Do you ever read people’s Facebook posts, Instagram feeds, blog posts and tweets and wonder- where are these gloriously happy, got it all figured out, perfect in every way souls? I mean these people are pretty amazing, right? They not only have it all together, but their kids, their careers- hell even their DOGS are perfection.
Maybe you are not one who wonders where they are because you are one of them. Lucky. Funny thing is, I see these snapshots of these amazing lives online, hardly in reality. When I am shopping, most time people look frustrated and a majority of the time, they look hurried and pissed off. Drive on the road with these deliriously joyful souls and realize you are getting cut off, being sanctioned to the merge lane cause your ass isn’t getting in and on some super special occasion, you may even get the bird shot at you. True story- it still happens. It happened to me about a month ago. Some guy driving a muscle car (for description purposes not an opinion on muscle car owners) was driving and my mother (white hair, obviously well-vetted) pulled out into the road. He had plenty of space, but he had decided she should have waited. He passed us and proceeded to look in the car which was occupied by a white-haired grandmother, myself and my little 4 year old Spicy girl. He accessed the situation (3 generations of women- one his elder, another a baby) and decided to give us the finger. Classy. I wonder if he posted that nugget of maturity on his social media sites. Also makes me wonder who would have had to be in the car for him NOT to show the white trash card.
Yea, I am not sure where some of these happy, well-together people are located.
I had a friend not too long ago who was constantly blogging and facebook posting about her fabulous husband and their fabulous marriage. Always posting pictures of this Norman Rockwell life and how fabulous everything was. Mind you, this was one of my closest friends. The other day she informs me she is getting a divorce. She said they haven’t been happy for a super long time. Really? Could have fooled me! You had rainbows and cupids coming out of your A$$ online.
Look, there is a point to this and I promise it will all come around so just stay with me….
We can all agree that no one leads perfect lives. Social media seems to provide an outlet for each of us to communicate and that is a glorious thing. Glorious when it is generative and helpful. It could be so much more than what we have all made it. Rather than it be an extension of ‘keeping up with the Jone’s’ and ‘Wow, who can be happier?’, what if it was real?
I am not condoning airing dirty laundry by any means. While I am no longer a practicing Catholic, that much was ingrained to my core. I am talking about being honest and allowing our real selves to shine through. If you are struggling, it is okay to admit to struggling. Someone may be reading who can identify, lend and ear, listen. Someone may be able to help. If you are happy, by all means, share that as well. Need help with projects, prayers, good thoughts, bring it!
I had a man I admired a great deal tell me a story once of his church. He was deeply involved in his church and its several committees, etc. He told me one day why he up and left that church in search for another. He said there was a man in his congregation that he knew had just lost his job. He was aware this man and his family were suffering true and severe difficulties and hardships. He went up to this gentleman at church one Sunday and asked him how he was and how things were going? The man looked him in the eye and told him he was “Fine, things are great.” He told me he knew he wanted a different church THAT moment because this had become the “norm” there, everyone putting on errs instead of participating in a community.
These networking sites can leave us feeling pretty defeated, unhappy, fat, unpopular, unsuccessful, etc. when we get into the dangerous game of comparisons. And if the game must be played, which I believe it will continue to be, at least realize you are competing with only the outer most layer of someone’s life. The part they want you to see.
It is curious to me that while online networking brings everyone together in one place, never have we as a society been more disconnected with our family, friends and fellow man (in my opinion). You can go to a restaurant and see a whole family seated together and watch as they each play on their own cell phones to see my point. Yes I am friends online with people from my past, but what do they know and care about my life? Have I been seeking to know and care about theirs? Why not? They should. I should.
I think we would ALL benefit from a social network that was actually used to network authenticity. And then to step outside of that world wide web into action in the real world.
This is my plan and thought for 2016 as I IMMERSE (word of the year- read previous post) myself into a new writing project that I believe will prove to be very interesting and hopefully very generative of good cheer and delighting in my fellow mankind.
Be well and be real!
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