Friday, July 5, 2013

When things aren't so lovely

In a world dominated by social media I often find myself comparing my everyday life to everyone's "highlight reel."

Comparing ourselves to others isn't new, our mothers did it, our grandmothers did it...but I do think it happens more often when you get a constant barrage of Facebook status updates, Instagram pictures, and tweets.

I think that makes it especially difficult when you have a rough day.

Today was rough.

Today I found lice in my daughter's hair.

Nobody ever updates their Facebook status when they find lice in their child's hair. For all I know, she is the first person on earth to get lice.

I was horrified. Those who know me personally, know that I have a higher than average borderline obsessive compulsive pull towards cleanliness and hygiene... so understand I was relieved to discover that proper hygiene has no baring on the discovery of lice. LET THAT BE KNOWN.

Where did she get it? I have no earthly idea. We go to the library a couple times a week, the children's museum every couple of weeks, the water park, the actual park, she spends a lot of time over at friends houses and vice verse. There are literally dozens of places she could have picked it up (she is very affectionate and often hugs strangers which is a theory I have--also she likes to play dress up at the children's museum which is equally likely).

Anyway, the point is I was discouraged and distraught. Lice being extremely taboo and disgusting, I have no experience with it other than what I've seen in the movies. I spent the better part of my day cleaning my home from top to bottom (for the third time in a week) and shampooing/nit combing the bugs out of her very long and beautiful hair.

Was I chomping at the bit to post my discovery and subsequent removal on various social media networks? Actually I wanted to crawl in a hole and die and no I didn't tell anyone except my out of state family and friends. (I don't THINK she passed it on to anyone...this post is being published a few months after the fact and we were extremely cautious with her exposure to anyone until we were sure she was absolutely clear. Plus, nobody else in our family got it so that's awesome.)

There is absolutely a thing as over-sharing through social media. I've probably been guilty of it (you know you post too much on Facebook when you start thinking in status updates--I've tried to be better in recent years). But I think we sometimes under-share for fear of being judged. We fear that the life we've portrayed would be jeopardized if we allowed ourselves to show weakness. I also think there is a taboo associated when we complain on social media...like if we post that we have a bad day we are fishing for sympathy, rather than reaching out because we truly need a friend.

Other examples of under-sharing might be:

I post when my husband surprises me with something sweet, or takes me out on a date but I don't post about how I felt after we got in a fight. 

I posted when I got a request for my full manuscript after seeking agents but I didn't post the two rejections I got on the same day. 

I posted when we paid off all our debt but I didn't mention the stress and anxiety and YEARS of struggling with a limited income. 

I post when I'm being a good mom but I don't post on the days when I'm so tired I just let them watch TV and feed them junk.  

I post pictures of going to the water park or discovery museum, or various vacations but I never post pictures of grocery, shopping, laundry, or toilet scrubbing. 

I post pictures of my accomplishments but I never post a picture of myself after sobbing because I feel like a failure. 


To be fair, if I posted about every mundane moment in my life nobody would want to be my friend. We don't need to know the details of everyday life. However I have found that I'm much more prone to be down about something when I compare, and expect my life to be like the ones I see on Facebook or Instagram. We need to be better at showing our weaknesses, as well as our strengths. We need to accept them as part of life, rather than being ashamed of them. Our weaknesses and moments of self doubt (and lets face it--sometimes loathing) give us texture and depth. Through our sorrows and tough times we learn compassion and love.

I challenge everyone (including myself) to be more transparent so that we may all recognize that it's okay to reach out for help. Life isn't perfect, and it's alright to acknowledge that not everything is going to be lovely all the time.


3 comments:

P & J said...

I absolutely love this. I really appreciate when people are honest, candid, and transparent instead of only "sharing their highlights" as you said. I think it would eliminate the competition or subsequent failure we often feel when comparing our lives to others. We end up comparing our weaknesses to their strengths and that never ends up in a good outcome.

Brandee Evarts said...

This is so true! It is not a competition. The highlight reels can make the rest of us feel so awful. I feel like I am doing a good job when they all survived another day and I can tuck them in, no matter that we didn't do anything pinterest worthy that day!

Brandee Evarts said...

This is so true! It is not a competition. The highlight reels can make the rest of us feel so awful. I feel like I am doing a good job when they all survived another day and I can tuck them in, no matter that we didn't do anything pinterest worthy that day!