Today we expose ‘Susie Sunshine’ and ‘Donald Downer’.
There’s a trend growing which is prevalent today.
I call it “Photoshopped Lives”
Photoshop is defined as a way to alter (a digital image) with image-editing software, especially in a way that distorts reality (as for deliberately deceptive purposes). **
A recent article on Nicole Kidman caught my attention. She’s landed the cover on Vogue’s August edition and it has drawn much criticism. Many say her face looks ‘frozen’, unnatural, and over-airbrushed. What do you think?
Really? Unnatural? You don’t say?
I’m offended that everyone else is so offended. (Okay, I couldn’t help that. Being offended seems to be a new trend too, but I’ll save that for a future post.) Isn’t this type of image-editing commonplace today?
Further reading of opinions on Kidman’s picture reveal that most aren’t necessarily unhappy that it was photoshopped, or that she looks years younger than her actual age, but that it wasn’t done well.
Ahhh…..now it’s becoming clear.
I wasn’t entirely off base. Photoshopping HAS become an accepted norm, just don’t do a bad job! If you’re going to alter someone’s face or body, at least make it look BETTER than the original!
And this got me thinking.
How many of us deliberately alter how we portray our lives by intentionally distorting reality for deceptive purposes?
A heckuva a lot, that’s how many!
It’s a rampant epidemic and social media has provided convenient and ample opportunity. The temptation to hide behind pictures and words, pretending to be someone you’re not, is too much for many to resist.
But this is a harmful, destructive path. Keeping up false pretenses is an exhausting practice with no benefit. Underneath it all, there’s an ever-present emptiness. A loneliness. A wall separating you from those you love. Those who care about you. From God who desires a genuine relationship with you.
Photoshopped Lives seems to fall into two categories, ‘Susie Sunshine’ and ‘Donald Downer’.
Everything is always perfect! Her husband is just the best, regardless of the nasty things he says. Her kids are the cutest, smartest, most lovable little angels that ever walked, getting the best grades, being picked first for the school teams, and winning every class election. Her house is amazing, car is fabulous, and clothes are to die for. The pictures she posts show one incredible event after another. Everyone always gets along, the weather always cooperates, and front row seats are always available. The world is a stage and she LOVES to be front and center. An actress at heart, the mask of perfection is one she can’t put down. Upholding her reputation and family’s image is top priority. It’s all perfect!
And then you’ve got Donald Downer:
“Oh woe is me!” His boss hates him and his co-workers are lazy good-for-nothings. His wife spends too much money, is always gone, and puts him last on the priority list. The kids aren’t interested in anything he enjoys. Consequently, he’s alone most of the time. So he just works. Works at his job, works on the yard, works on home repairs, and works on being miserable. Social events are full of stupid people with mundane, irrelevant conversation. The coaches are unfair to his kids, the homeowner’s association has it out for him, and his wife’s best friend is turning her against him. His knees hurt, his eyesight is going, and his hair is falling out. Everyone else has a better life and he is just stuck in a bleh, unfufilling existence.
Susie’s world ain’t so perfect and Donald’s ain’t so bad. Assuming there are no severe emotional problems present, what can we surmise?
They are both looking for attention! But unfortunately, not healthy, helpful attention.
What’s the entire point of photoshopping? To gain interest and attention! If not, why would anyone bother?
But I would argue that the attention sought is not the kind of attention one will benefit from. You get what you give. If you give fake….well…..exactly.
I WANT REAL! Good, bad, or indifferent, I’ll take the worst truth over a good lie any day – something my Momma taught me!
- I want to know if your kid threw up in your purse on the way to the zoo. (Yup, my sister did this to my mom!)
- I want to know if you’re struggling with a son who is making poor choices and you need a loving, honest sounding board.
- I want to know if your marriage is rocky and you need encouragement and direction.
- I don’t require your house to be model perfect every time I walk in the door.
- I don’t want to see a frozen, fake, happy face when you are crumbling underneath.
- I want to know, if in spite of a job you don’t care for, that you actually had a decent day and your boss complimented you.
- I want to know your doctor said physical therapy would likely alleviate the majority of your knee pain.
- I’d love to hear about the fishing trip you and your kids took, and how it turned out to be a wonderful outing.
- I don’t enjoy someone who brings a scowl to every birthday party and sits in the corner sulking.
- I don’t respect someone who is completely ignorant to the abundant blessings in their life.
Why? Because I care about you and love you, and because I pray daily to be the kind of friend God calls me to be.
Things are rarely ‘ALL GOOD’ or ‘ALL BAD’, so when I see and hear this pattern, I’m immediately suspect that I’m not getting a real person. And this just doesn’t fly. It’s impossible to have a genuine relationship when things are genuinely fake.
Clearly, I’m not entirely alone.
The #1 comment I get on posts and blogs is, “Thank you for being real. For your transparency. For speaking truth.”
Thank you to those who crave and appreciate truth!
That’s what it comes down to.
Being honest doesn’t mean you should badmouth your husband when he’s been a jerk or announce when your wife ran up the credit card. It’s not about sharing every intimate detail or compromising trust. But stop pretending everything’s fine if it’s not, and stop whining about hardships if they really aren’t so hard.
And stop worrying about what things ‘look like’, and instead, take action to positively impact the outcome. Not only will you better the situation, but you’ll grow healthy, authentic relationships as well.
And your relationship with God will also flourish.
God sees right through your façade and this inhibits your relationship with Him. Truth is power. Truth is love. And truth is necessary for any worthwhile relationship. Keep God in the center and you’ll worry less about appearance and attention and more about walking in His will.
“I do not drive you to be what you are not. Concentrate on staying close to ME at all times. It is impossible to be inauthentic while you are focusing on My Presence.” – Sarah Young, Jesus Calling
Living a photoshopped life will drain your energy, steal your joy, and prevent genuine relationships. Instead, find peace and abundant blessings by living with truth.
“Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” John 8:32