Men and women today are so tempted to portray our home-made meals as Wolfgang Puck feasts or suppose that our mundane DIY sewing projects are worthy of adorning a queen. It seems like every new outfit, good hair day, or trip to the ice cream parlor is something to commemorate with a selfie. Although I hadn't given the root cause of this phenomenon much consideration, something that happened earlier today has caused me to contemplate the matter with sincerity. 

My sweet grandmother's bird-laden, ceramic mug was spilling coffee on my hand as I darted to my vehicle in the drippy, wintry rain. In fact, a bulk of the reason for this morning's 9 a.m. voyage to the local discount store was to purchase a travel mug for my coffee. So, I continued as scheduled, opening the car door, sitting down, belting up, etc. 

Wait. What is that terrible smell? Oh. My. Goodness. 


Yesterday morning around the same time, I was traveling with a bouquet of fresh flowers in tow. These flowers were in a wide-mouth mason jar, and as I pulled out of my father's driveway, the downward tilt of my little Nissan Juke tipped the jar and every drop of water it was holding. I tried to sop up the mess as best I could, salvage the flowers, and be about my business. I never thought about the mess again until, well, the stink of non-sopped-up water nearly knocked me over this morning. So I faced the chill winds to grab a silly floor mat drenched with flower water, and left it out to dry so I could get on the road. 

It was still sprinkling while I selected a shopping cart at the front of the store. I smiled at a few people as I strolled inside. While traipsing down the housewares aisle with my birdy mug, I caught a glimpse of my messy hair in one of those store mirrors, placed strategically to remind you that people are watching you at your every turn. Although I didn’t like any particular warm beverage thermos enough to pay the asking price, I did find a few other items in the discount store that caught my interest, so I paid for those and left. 

Outside, again in the rain, I decided to park my shopping cart and carry my few bags to the car. Almost immediately, a shopping bag that had been holding two big pineapples (they were on sale, two-for-one) broke, and my pineapples began rolling downhill. I managed to gather my pineapples in the drizzly weather and walk to my car holding several bags, dripping small amounts of coffee on my shirt and hand. 

Bags loaded, I was in the car as rapidly as possible. The stench hadn’t faded at all. As I sat behind the wheel, shivering, the thought crossed my mind to just pause and swig a sip of coffee.

To avoid the sting of a life pause, those little moments of reflection inside of which we come face-to-face with our stark reality, I decided to snap a selfie. I didn’t like it. But what I'm realizing now, is maybe it wasn't the selfie I didn't like but rather the Western reality that everyone's life could really be a reality show, the American myth that we're each so interesting we should come with a camera crew.

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This dreary morning, I finally saw that my fair skin has lost every drop of its former sun-kissed glow, that I obtained during the sweet summer months I spent on Israeli beaches. Now, I'm just kind of creamy. And it's not so much of a dreamy creamy, but rather it is an actual cream-colored creamy. If that didn't sting enough, my summertime pixie haircut is growing out in a super awkward way.

Instead of just facing the truth, the harsh truth that while I'm a productive member of society loved by HaShem and who does the best she can to live for Him and tell others about Him as often as possible, and instead of just trusting the knowledge of God inside myself that Lights my path to show me the Way, and that helps me understand my simplicity is beautiful to the One who fashioned me, I decided to fluff my hair and turn my head and snap again.

But once the instant thumbnail on the phone screen appeared, my reality turned to shame. There in the rainy parking lot of the discount store, in my stinky car, I duck-faced. But in the instant aftermath, I understood the plague of inadequacy that is truly facing Americans, Israelis and the rest of the world alike.

We somehow bought the lie that dressing up a rainy day in a filter and putting it on social media with a pair of duck lips can actually change something about our existence. It's as if we actually want to believe our life on earth will change positively or benefit if only we can make others believe something about our coffee or shopping trip or haircut or "fill-in-the-blank" is enviable. It took an unplanned, inadvertent and unwarranted duck face for me to finally see the forest for the trees here, to admit that slapping a filter on a staged selfie is not honest.

In fact, the Truth does not make duck faces at all. In Proverbs 31, King Solomon says charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised. So according to the wisest mortal who ever lived, when I wipe away the world's beauty, religion's charm and academia's wit, what I'm left with is a better aptitude to please the Lord. I'll take that over duck face, any day.

I am sharing my embarrassingly painful lesson with the entire world, alongside the proposition that we start a new trend today: Honesty. So above, you see the tragic duck face photo on your left, but to the right you'll see a photo that captures exactly how my reality was really making me feel...not to mention a much more accurate representation of what my fellow discount shoppers actually saw as I was strolling through aisles and dropping pineapples in the rain.

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