That’s not the whole story…
While I’d like to think that I’ve grown less cynical and more optimistic throughout the years, one fact remains true: I despise mommy bloggers. Well, not mommy bloggers specifically, but the sentiment of mommy bloggers—the depiction of picture perfect lives with beautiful babies, beautiful kitchens, and beautiful outfits, pulled straight from a Pinterest board, sponsored by Lulu Lemon.
What’s your story? I wonder. Life can’t be that enchanting. Even Disney princesses have baggage to sort out.
So imagine my chagrin as I was catching up with a childhood friend and she said to me, “You seem so happy. How do you make so many friends so easily? You’re always so busy doing things with theater and traveling and volunteer work…”
I laughed, uneasily. “How do you gather all that?”
“Well, your Facebook posts are always so positive and eventful.”
“Yeah, except social media isn’t real. I mean, the positivity and content is definitely real, but that isn’t the whole story.”
If we’re connected on Facebook, this is what you’ll more than likely gather about me: I moved to Chicago from Charlottesville, Virginia less than a year ago with a craving for adventure. I’m passionate about social justice and higher education, and I hang out with performance artists and create things in my spare time. Every once in awhile, I’ll write a post about an interesting festival I attended or a new city I traveled to, coupled with a ton of beautiful pictures. While I’m fiercely independent, I still believe in love and friendship.
What an awesome life, right? Except, that’s not the whole story.
I’m 28 years old and divorced by virtue of my own actions. I moved to Chicago because I simply wanted a fresh start and anonymity. The amount of times I’ve typed the word “I” in this essay is grating on my nerves, and I constantly feel like I’m not doing enough to better the world because I’m too busy trying to yank my head out of my own ass. I hang out with creative people, but I don’t consider myself especially creative or talented. I chronically drink—not just in social situations, but at home when I’m by myself. It’s not irregular for me to go through an entire bottle of wine in one night. I take a lot of pictures, but if you take a look at my Instagram, you won’t find many people in those photos because more often than not, I go out alone. But I still believe in love and friendship.
Well, that was fucking depressing. But both accounts are entirely true, just framed differently. Social media has a way of enabling us to make an epic movie trailer out of our lives, when 98% of the truth is actually buried on the cutting room floor.
This isn’t a knock on social media. Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter have all enhanced my life in different ways—they make it easier to communicate with friends and family, they help me organize the pictures I take, and they serve as a directory and bookmarking system for all the people I meet and interesting articles I’ve come across. I tried quitting Facebook again recently, and the only thing it did was make it more difficult to log into my Spotify account and leave me clueless about potential theater-related projects.
So, find a happy medium. Let social media serve its purpose as an efficiency tool. But don’t let it paint the entire picture for you. Take the time to personally reach out to the people you care about, hear their whole story, and put some effort into that love and friendship.