regularly going out without make up now, but I am a little more lax about having a full face on before I leave my bedroom. Make up makes me feel good and feminine, but it shouldn’t make you feel less than beautiful without it on.
2 Seconds Apart…Ah my children. Aren’t they cute. Look how they are smiling and getting along. Look at how happy our home is….for this micro second of bliss. Literally two seconds later they were scratching each other and holding each other down until they were both crying. This is what parenting toddlers with siblings looks like. It’s a rollercoaster of emotional extremes and it’s hard to keep up! I see the pictures of other peoples kids coloring easter eggs or something like that and I just envision them frolicking in a field of daisies with their clean finger nails saying softly ‘I love you Mommy”. I know deep down that’s probably not what’s happening, but I can’t help but go there! We all want to know we aren’t alone when our kids act like they are remaking Alien vs Predator!
By now you get the point. I’m not saying that we shouldn’t put pictures of our best times in life out there. The point is that we have to begin the journey of figuring out how to find joy in exactly where we are however mundane. Celebrate simply feeling good in something you’re wearing not just the 5 pound weight loss because confidence is more attractive on someone than the physical impression. Embrace the messy bun hair not just the fresh out of the salon days because that looks good too! Look for little things that bring a smile to your face like the fact that there’s a Starbucks in some Targets now because, well, life! If we only put out A and Z people around us fill in the rest with assumptions based on the information they are given. This can deprive us of having meaningful, loving, supportive relationships. Pictures are wonderful and we should post them. They are what gets us through the crap in between the momentous picture worthy snap shots of our lives. They provide proof of our best memories created, but some reality thrown in the mix every now and then makes for great bonding opportunities. We are bonded by commonalities and I have a feeling our homes and lives look a lot more alike behind the lens than we think.