From Our Readers
Updated April 18, 2015 9:08 am

There’s a photo on my Facebook page that I look terrible in. In it, I’m sporting a makeup-free, oversized sweater, disheveled hair, awkward angle look. I hate how I look in it. But I’m not going to take it down.

It’s not that the “Allow on Timeline” button tucked discreetly in the top right corner doesn’t taunt me. How easy it would be to simply press that button and poof, all the awkwardness gone. How many times I have taken that very action before.

But wrapped around my oversized sweater in that photo is a baby carrier, and inside that is my tiny two-month-old nephew—his cheeks puffy, and his little mouth squeezed into a pout. It’s that sweet little bundle that stops me in my tracks as I’m about to click. As I look at that photo, I remember that day I spent with my sister. At the time, my appearance was the furthest thing from my mind. I’m at once proud to be an aunt to such a delightful little boy, and ashamed that I almost sent this photo into oblivion.

While I may not look perfect, the beauty of that photograph is that it’s honest. That is what I look like sometimes. That is what I look like when I hung out with my wonderful, sweet little nephew.

I’m not condemning Instagram filters or staging photos. (I, personally, love that our generation takes a more creative and artistic approach to sharing our lives with one another). But let this be an open invitation to everyone to step out from behind the Facebook façade, and let ourselves been seen every once and a while, disheveled hair and all.

It’s so easy to create a persona through social media where you disappear beneath a mask of supposed perfection: your hair just-right, your lipstick expertly applied. But I know that I need the reminder our lives are still beautiful, even when they’re little messy and imperfect.

So I didn’t take down that perfectly imperfect photo of myself, partly because I love the part of me that is an aunt. And I hope that letting myself be seen in a less perfect light might encourage someone else to leave up that photo that they’re second-guessing. Maybe if we all let ourselves be seen a little more honestly, we could cultivate a safer environment for sharing the truth about ourselves, the things that aren’t as photogenic, but just as beautiful. We can encourage one another that the simple acoustic versions of our life are just as lovely and valuable as the amped up electronic version—and maybe more so.

Kathryn Watkins is a freelance writer, crafter, nanny, and lifelong lover of words who calls the Seattle area home. You can find her on a typical day with her laptop open, surrounded by books, and probably petting her dear cat, Loki

(Image via Shutterstock)