I have 513 friends. I regularly share personal moments and epistolary updates with all of them. But how well do they know me? Just because we are Facebook friends, does that mean we really know each other? Are they even listening?
We are all guilty of social media manipulation. Snap a photo on a bright, sunny day, at a fun, interesting event. Throw in an exciting, exaggerated caption. Maybe add a filter and post it on Instagram and Facebook. It’s a square box of perfection. Right?
On the flip side, during a particular low moment, we tap open Facebook or Instagram and scroll through our friends’ feeds. Parties on the opposite coast. Adorable babies hamming it up. Over-the-top vacation get aways. And those damn, cute couples devouring up your feed.
We use social media to share the “best” version of ourselves. But a perfected perception doesn’t always equal reality. What you don’t see are the tears we shed. The bad decisions we make. The unbelievable mess in our living room. Real life isn’t always perfect square photos. It’s lived and messy. It’s beautifully chaotic.
Here’s a little peek into the reality behind my square paragons:
Looks like I’m just taking in the intricate ceiling of 30th Street Station after a great night in Philadelphia, right? Well, not quite. Mike and I spent a beautiful day in Philadelphia with our friends. As the night came to a close, we rushed to catch our train back to Lancaster. And we missed it by five minutes. Just five minutes. I spent the minutes after calming down Mike, and figuring out an alternate plan. My little brother came to our rescue, and we saved us. But those frazzled moments in between were less than perfect.
My family and I had a fun night out celebrating my brother Dan’s 21st birthday, but getting there was a bit chaotic. As the host, my tiny apartment served as the hub for evening. Packing nine people in my living space meant cleaning and baking and rearranging and preparing. I was so distracted that whole day, I nearly forgot about an important work task.
Knubbs is unbelievably cute. There is no denying that. But the story behind the photo is a little less cute. Mike works every weekend, and when his grandfather goes away, Knubbs is all alone. So, the two of us hung out one night. Since Mike and Knubbs usually sleep together in his bed, I felt bad and tried to do the same. He refused to sit still ALL night. After enduring his fidget fit, I finally had enough and in his crate he went. Guess how much I slept that night?
Don’t let social media veil your perception of reality. No one is perfect. We are human. And being human means accepting the roller coaster of emotions – both the sunshine and the storm clouds.