Our society is obsessed with our visual aesthetic.
In my Media Studies class, we studied the eras of media and how that has shaped the society we’re in. In the past, we had an oral culture move to print to radio and now to electronic. Now more than ever, we are a visual society.
We are all so into the aesthetically pleasing life. We scroll through Instagram looking at all the feeds with presets to make their lives look as beautiful as possible. Our rooms are spotless, our outfits are thoroughly thought out and our makeup is always done to perfect. Every little thing needs to be picture perfect to portray the idea that we have everything today.
It’s easy to see the draw of this visual culture. We get to show off the amazing parts of our lives, and celebrate them! Personally, I love showing off the parts of life that I enjoy.
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In addition to the visual culture, we love to hustle and grind. We all have tons of goals we want to achieve – these better selves we wish we could be. Lose weight, 4.0 GPA, Glow Up, and more. With our visual culture, we need only to turn on our phones to look at people in the places we desire to be. Those with the perfect bodies, exotic vacation photos, people who are celebrating success at every turn.
We all want to curate our lives, make them look as picture perfect as possible, be as happy as possible, endless curation. Who doesn’t want perfection or happiness? The thing is – when we see these messages and we look around us, we see the world of people striving to be better than their current selves.
There is this incessant striving, this need to always be improving ourselves. It’s toxic. We become exhausted, our efforts only lead to more striving. In this striving, we lose focus on the right now.
I don’t enjoy my present, no abs self because I keep telling her she’s not good enough for me. And honestly, when I do have abs, what’s to stop me from wanting the perfect hair, perfect car, perfect apartment? No matter how long I try to satiate my desire to be perfect, it’ll never be enough.
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This is curation culture. We pick what and how and when to show different parts of our lives. Every aspect of our lives have become something that we need to fit perfectly with the other aspects. It’s starting to feel like our lives are on display – but for whose benefit? What do we gain when we let the whole world in? What do we get when we mold ourselves to as close to perfection as possible? We become clay in the hands of the world.
What if we could just let go of the imperfect mess for just one second? Right now, settle into the chipped nails, the gross planner with too many tasks, the unwashed hair, the you alone in a crowd of people. For a second, let your reality be what it is.
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Let yourself be present in the “mess.” If we move past this too quickly, we miss out what we could learn from this moment. We miss the opportunity to let people love us in our ugly. We are worthy even when we aren’t picture perfect, when we don’t have thousands of likes of Instagram.
Stop believing the lie that culture tells you – that when you reach your “perfect” self, you’ll be happy. That lie will always lead to chase what is right in front you. You miss the chance to be grateful in the moment that is now. You have accomplished so much, and you haven’t let yourself be proud of where you are now.
Let yourself have this moment now. Before you pick up the pieces of your life, so you can take the perfect Instagram picture for the sake of curation. Just be.
What parts of your life do you tend to make Instagram perfect, living in a curation culture? What lies are you believing about yourself?