For our fourth installment of Body Image Week, we welcome Social Media Manager April as she challenges us to not only celebrate the good and perfect times on social media, but the misadventures as well.

It goes without saying that social media has given us the idea that in order to be “liked” we should probably wear our most body-flattering outfit, stand amongst a great wide vista at the perfect sunset time, make sure the hair and makeup are right on point, and oh, not to mention hike sweatless on the trek of getting to said vista. After all, this is what you will find a lot of when searching some of your favorite hashtags. But wait – who even said this is the way it needs to be? I say screw that, dress for function and comfort, come to terms with the fact that sweat is perfectly natural, let your hair do it’s thing, and makeup…really?! I digress.

So here’s my confession: I love Instagram. I’ve shot photographs since I was little, majored in it in college, and even taught it for a period of time. I love Instagram for the ease it brings to sharing places, moments, and memories in a visual way. However, I also love telling my stories about how “miserable” a hike may have been, how cold I was, how climbing up that plateau had me huffing and puffing and stopping several times just to breath, and sometimes after that type of experience, the view IS gorgeous. And sometimes…I’ve been disappointed. I’ve turned back without fully completing what I originally set out to do. Sometimes, I have felt like a failure in my adventures.

We strive to capture only the perfect moments, as if that’s only what we experience.

So how do we break this cycle? Well, let’s not beat ourselves up over wanting to scroll these gorgeous photos (Photoshopped or not), but know when to call it quits. Do not compare what we do to what we see on our screens, and most importantly I say we get out as often as possible on our own adventures. We make our own memories. And whether they live up to the expectations of the most popular hashtags or not, they are ours and they are beautiful.

So I challenge you, readers, to do as I am in this article and allow 2018 to bring you the confidence to post all your beautiful images, especially the ones that are not perfect. Especially the ones that are goofy, and especially the ones that remind you of the hardest times and biggest challenges you’ve faced while out.

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