Let’s Stop Perfectly Curating Our Lives
I don’t want reality to have a filter setting.
A friend of mine sailed though her divorce. For two years, I saw pictures of her with friends, on vacations, surrounded with positivity and strength. Pictures of perfect dinners with her daughter. I wanted that. I wanted to be that.
I reached out to her during a rough patch for advice. How did she do so easily what was making me a crazy person?
She didn’t. She told me what everyone saw was the well curated pictures. The good times.
She hid the moments of depression. She retreated when it was bad. Because no one wants to see that.
One of my most vulnerable moments over the last year and a half happened on social media. I was not holding life together well. I had done what my friend had done. Perfectly curated the image of strength and well being. I did it so well I almost believed myself.
Then an afternoon came where the walls caved in. I very suddenly felt overwhelmed. Every space in my body was filled with anger.
I always broke down where no one could see me. That day it was in my car.
I was crying so hard I had to pull over onto the side of the freeway.
That night, I made a very real post on social media. I copped to faking my own happiness and well being. I was honest. It wasn’t a cry for help. It was acknowledging I had filtered my life and it was helping no one.
The response shocked me. People were incredibly supportive. No one called me crazy. No one even thought I was crazy. My fears were paper tigers.
Truth be told, I am annoyed with social media most of the time. I’m not going to make some grand statement that I’m leaving forever. It wouldn’t be good for me. I am an introvert and the result would be isolation. I would have so little contact with the social world that I would never regain it.
More and more, though, I am disillusioned about what I see. It’s perfection at every turn. Some execute it far better than others.
We are in woeful need of vulnerability. It rarely exists in social media. I crave it. I want to see everyone’s reality. Not the one they’ve filtered.
I’m not talking about a makeup free selfie that took eight tries to get to the point where you felt someone’s Noxzema fresh face was palatable. I’m talking the messy imperfection that is the beauty of life.
I’d love to have posted a picture last night that showed a perfectly grilled steak with a glass of Napa Valley Cab from 2007 that I had for dinner. But that wasn’t my reality.
In our curated world, I have told myself that no one wants to see what I really had. No one wants to know what my life is really like because it’s not interesting. No one is going to envy my mundane existence. And that’s what we want isn’t it? We want to be the one’s causing the fear of missing out, not the one’s that have it.
My reality is that was 9:29pm and I ate late because I didn’t feel like cooking.
My actual dinner was a egg and cheese sandwich I ate off of a Christmas plate because it was easy. I ate it in bed because I really like my bed and I wanted to be comfy while I wrote.
I posted it anyway. It was my reality and I was totally okay with it. There was a level of authenticity I was proud of. As an added bonus, I told everyone my appetizer was a spoonful of chunky peanut butter I had dunked in a bag of chocolate chips.
I fall prey to the bullshit, too. I post pictures and messages that make me and my life seem far more interesting than it is. I don’t want to do that anymore. I don’t want to hide behind a filter. So I won’t visually censor my life anymore. It may get weird. That’s fine. I’m a little weird.
Post reality. Show me the strange bug you found in your house. Take the picture of the flower in bloom on your morning hike. Tell me the story of the bad joke you made. Show me the journal you have on your back patio table because you have to unpack some crap. Let us in. Let us see you.