Proud2Bme | But First, Let Me Edit My Selfie

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But First, Let Me Edit My Selfie

By Bailey Anderson--For me, one of the hardest parts of recovery was reappearing after treatment, in public and online, as a healthier me. Since being weight recovered, I have spent an excessive amount of time policing my online profiles, maintaining control over who takes my photo, and only selectively allowing them to appear on social media.

After treatment I was terrified of what people would think and say when they saw my once emaciated face filled in, and my revived body filling out my clothes. Ashamed and fearful, I sat at home, nostalgically clinging to old photos of the “thin me” and clothes that would never fit me again.

Although my struggles with the self-promoting Internet world stemmed directly from my personal recovery process, the overarching problem extends even beyond those who suffer from eating disorders. The broader issue is that the Internet has become a platform to advertise and seek approval of our appearances; and this has only been exacerbated by the “selfie” phenomenon.  

If you are feeling particularly beautiful and confident or proud of what you are doing or where you are, there is absolutely nothing wrong with sharing it on social media. But is that the driving force behind selfies? Or are people spending hours of their lives finding the perfect lighting, angle, crop, and filter merely to reach a record amount of “likes.” How many people are spending unnecessary time manipulating photos, like I was, in order to justify what they look like and control how others perceive them?

Just as we object to celebrities being excessively and unrealistically photo-shopped for magazine covers, we should not allow ourselves to police, manipulate, and edit our own images to the extent that they are no longer an accurate reflection of who we are.

I put years of hard work into my recovery and then tried to hide it; instead, I should have been proud to be alive and healthy. One of the biggest steps in my recovery process and in my quest for a healthier and more authentic me, was to rid my social media and personal photo archive of any old photos highlighting my lowest weight. No more “throw back Thursday,” no more “transformation Tuesday.” I do not need to remind my friends how thin I was in order to justify how healthy I have become.

We must all let go of what we looked like in the past, quit fixating on our goals for our bodies in the future, and embrace who we are right now—because right now is good enough. If we are going to share ourselves with social media, let’s share our reality, and not a cropped, filtered version it—because reality is enough. YOU are enough.

About this blogger:  Bailey is currently pursuing her Juris Doctor (JD) at Creighton University School of Law. After spending years in all levels of eating disorder treatment, she is happy to have reached a point in her recovery where she is able to pursue this opportunity to support and encourage others.

More about selfies:

#Selfies: Toxic or Empowering?

The Selfie Project

Lena Dunham and the Body Positive Workout Selfie

Facebook discussion

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Proud2Bme is an online community created by and for teens. We cover everything from fashion and beauty to news, culture, and entertainment—all with the goal of promoting positive body image and encouraging healthy attitudes about food and weight.

This site was developed in partnership with Riverduinen and made possible by generous contributions from JPMorgan Chase, Globant, the University of Delaware, and The Hilda & Preston Davis Foundation.

Proud2Bme was first launched in the Netherlands by Riverduinen, a mental health organization that has licensed the concept to the National Eating Disorders Association. Unless otherwise noted, all original content on this site is copyright The National Eating Disorders Association. The Proud2Bme brand, logos, and trademarks are property of Rivierduinen.