Birds, Tigers and Selfies


United States

Behind each selfie

Every tweet

Lie walls of protected secrets


We act like our life is an open book

But we still keep locks on the front covers

We'll share the food we ate for breakfast

Or the movie we just saw

But we still can't share the truth


We live in fear of exposure

We hold back the parts of us that matter most

Afraid to show them

Afraid others will hate them,

Will mock them

We build filters as protection

To guard us from pain

And harsh opinions

We keep for ourselves our true identity

And let others define who we are


But take away the filters

Take away the make-up, the airbrush,

The Photoshop,

The teeth-whitener, the blemish remover

Strip it down until its naked,

A pure image without disguise

No carnival mask

Life is not a masquerade

Be yourself

Without fear, without shame

No need to hide the beauty inside 


When all the filters have been erased

What does the portrait of you look like?


Behind my smile is a cheerful bird

Dancing in its cage

Just waiting to be free

But I've still got my mask on





But take away all my filters

And I become a tiger

Fierce, strong

So much more capable than a little bird in a cage

I was pretty within my cage of filters

But you couldn't see my true beauty

Like you could see

If I were free


If I could just be me

I'd let my opinions flow

As smooth as honey from my lips

Not a jagged mess

Dashed against many rocky filters

No longer would I be what people want to see

Instead; I'd just be me


Imagine the world

If we removed all the filters

If we stopped adding Photoshop layers

Until our defenses piled up

And our appearance become unrecognizable

Instead of burying our inner selves

What if we let our personalities shine?


If everyone was what they appeared to be

No filters

No lies

Living our lives

As the person we were destined to be


My name is not Valence, Mayfair,

Hefe, Low-fi,

Or X-Pro II

I am more

More than a setting on an editing app

More than the number of Photoshop layers

On a profile picture

You cannot change me as easily

As adjusting the contrast or the saturation


It takes more than a selfie

To define who I am

You can't measure my worth

In likes or followers


Take away the filters

And I am free.

Take away the filters

And I am me.



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