Sunday, March 9, 2014

The Real Behind the Highlight Reel

I have a love/hate relationship with social media. 

Do you?

Seeing photos and updates about the lives of those I love
Sharing photos and updates of my own life with those I love
Being inspired by beautiful stories and photos from strangers around the world
Connecting with old friends and new
Picking up the latest tips, tricks, and ideas for all things, well, life

The lack of live, person-to-person contact
The highlight reel feel of it all, 99.9% of the time

So. It would seem that the Loves outweigh the Un-Loves. At least in quantity. But they don't necessarily weigh as heavily on my heart. Not always at least. Sometimes, the weight of the Un-Love list is a lot to bear. 

For me, Item #2 from that Un-Love list can be especially hard. 

Most of the time, we share the best parts of our days. We show the pictures that capture the magical moments. We post updates about the moments we are so proud of when it comes to our kids, our marriages, our friendships, our relationships, ourselves, our lives. And that is beautiful. And inspiring. And I love to see it. And I do it, too. 


I just want to make sure everyone out there knows, that is, all of you reading this right now, you do know that those are the best parts of the day, right? That is the highlight reel. Because it's much easier to share our beauty than our ugly. 

I am guilty. 

I am not someone who typically takes photos of my children when they are in the middle of a meltdown or snatching toys from one another or in timeout yet again. Or of myself when I am at my lowest point, patience-wise, kindness-wise, jealousy-wise. I don't write status updates about how I've had yet another hormonal breakdown and cried ugly tears for the third time in a week. I don't proudly proclaim that we had hot dogs and fruit loops for dinner because I am too tired and un-movitvated to cook. I don't share those things. Even though, I know I'm not alone. 

I can use filters to make beautiful, captured moments more beautiful. I can edit around unflattering angles and lighting and backgrounds and delete photos that don't perfectly showcase what I want them to capture. 

Actually, I think the highlight reel feel of it all can be quite isolating. Not for those sharing the photos and updates and high points. No--for those viewing it. Those who think, why can't I? How does she? 

Yes, it can be very isolating. 

If we could just say, 'Today was HARD.' 'Today was NOT a good day.' 'I lost it today.' 'I want a do-over today.' 'I was not the person I want to be today.' 

If we could just say those things, I think maybe we would all feel a little more connected. A little less isolated. A little more okay, more of the time. 

I try to be open and honest and real here in my little space on the internet. To acknowledge that there are certainly hard moments, struggling periods, identity crises, and plenty of coulda/shoulda/wouldas. Have I made that clear through my writing? If not, know that it all exists for me, and plays out regularly, as I strive to continue discovering where I came from, who I am now, and where I want to be. 

But then, I also struggle with this little nugget: This is MY space on the internet. MY little corner. And I typically use this space to document my favorite moments, to capture what is going on in my life right here, right now. Honestly? My decision to write a blog is a selfish one: I write for me, as a creative escape, as a sort of online scrapbook I will always hold close to my heart, one that documents this chapter of my life and all that comes with it. So. Why do I have to always air my grievances and my struggles when others can just float along in the ubiquity of their own highlight reels? 

To me, life is beautiful. And it is coming through the struggling, ugly moments that make it even more beautiful to me. But the non-struggling, happy, shiny moments are, well, beautiful, too.

So. You see. It's a battle, this whole social media thing. 

Nonetheless, I feel lead to say, we all have REAL behind our highlight REEL. We just all need to know it's there. Know it exists. For all of us. And we need to not get caught up in the REEL that is the highlights we all portray through social media. My REAL is certainly there, even if it is not always front and center in my photos, in my writing, in my updates, in my REEL. There are beautiful moments. There are not so beautiful moments. They are all  REAL moments. 

So. Trust me. Behind my highlights, behind the beautiful photos and words and stories and memories, there are plenty of bloopers. And I'm guessing I'm not alone.

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