Though I got the app very early on, it has taken me quite a while to get on the SnapChat bandwagon. It sat mostly unused on my phone. I’d check it every now and then, to follow entertaining folks much braver than I who would post content (thank you Hal Sparks, Constantine Maroulis and Travis DesLaurier.) But it wasn’t my go-to choice for communication like Facebook and Twitter, where I’ve developed a following over the years who are quite used to my brand of Gingerness.
SnapChat, however, is a more visual medium that, quite frankly, intimidates me. 140 characters: I got. Memes and rants? No problemo. With words, I have absolute confidence and zero fear. I’m a Word Warrior who feels completely safe and protected behind twenty-six letters I get to construct however I think they will work best. If I use pictures to make my point, they are very rarely of me. Words are my weapon of choice and my favorite tools, shaping me endlessly into the version of me I see inside my own head.
Me, face to face however, creates a lot of self-doubt and, by default, an enormous amount of fear. If I’m comfortable with you, and you’ve passed my many mental hurdles to get over the wall to let you see The Real Me, I’m a completely different person than when you first meet me. I’m louder, more outspoken, I’ll crack jokes and step over the line and just be, well… me in all my muchness.
Getting there is the trick. I’m a stubborn onion. Peeling back those layers is no easy task.
Needless to say, putting SnapChats out there to a wide audience wasn’t a skill I was too eager to acquire, especially when several people on my list are people I’d like to impress with the Put Together Me, rather than the Awkward Goofy Real Me. It’s very much like Peter Parker vs. Spider-Man. Will you still like me without my mask?
These are the big questions, folks.
When I decided to embark on the Selfie Journey a bit ago, I decided I’d just tackle my fear and use SnapChat anyway. I’d be as myself as I had the courage of being, which, most of the time, indulges a very silly side that just wants to make folks laugh. SnapChat filters are a great way to do this and I’ve fallen passionately in love with them.
However, if you’re hyper-critical of your image and super vigilant what others get to see, it’s a continuing test of endurance. I’m that chick from Seinfeld, remember, who is only attractive a fraction of the time. I can take fifteen identical photos and only one will make the grade because of one microscopic difference, which makes me feel more comfortable posting it for the world to see. Some I think, “Wow. I’m actually pretty here,”
Others… well… I can only make a face and hope for the best.
And I’ve come to realize it’s not just a me thing. I think it’s a girl thing. I went to a Girls Only party not too long ago where we took group pictures with girls of varying shapes, sizes and ages. How those photos were debated and reshot kinda made me giggle. Women I regarded as way more attractive than me still policed their image with vigor. Where I shrugged and let it go, they were the ones insisting on a do-over.
It reinforced the need for this experiment. I need to be comfortable with all of me because true change kind of involves all of me. And all of me is worth it, no matter what lies I’ve been telling myself my entire life.
That Internal Voice, man. It’s such a liar. And a dream-blocking bitch.
That’s why I’ve kind of combined my new SnapChat life a little with Mel Robbins’ “5 Second Rule.”
Here’s another thing about me. I over-analyze EVERYTHING. And, most times, I let opportunities to go after what I really want to just pass me by.
There’s a simple philosophy of life that says:
So many times that demonic little voice inside my head will talk me out of all three of those simple directives, particularly the “asking for what I want” part. For some reason, this has been the single hardest lesson in life for me to learn. It’s probably because I’ve had to self-nurture so much throughout my life that I simply don’t trust anyone anywhere to find my wants/needs as important as I do, so I never bother anyone with them.
I don’t ask. I don’t call. I don’t make the first move. Never, ever, ever. If I can do anything, whatever it is, on my own, that’s my sweet spot. Having to ask anyone for anything, ever? Not so much.
This is the one area I’ve finally begun to make headway, thanks in part to my job. I’ve started asking for what I want. Demanding what I need. Taking a stand. Saying the thing, whatever it is, that pops in my head, before that Internal Chatterbox wakes up and hits the pause button.
I decided to use this philosophy, then, with something that intimidates me most: Snapchat. It is all for singular purpose. It’s time I fall in love with me.
I’ve met me. I’m a great gal. I have a lot of cool qualities. I’d want to be friends with someone like me. So why am I so freaking hard on myself?
Oh, right. The image thing.
With every picture I post, I figure people are going to see it, realize I’m the Ugly Chick and bail. It’s a terrifying notion, but I’ve decided to feel the fear and do it anyway. And I usually don’t debate about it. I create the Snap and I post before I lose my nerve.
It’s a mitigated risk at best, considering Snaps are temporary and most of the time, unless you check the feed every day, my small following won’t even see all the Snaps I post. They’re viewed once and gone, like a whisper floating along on a breeze.
Interestingly enough, my Inner Editor has chilled the fuck out as a result. Instead of one of fifteen shots, it’s usually now one of maybe three. I’ll take several and then decide which one I want to post and just go for it.
You’re gonna love me or hate me regardless. Why not have a little fun?
Before this experiment, my sending a goofy Snapchat to someone I want to impress was UNTHINKABLE. Yet, now I’ve done it. I debated for exactly two seconds and sent it anyway.
It didn’t get reciprocated, but that wasn’t the point. I can’t control how people view/receive me. That’s never been my job, and thank God – because it would be an impossible one. To some folks, I’m the Ugly Chick 100% of the time, and there’s nothing I can do about it. They can like, look, follow or unfollow as they wish.
That cannot and should not stop my fun.
I’ve begun the arduous practice of divorcing my feelings from my image and just letting it go. SnapChat is the perfect place for this, given these filters can often be ridiculous. No one is aiming for hotness with some of these. It’s equal opportunity ugly, and that’s kind of my jam.
And guess what? It’s been a helluva lot of fun. I’ve started to incorporate things and people and music and sheer creativity, and it’s become more than just a monument to my image.
It can be fun…
It can be goofy…
It can even be sexy…
It’s a part of me, all of me, and that’s not a bad thing.
That I finally got my bestie on board so we Snap each other ENDLESSLY is just the cherry on top. Although I do worry about posting some of those Snaps, intended for the eyes of someone who loves me and who doesn’t judge, going on my main story for the world to see, most of the time I double-post anyway.
I’m never going to feel like showing myself to the world. It’s an intensely vulnerable feeling, especially for someone who has been so badly victimized in the past.
But I’m getting there. And, ironically, Snapchat is helping me get there, helping me fall in love with all parts of me, whether masked…
And, for bonus points, I’m now posting these photos on places like Facebook so they *don’t* go away.
Take that, fear. You’re not the boss of me.
As for the weekly weigh-in, I’m holding steady despite recurring back pain, which even resulted in a lost day of work this week. Next week I should have an update from the doctor, which scares me even more than public selfies.