I’ve been thinking: If every picture tells a story, what are our filtered, photoshopped, pixeled, doctored and otherwise digitally enhanced photos telling about us?

Then this week I saw an article in the science section of the Washington Post that told it:  It’s the story of an extensive research project undertaken done at a University in England (see link below) that concluded most people can’t tell when a photo is fake.  Which is a frightening thought because let’s face it!  Photos are powerful.

“If we can’t tell the fake ones from the real ones, the fakes are going to be powerful, too.”

Is it true that an A-lister paid off all photographers to only show her with a filter until we finally got to see her in ‘the real’?  If the disputed ‘real photo’ is real, could she possibly be the first?  Of course not.

But when everyone got to see what the star allegedly really looks like –  how many women didn’t sigh a deep breath to consider, if she is really ‘just real’, maybe I can be too?

How bad could real be?

What’s the story when cosmetics on the market are literally designed to give you the “fake look?”

Why are we obsessed with making loving ourselves so much harder than it has to be?

And it doesn’t just stop there.  Fake photos are not just for the famous anymore.  They’re all over our news.  Like during the terror attacks that killed 130 people in Paris in 2015.  A Canadian Sikh was falsely accused of being one of the attackers after a photo went viral, doctored to make him look like he was wearing a suicide bomb vest.

There’s forensic photos in courtrooms that can be so hard to detect as real, they require a trial of their own with complete mathematical analysis.

Where once children had imaginary friends, teens are photo-shopping fake ‘missing’ friends and children on the internet to get viral attention.

What if the popular axiom “fake it till you make it” has gone rogue on us?

Because when it comes to physical perfection, you can’t get there.

At least not if we’re looking with the same old mind.

What if a rule I’ve had makes sense:  to post pictures of yourself that are your least flattering so when people meet you they can be surprised?

What are we afraid others will see in us?  What are we afraid we’ll see in ourselves?

What if the story of all our filtered pictures is a cautionary tale?

What if once we taught: “don’t believe everything you read.” And now we know “don’t believe everything you see?

What will become of trust?   Where are we headed?

But what if it’s true that photographs are the filters of our own changing self-image?Look, there are other filters We are also seeing through the filters of our own projections and our memories. We take in the sunshine and the rain through our own hearts and emotions and senses and skin,

What if we can take baby steps in trusting the beauty of who we really are?   Whether we like what we see at first or not.

There’s vanity and there’s sanity.

We all have at least a little vanity.

But I’m here for sanity.  At this point, who doesn’t need a lot more of it?