Nothing in this world is harder than speaking the truth, nothing easier than flattery.
Along with the meaning of life, I have been pondering an often observed issue in the social media circuit. That includes us lovely bloggers. I call it the I-Want-What-I-Imagine-You-Have syndrome. The green-eyed monster. Jealousy. Idol worship. Living vicariously through others. Envy. What you or I call it is irrelevant. The fact is, it's easy to get sucked into the lives of others via the rather shallow and superficial world that is social media. We've all blog-stalked. And Facebook-stalked.
"She's SO skinny!","Her life is perfect. Why doesn't anything bad ever happen to her?!", "She's more fashionable, smarter, a better writer, luckier, richer, younger, has more followers...[fill in the blank] than me." Been there? Yeah, me too.
But I've got earth-shattering news: her life isn't perfect. Nope. Sure, her problems may be different, but they're still problems. And those of us who have jumped our fair share of hurdles over the years are better adapted to life in general. We persevere. Even when our kids resemble demon spawn. And our husbands feel compelled to stink up the bathroom right before our morning shower. I own my mistakes, failures, and less-than-glamorous moments. They make me flawed. Flawed equals interesting.
While we're at it, did you ever stop to consider that she posts all that wonderfulness as a way of feeling better about her life? It's the perfect platform, really. Where else in 'real life' can we present such a skewed 1-D view of our existence? Once you think about it that way, it's easier to step back and see things for what they are.
If we all covet her, well, she feels covet-able. Everyone has that girl in their life. More than one? Bummer. Me, too. The one who posts perfect family pictures, gushes about her perfect husband, and carefully creates the illusion that she wakes up with a face full of makeup and a stylist standing by to dress her. Don't even get me started on Instagram. Or my personal favorite: the oh-so vague "FHML" Facebook post that elicits fifty "Oh no! What's wrooong?" replies. Then we are left to wonder if we were the only ones not let in on that little secret. Did she private message the other 49 and I wasn't good enough to know why she hates her life? It is high school all over again. And I don't know about you, but I'm not particularly eager to go back there.
Overcompensation is a telltale sign of deep-rooted insecurity. I, for one, need to stop falling into that ugly vortex. After a rather harsh, cold-water-in-the-face moment of realization, I am usually able to climb out of the self-shame hole and see things for what they are: imperfect. I'm imperfect. You're imperfect. And guess what? So is Miss Facebook Perfection. And Mrs. Blogging Supernova. Why, in this day in age, do we still feel the need to portray the Super Mom/Wife/Worker Bee role?
Let's all gather and fight the urge to covet that which is not real. Deep down we know it's a facade, right? But when you're feeling blah/vulnerable/messy/unmotivated/ugly/shameful/dumb/depressed/annoyed/murderous, it is incredibly easy to step through the mirror into her Wonderland. It's like modern day Sirens, luring the self-esteem compromised so that we crash head-first into a rock.
Her sink is full of dirty dishes, too. Sometimes she wakes up looking like she's been in a dryer full of rocks. Her kids act up and her husband leaves his underwear in his pants when he takes them off. They overspend at Christmas and take vacations they technically can't afford. The sooner we can all admit this, the better off we all shall be.
In the spirit of full disclosure, here's the honest to goodness truth:
For every one ironically cute pic I take of myself (why trying to hide my arms so that you don't know it's a self-portrait via iPhone), there are 20+ of these:
Forehead wrinkles. No makeup. No contacts. Year-round eye allergies that make me look like I've just smoked a bowl. At 8 am.
My kid doesn't have a bento box waiting for him every day. Mommy's too tired. Instead, he eats things like this on occasion. Or several occasions. That's a hot dog on an Eggo, in case you were wondering. With ketchup.
As I write this, my sink looks like this. Because I'm too lazy to empty the clean dishes from the dishwasher so I can reload it. Thanks to Instagram, my dishes look less "Crate and Barrel outlet" and more "vintage chic".
I'm not a fashion blogger because my husband doesn't have the time to take pictures of my outfits. I probably wouldn't be satisfied with them anyway. I'm chubby. And I don't want that many unflattering pictures of me out there in case I ever commit a serious crime. Or become (in)famous. Because it always looks like I'm wearing mom jeans when I take photos of myself. Because sometimes (or a lot) I buy shoes based on comfort not style. These are "snow sneakers". You can find them in the Sundance catalog if you ever want to pay an exorbitant amount of money look effortlessly homeless.
You know those amazing, simple, where-have-you-been-all-my-life hair tutorials on Pinterest? They always turn out just beautifully. Pffft.
If you consider flat, limp and frizzy signs of success. And to add insult to injury, I have to go the whole day looking that way. Because who, besides the Pinterest girls, have time to shower twice in the morning? Thankfully I have my homeless shoes to pull the look together.
I made these cookies. With love. I took glamor shots of them looking all melty and delicious. Only, I forgot the sugar. They gave me a headache. And a particularly unattractive digestive upset due to an artificial sweetener in the pudding mix. That's them in the trash.
If you're thinking I'm a hot mess right about now, you wouldn't be wrong. But we've all been there, no? Hopefully not all in the same day. So let's own it.
We will all be better for it.
We will all be better for it.