“I’m really worried, Mum, she’s losing weight and she’s not her usual happy self anymore.  I blame all those so-called influencers on the internet for constantly changing their appearance.  It’s just not realistic and quite harmful to youngsters.”

“How can you change your appearance?”

“They use special apps but, quite frankly, they all look like cartoon characters to me!”

“Show me what you mean…”


Lucy’s mum places some pearly white sea bass in the steamer.  “Would you like some chips, Lucy?”

“No thanks, just salad.”

“I’ve got some good news, Lucy,” Grandma smiles.  “You don’t have to badger me anymore.  I’ve taken the plunge!  I’m on Facebook!”

“That’s great Grandma.  What made you change your mind?”

“Well, as you pointed out, all my friends are on it so I thought it was about time.”

Lucy grabs her iPad.  “Let me see…”

“Grandma!  That’s not you in those photos!”

“Of course, it is!  Alright, I might have tweaked them a little bit.”

“A little bit!  You’re unrecognisable.  What made you do that?”

“To get rid of my wrinkles, of course.  And my grey hair.  Not to mention the extra weight.”

“But it’s not you!”

“Only those who know me would know that!  Not everyone!  I’ve had some very complimentary comments.  Some a little too complimentary, I’ll admit, but that ‘block’ option sorted that out!”

“Oh, Grandma!  You’re lovely as you are.”

Grandma’s voice takes on a serious tone.  “And so are you, Lucy.”

Lucy looks puzzled.

“If I can manage to alter my appearance,” Grandma explains, “think what those, what do you call them… influencers… can do.  Do you really believe they look as perfect as their photos?”

Lucy sits in silence, absorbing her grandma’s words.

“There’s an Oscar Wilde quote,” Grandma continues, “that comes to mind.  ‘Be yourself, everyone else is taken’.”

Lucy grins.  “I think I will have some chips, Mum.”

Her mum gives a thumbs up!

“And later,” Lucy informs her grandma, “we’ll delete all these photos and load some new ones… undoctored!  How about those I took on your 70th birthday?  You look beautiful in them.”

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1 year ago

A memorable story of a loving grandma’s gift to her family. Sometimes the oldest folks are wise to the newest things! The good news here is timely and well worth taking to heart.  

Carrie OLeary
Carrie OLeary(@carrie-oleary)
1 year ago

A story with an important message, Linda. Nicely written.

Lotchie Carmelo
Lotchie Carmelo(@lotchie-carmelo)
1 year ago

I really enjoyed it, Linda. You perfectly captured the problems on social media today, and they sometimes forget the word, “Be yourself.” Like mum in your protagonist, two thumbs up from me. The message is beautiful and timely. Nicely done.

Lotchie Carmelo
Lotchie Carmelo(@lotchie-carmelo)
Reply to  Linda Rock
1 year ago

You’re welcome, Linda.

Allan Neil
Allan Neil(@allan-neil)
1 year ago

So current and so beautifully put, Linda. I once went on a wrinklies’ dating site and my first ‘date’ insisted on meeting in an ‘atmospheric’, meaning nearly dark restaurant. When my eyes became accustomed to the gloom I realised that she must have applied her make-up with a trowel! You have highlighted a troubling trend, particularly among young females and it’s a great tale.

Margarida Brei
Margarida Brei(@margarida-brei)
1 year ago

Love the Oscar Wilde quote and your message, Linda.

Melissa Taggart
Melissa Taggart(@melissa-taggart)
1 year ago

This is a well-written story with a relevant message. It is hard to just be yourself within a community like social media. Especially since we are almost force fed that you need to be better than just that. Not a good space if you have self-esteem issues! I feel like this would be a good story for teens to read. Self-love is so important in these times. Great job Linda.

Joseph Daunt
Joseph Daunt(@joseph-daunt)
1 year ago

Great story! I am very jealous of how naturally you write dialog, always a sticking point for me. Here it flows very smoothly.

Arianna Randall
Arianna Randall(@arianna-randall)
1 year ago

This is a lovely and thought-provoking story, Linda! As a teenage girl, I have noticed a shocking drop in self-confidence and self-love among my peers. There’s a Rupi Kaur quote that I love almost as much as that Oscar Wilde: “We are all born so beautiful/the greatest tragedy/is being convinced we are not.” I’ve struggled with autoimmune sensitivities and I strongly believe that the foods we place in our bodies truly matter!… Read more »

Greene M Wills
Greene M Wills(@greene-m-wills)
1 year ago

I loved the story! It took dear old grandma to make things clear and finally Lucy realised that beauty is how one feels about herself rather than what others might think and want to look like. Beauty is only based on unreality more and more these days!

Marianna Pieterse
Marianna Pieterse(@marianna-pieterse)
1 year ago

What a valuable lesson for Lucy to learn, without Grandma having to preach to her. I can imagine her shock seeing her Gran’s altered pictures! This was well-written.

Kayja Daniels
Kayja Daniels(@kayja-daniels)
1 year ago

… a message only a loving grandma can deliver. Nice piece.

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