This is clearly the selfie era.
Don’t worry, all you, self- proclaimed selfie queens, the purpose of this blog is to not come against you.
Shoot! This last year, I’ve dabbled in the world of selfies, and I am unquestionably not good at it.
I have come to the conclusion, certainly after many fails, that it -undeniably- takes some skills to take a picture that is worthy of posting on Facebook and/or Instagram.
I applaud selfie experts and their ability to get that “just right” angle, and selecting a fitting filter that captures that flawless face look.
It just doesn’t work for me.
Perhaps, it has to do with my distinct Puerto Rican features- my bitty eyes, my narrow, long nose, or my pointed chin. But, I wouldn’t trade them.
Combined they give me a “look”. A look that I actually love and appreciate.
Together It says that I am stern, confident, strong and determined. My “look” has won wars for me. I didn’t need to say a word, all it took was my “look.”
Now, my smile. It is a dead give away.
My smile reveals my caring, sensitive, compassionate, and sympathetic heart, that loves to minister to the broken-hearted.
I know many feel that those that take selfies are self-centered, self-absorbed, self- admiring, or just plain vain.
I wouldn’t consider myself vain. My appearance is something I do take pride in.
It is true, that I rarely walk out of my house without applying my “True Red” lipstick, drawing my much needed eyebrows, and wearing something fashionable (at least to me).
I love clothes, especially fall clothes- long, fluffy sweaters, colorful scarfs, & all types of boots.
Is that vain of me? I don’t think so.
But recently, I had to face this awful, appalling, animal in the mirror.
And, so the story goes…
This summer I had to pay a visit to the doctor. I had a HUGE blister on my lip, and I needed medicine.
My PCP has been my doctor since I was 12 years old. Back in the day, I was a skinny, bony girl that weighed a whopping 85 pounds (seriously- like dripping wet.)
I can recall the one visit when my mom begged my doctor to prescribe me a vitamin. One that would help me gain some weight.
Now fast forward to almost 30 years later, and my doc. tells me-
“Rosabel, you’re getting up on that scale.”
Unbelievable. Here I was with a fat lip, and he is nicely telling me that I am FAT.
Talk about kicking me when I’m down.
I left the office with my fat lip dragging on the floor.
When I got home, I took my medicine and went straight to bed.
When the alarm from my iPhone went off the following morning, I quickly remembered my blister on my lip.
I grabbed my iPhone from the nightstand. I tapped the camera app, and I tapped the reversal icon. From the looks of it, it appeared like I was going to take a selfie, but on the contrary, I was merely using my phone as a mirror (you know you’ve done it.)
The blister on my lip was still huge. I felt so bummed and disappointed. I was hoping it would have shrunken overnight. I didn’t like being seen in public like this.
As I laid in the bed, I thought about my eighth grade students, especially one in peculiar, Robert.
Since the first week of summer school, Robert had been announcing to the class that he was going to “roast”* me on the last day of summer school (* that’s kid speak for to poke fun at) .
Robert was the designated class clown. He was quick and witty with his words. A few times, I had to refrain myself from laughing at his untimely, yet amusing remarks in class.
As I looked at myself, I knew that this fat lip was great ammo for Robert. I could hear him- “Why wait until next week. Mrs. Sanchez, I am going to roast you now.”
Yeah, I am staying home- I thought. The school could get a substitute teacher to cover my class.
But then, I recalled the book we were reading in class. “Wonder” by R.J. Palacio
The book was about a boy named August, who was born with a deformed face. And, all he wanted was for everyone to treat him like an ordinary kid.
For weeks, as a class, we had been discussing how shallow and unkind the world could be. How quick we are to notice when others look different. And, at times, respond rudely or insensitively towards them by staring, pointing, and whispering.
If I really believed in what I have been teaching, than I needed to model it. So, I did what I knew I had to do.
I went to work with my fat lip, covered with Blistex … not my “True Red” lipstick.
I explained to the class, that I had a fat lip because of my fever. To my pleasant surprise, the students were quite empathetic. Not one of them commented on my lip. Yes, not even the class clown, Robert.
And, for some reason, Robert decided to not roast me on the last day of summer school. Instead, he asked me to attend his summer school graduation. I think he actually was fond of my as his teacher.
Growing up, I didn’t really like how I looked. I struggled with my appearance. Obviously, all of the bullying I endured didn’t help. I also struggled in believing I was well able to accomplish the things I set my mind to.
My tough upbringing cultivated a resilient attitude. Regardless of the obstacles, I learned to persevere and accomplish my dreams.
But, I still was a broken and wounded woman.
It took me years, to love/accept all of me and to believe that I was more than capable and deserving of great things.
You see, the world around us is fixated in setting the bar. It wants to determine what is good, acceptable, and perfect.
Don’t be fooled.
Life isn’t about looking a certain way, having certain things, or accomplishing certain things.
It’s not about making comparisons or competitions.
Life is about loving the skin your in and embracing God’s plan for your life.
It’s about looking in the mirror and seeing what the creator sees. Like the scripture says, we are “wonderfully made, and his works are wonderful!”
It’s wrong of us to ever see less than wonderful.
So, next time you look in the mirror, or line up that selfie, please take off the worldly glasses and it’s standard of beautiful.
And, I pray you will see what He sees, and embrace the body He gave you. Not because it’s perfect, but because it’s yours.
“I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.” Psalm 139.14