4 minute read
Dress: Self Portrait; Shoes: Steve Madden; Bag: Chanel
Confession: I don't like being in photos. Never have. And likely, never will.

Now, this may seem strange considering I write a blog where I post photos of myself, every day. Actually, it may seem pretty counterintuitive. Or perhaps even neurotic that I, someone who shies away the camera, could keep up with this for over 7 years. And it's something that I thought would get easier with time (and in some ways, it has), but the bottom line remains, if my photographer and I shoot together for longer than 20 minutes, I get anxious.

It's not that I necessarily hate the process of taking the photos (I mean, we hopped down to the subway the other day and had a lot of fun dodging crowds and capturing the movement of the trains). I really do love the art direction and story telling involved in it. What sets me off is more the idea of my face being in the shots -- it leaves me unsettled. Suddenly, my insecurities, as if I'm a teenager all over again, come flooding to the forefront of my mind. "Who do you think you are? You're not tall enough to pull this off. This angle is all wrong for you and your arms. Everyone can see how awful your skin looks here." And I don't think I'm preaching anything new or surprising here. We've all been in this position: our critic and sometimes our biggest enemy, is ourselves. Especially when it comes to our self-image.

As I've entered my late 20s and now early 30s, I've gotten much better at quieting these doubts and self-inflicted insults. I know where they stem from, I know that most of them are only in my head and I know the ones that perhaps have some truth behind them, are by no means, worthy of ruining my day or my outlook. I'm a healthy, active 30 year old living my longtime dream of writing and living in New York, with many other blessings in my life to be thankful for. If I happen to breakout or I'm not feeling as thin or as toned as I would hope in a certain dress, it's a first world problem and I need to put into perspective as such.

Of course, I'll be the first to admit, it's not easy to do every day. Especially with the ease to which social media makes comparing your life to this person or that person -- it's a relatively slippery slope, even for the most positive of people (which I do consider myself one), to not slide down. As supportive and accepting as I think we can be of others (again, not a perfect situation either), we still hold ourselves to these unrealistic expectations of what we think we should look like and be like -- and, unsurprisingly, always coming up short and disappointed.

And we're usually the first and the only people to point it out about ourselves.

That said, when Dove approached me about their latest #SpeakBeautiful campaign, I couldn't have nodded my head faster. In an effort to change how we portray self-worth and self-image online, Dove has developed an algorithm that will essentially measure your 6 month Twitter history, looking for key words and phrases, to provide insight into how your words impact others. And whether you recognize it or not, words are powerful. So powerful. And the minute we can start impacting the tide  of how women view their own beauty and body-image and empowering them to take control of it, I think we will have turned a pivotal corner. But it starts first with recognition.

I received my results just the other day and found the data breakdown fascinating. In general, my tweets have an overwhelming positive sentiment to them, and those pertaining to beauty and body-image, were actually 7% more positive (hey, go me!). But what I found even more interesting, were the simple take away actions. As it turns out, my positive tweet time window is between 6 and 8am, meaning, I'm more likely to say something body-image positive during this time, whereas most women, are more prone to tweet something negative about themselves between 9am and noon. And I totally get that. It's the grind of the morning, schlepping to work, rushing to that meeting without getting a chance perhaps to put yourself together just the way you would have liked. I've been there more than I would like to admit. A little task I've given myself lately is when I like something about someone's outfit, or hair or general attitude/look, I tell them. Because it takes 5 seconds for me to say, and sometimes, it's all it takes to turn someone's day around.

Have you guys had your tweets analyzed? Were you surprised by your results?

This post was in collaboration with Dove. As always, all opinions and styling are my own. Thank you for supporting all This Time Tomorrow collaborations!