On my birthday, I flew to New Orleans for a quick trip to visit a friend in need of, well, her friends. Speaking from experience, when a parent dies it's nice to be around people who won't walk on eggshells around you. People who remind you that crying is okay and laughing is even more okay.
So, despite the circumstances, we did what we always do in New Orleans: went to a vaguely sketchy bar in a vaguely sketchy neighborhood, all of us remembering (but not saying out loud) the time half of our group was robbed at gunpoint.
This vaguely sketchy bar served cake, and somehow, that made me feel safer.
We sat outside in the oppressive heat I had forgotten how much I hate, and as we talked and laughed and reminisced, I grew distracted by my discomfort. I touched my hair and wiped my face over and over again, as if the 212th swipe at my forehead would be the one that would get rid of the sweat pouring down my face. I was a literal hot mess.
We decided to take a picture.
As I scrolled through the Instagram filters, I became angry. That night, as I officially became another year older, I experienced my first "When I was your age I had to walk ten miles uphill in the snow" moment.
For so many years in South Louisiana I posted photos on Facebook or pinned them to my dorm room bulletin boards, fretting about how big my hair was or how soaked my bangs were or how wet my face looked. I was a literal hot mess and I HAD NO FILTERS. I wasted so much energy thinking about how gross I was going to look when my friends handed over the doubles from their disposable camera or posted the photos on Facebook (where my CRUSH might see them, heaven forbid.)
That night in the back yard of that vaguely sketchy bar, I could remove the sweat and frizz faster than you can say "X PRO II or Hefe?"
Life just isn't fair. For reasons far more important than Instagram; reasons that can't be fixed with a filter.
(But sometimes we need these frivolous things to distract us. Selfie on, world.)