I Never Wake Up Like That: The Work We Do to Look Effortless

Gala Darling, someone I like a great deal, wrote a post today called I Woke Up Like This: On Flawlessness, And Admitting The Effort Required.  It was pretty good, but it kind of pissed me off.  It's a reaction to a piece from The Cut, Why Not Admit We Didn't Wake Up Like This?, which is about how celebrities pretend that their lives are effortless, which leads to the cult of curation of our own lives, and the perfect lives we display on Instagram.

Everyone is kind of sick of it, because we know it's not real.

Let’s be straight-up: “effortless” is bullshit. Every woman I know is working herself to the bone. Even those of us on the lighter side of life — green juice-drinking, yoga pant-wearing, gratitude list-making — are toiling away to make our life look and feel a certain way. No matter how unconventional your lifestyle, there is still an element of keeping up appearances. It’s insincere – and phony — to admit otherwise.
— Gala Darling

Yes, it is.  And both of these articles are right to point this out.  However, I don't believe they goes far enough, and that what's got my goat today.  We're all so afraid of being judged that we aren't brave enough to post the un-retouched, unfiltered, un-instagrammed photos.  We still all curate our lives for other people, even though we all know we're playing a part in the facade.

Well, at least influencers and celebrities do that stuff.  Not everyone does.  You'll notice, perhaps, that a lot of my photos come hot straight off my damn iPhone.  I'm not above a little Instagram filtering from time to time, mostly because I like contrast and saturation to make photos visually more interesting.  But there's never trickery.  I don't Photoshop, I don't wear a bunch of makeup, I don't curate a whole lot.  Hell, sometimes my food photos come on the compostable paper plates in my office.  Sure, I share the victories, but I also share the stuff I'm disappointed aboutThe stuff that hurts.

I do it that way because that's what being real is.  It's being yourself, in public, while being totally fucking terrified about it.  But you do it anyway, because it means something.  Because people want to see it.  Because it gives them the room to be their gorgeous, flawed, totally human selves out in public too.  That's integrity.

Right after we worked out.  Can't get more real than that.

Right after we worked out.  Can't get more real than that.

And yeah, it would be nice if the women who present these perfect facades would own up to the fact that so much of what they put out to the world is carefully chosen, takes a lot of work, and is curated within an inch of its perfectly staged, white-washed, confetti-strewn, gold tassel-loving life.  But even better would be if they let go of the perfection a little bit and dared to live without so much artifice.

Like actually posting a selfie without ANY makeup or add-ons, when that was the challenge you gave your crew in an effort to get them to love themselves.  That would be brave.