I’m what I like to generously call an amateur photographer. I’ve been taking photos as a form of artistic expression since my sons were small boys. With my youngest turning 30 last year, that’s a long time. So long, in fact, that I learned and then taught darkroom techniques. Now THAT’S vintage! In all this time, I’ve always had an arsenal of filters available to swap on and off my camera of the day.

These days, filters are an entirely different ballgame. They’re built into every social media platform out there. There are filter apps available for download onto your phone at the click of a button (and maybe a one-time or annual fee). And that’s on top of photo editing software available that also has filters included. You can make all the changes I used to do in the darkroom, tinkering for hours and achieve a BETTER result in a matter of seconds. It’s pretty awesome, actually.

But what I’ve discovered lately may be the most fantastical and yet frustrating filter out there.

My own mind. This is a hardwired filter that I’ve had for quite some time now. I’m not sure when it was uploaded (or downloaded; I’m not clear on how this stuff works) but it is backed up by the “my eyes are fuzzy” filter, a cool bonus feature.

I glance at myself in the mirror and with a few notable differences, I generally see the woman I have been for decades. I see my same face. My same hair. The same skin tone and overall shape of my body.

What I find, however, is when I take photographs, the impact of those filters is removed and there I am. Now. Today. Older. A bit more wrinkly. And more than just a bit more… round. Is this what everyone else sees?

I think it must be because every once in a while, I catch a glimpse of “that woman” in the mirror when the lighting is really crappy or when I’ve had a late night (and maybe too many glasses of wine) the night before.

Here’s the thing though; I like my filters. I like the freedom they give me and the permission they grant my brain when it ponders if I’m too “old” to do or wear something. “Screw that” my filters loudly and proudly declare. “You wear it and ROCK it, girl!” It’s like body dysmorphia but in a positive way.

Maybe it’s delusion. Or just maybe it’s confidence (which also goes by the name “arrogance” particularly if you are of a more judgemental mindset). I don’t care.

I think I’ll keep them as long as I can; they’re pretty handy.

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