I made a big decision when I decided to rebrand, and that was to show up online as I actually am. I don’t have much choice at live events, lol. But as you know, it’s possible to curate the crap out of your online appearance if you so choose.
I’ve owned my own business since 2000 and the business culture, especially female, is very clear that you need to look a certain way to be accepted and trusted as a guide: slender, pretty, professionally made up, coiffed, dressed stylishly and appropriately, and photo-shopped to your “best”.
I know that in one sense this is perfectly true. I know there is a genuine science, even an art, to attracting clients and social media followers by presenting a particular “look”.
In deciding not to do that, I put my trust in something deeper: real life. Believing I had to hide my visible flaws from the people I was reaching out to felt a little painful and even a little dishonest (not to mention anxiety-producing!)
So I chose a photographer who loves natural light and eschews photoshop. She “got me” and my mission right away and I trusted her to capture what was really there in the ways I show up in the world – with my dog, teaching in bare feet, working out, cracking up – the whole shebang.
I did my own make up (just powder and lipstick) and hair, wore my own clothes, shot in my own house and my teaching studio, in natural light.
Natural lighting showed my age. Being shot in all those settings showed my whole body, not just the carefully posed “thin” angles. It made me feel vulnerable.
I know I’m going out on a limb doing this in an Instagram age. I know I’ll lose a big potential audience by showing up as I am – a middle-aged woman who carries extra weight.
But I have to ask my women: how can we make any progress with personal change if our ideal is an exception?
There is a HUGE gap between our painful view of our “ugliest self” shuffling around in an old bathrobe with cellulite or sagging breasts, and the fit and flawless Barbie beauties that seem to dominate every form of American media.
Here’s the deal – there are high costs to both ends of that spectrum – and there’s a LOT of possibility between them.
Focusing on or needing to hide all our “ugly flaws” carries a high cost – in being invisible in the family story because you don’t want your picture taken, in body aches and rapid aging because you’re too ashamed to go to a gym, in getting unhealthier because eating junk or drinking wine are the only pleasures you allow yourself.
But being a body-beautiful is also an expensive choice. It costs a LOT of time and effort – in the gym, in intensive and costly food prep, in staying on top of every fashion trend, in cash for make-up, clothes, hair, nails. It can rob you of relaxation, make you fearful of aging, and suck all your time and energy into a single focus – leaving you feeling drained and anxious.
The truth is that the greatest potential for good health and life satisfaction lies somewhere in the middle of those two poles of “lost cause” and “perfect”.
In this age of the visual, it’s so easy for your self-image to get hijacked by the extremes – stuck on some society ideal while trash-talking the mirror.
But physical appearance can’t give you the whole picture. My website pictures don’t show you how fit I actually am, how I pretty much dance out of bed in the morning or how deeply I savor my loving relationships.
Wouldn’t it be amazing to unglue ourselves from the extremes of the “ugliest” and the “prettiest” and just get on with making the kinds of small, power-packed changes that make us look and feel better than we do right now…?
Imagine waking up in a few weeks and actually feeling some real energy in the morning. Imagine getting all the way up the stairs without your joints aching, or looking in the mirror to see an actual glow on the face looking back at you.
These things and more are totally within your grasp.
It is completely possible to feel and look better with small consistent steps over time.
Let me introduce you to a new, gentler approach to getting more out of your life with my totally do-able lifestyle change program, the MeBoot – the Me Reboot. It’s designed for those of us who find our best life, love and laughs somewhere in the middle.
Learn more about it HERE.
If you’d like to check out the naturally beautiful work of my lifestyle photographer, Jen Brister, find it here: https://storyandgold.com/