On Keeping It Real And Going In A New Direction

Oh Well I Tried

For months now, I have been looking for an appropriate headshot to use for all my social media platforms – Twitter, Facebook, Google Plus, Pinterest, and LinkedIn. Now I have quite a few potential photos that I could use—and have been actively taking just for this very reason—but my search stopped as soon as this photo came into being.


Hmm, you’re probably wondering what’s so special about this one. For starters, look at that hair! It could sure use a liberal dose of some heavy-duty anti-frizz and anti-sweat serum. Photoshop would definitely work wonders on my tired eyes. And don’t get me started about my outfit…it looked a hell of a lot better on the model than it did on me. I could go on about all that could be fixed…

Yeah, it is beyond obvious that this photo is far from perfect. But in a sea of heavily filtered and posed for photos, I wanted to keep it as real as it gets.

A candid shot taken in Chandigarh’s fascinating rock garden, this snap has so much mojo! The moment I arrived at this particular spot, I felt an overwhelming sense of peace and calm.  And despite the sweaty hair and tired eyes, don’t I radiate serenity? Maybe it had something to do with the lush and quiet locale, but I am pretty sure it was mostly because unlike all the other photos, this was one was completely natural.

You see, cutesy poses and wide grins aren’t really how I am in front of a camera. This photo here, this is how I am. With so much truth and meaning in this photo, should I really be worried about my flaws? Isn’t having a real image far better than a fake one?

I may sound all Zen about it now, but at the time of uploading this shot, I did consider altering it”the way it should be”. Resisting that urge was tough.  Even after I was done changing my profile photo, I was terrified of receiving nasty comments. Thankfully, none have come my way so far. But if and when they do, I have made up my mind to ignore them and remember that I took this step because I didn’t want to create a false identity AGAIN (no judgment intended for those who choose to edit, enhance and retouch their photos. After all, to each his or her own and the pressure of perfection is unmistakably on the rise – and hard to battle).

Speaking of keeping it real, I have been thinking of changing the way I have been collecting quotes for my book.

In Reaching Out To Influencers, I spoke about getting personal experiences from influencers to add value to Busting Clichés. Unfortunately, this hasn’t taken off as well as I thought it would. A few weeks back, I went in full on introspective mode, wondering how I could ensure that more big names responded positively. After all, these folks are not regular people like you and me. They have far too many people demanding their time and attention.

I was in quite a state of despair. Getting them interested was as easy as communicating with Martians! I thought,” I can’t really relate to these guys, how then can I figure out the best way to get their attention?” Then I realized that if I am having trouble relating to them, won’t my readers also feel this way? Would adding their personal experiences really add value to my book, or alienate people because they cannot relate to these bigwigs? After all, we do tend to put the rich and famous on a pedestal, don’t we? For a few minutes, I wondered whether I’ve made a huge mistake, Gob-style. (Arrested Development fans, anyone? :D)

Luckily, I got an unexpected brainwave: what if I mixed things up by taking quotes from influencers and regular people? Wouldn’t that be far more meaningful to you and me?

And then I did what any long-time netizen would do: I Googled to see there was any truth to my theory. I came across posts like Can you be friends with rich people?, 28 Things Celebrities Do In Real Life That Normal People Couldn’t, and We prefer people we think are similar to ourselves that backed up my idea.

But of course, your opinion is ultimately what counts. So tell me, dear reader, what do you prefer and why? Quotes from famous folks, quotes from just as amazing but regular people, or a mix of both? Do share your views in the comments below. Feel free to let me know your thoughts on my photo.

What goes through your mind while uploading an image of yourself online? I’m all ears :)

26 thoughts on “On Keeping It Real And Going In A New Direction”

  1. Just wondered (wondering), people look so good and still think that they are not looking nice. How they will look like if they find themselves with perfect looks one day. Prince & Princess maybe. :)
    Happy Blogging, Mahevash. :)

    1. Thank you :)
      Glad to know we are on the same page! How’s life treating you? It’s been a while since we last “spoke”…

  2. I think it’s a great shot. I can understand what you went through. It took me a long time to get a photograph of my head that I liked. Eventually, I found the perfect solution.

  3. I went through the same thing when I started my blog. Especially since all the photos of me are in hot climates, working in some of the poorest of countries, without makeup on. The thing was, I never cared about what strangers thought. I had friends and family who loved me for who I was. All of a sudden, the thought of posting a selfie made me insecure.

    So in my first post, I was anything but glamorous. :) You, on the other hand, look amazing .

    1. That sounds interesting. What line of work are you in?
      Thank you :) I just checked out the photo on your About page, and it is glamorous all right!

        1. Cool! Are you still working with the WHO? What exactly do you do there? I have long wanted to work here….

          Lovely post! Your photos are proof that we are our own harshest critics. I liked both of them, particularly the one with the kids :)

  4. I think real photos are so much more engaging than photo shopped ones. I love seeing who I’m connecting with. I think it’s important even. Your photo is lovely and in all honesty I don’t see a thing that could be corrected never-mind should be. :) <3

  5. Your photo is awesome! For all the reasons you just described: you look natural and at peace.

    As for the quotes, as long as it makes me think, makes me smile or gives me goosebumps I don’t care who it’s from. Anyone can say something touching, but not all people do.

  6. Your Blog image should reflect not only the basis of your Blog but, in my opinion, one that will attract the kind of readers that you wish to dialogue with.

    A very glamorous photo of you in evening dress will attract a rather different interest than (e.g.) one of you coming out of the sea dripping water and in swimming attire.

    When I look at a Blog image of the writer, I must assume that I am seeing “who they are” and that, together with their About information and recent Posts will allow me to decide whether I wish to Follow. The photo shown here appears to be a “natural you”, which I like simply because of it’s apparent genuine presentation. Rightly or wrongly, I feel that I am looking at the “real” you!

    1. True that. Thanks for sharing your thought process…it also happens to be similar to mine!

      Thank you, I am so glad you feel that way! Would appreciate your thoughts on the quotes bit too. Hope you, Carol and Ray are doing fine?

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