Imperfection in a Social Media World
Why don't we feel like we have permission to be fully human on social media? Why do we have to be like the machines we post on? Why doesn't everyone share their bummer days and the times when they aren't at the top of their game?
We share negative personal news for sympathy and mutual anger and frustration. But we don't share about the guilt we feel that we put on ourselves. We don't share about the hours our kids spent on screens because we just couldn't show up as a happy, engaging, fun parent. We don't share about the times when someone else let us down or stood us up. We don't share about the bouts of anger and yelling and tears.
We just don't.
Maybe we don't because we don't want the sympathy or the unwarranted judgement. Maybe we don't because the person who hurt us "follows" us.
And we don't have to share what we aren't comfortable sharing. Don't get me wrong about that.
But, because we don't, we feel very alone in the valleys of life.
We only see her put together smiling children. We only see her Pinterest win of a meal. We only see her perfect makeup, possibly through a beauty filter.
We don't see the fight it took to get her kids in those designer clothes and out of their favorite Elmo pajama shirt. We don't see the hundreds of other meals that are just microwaved frozen burritos, Goldfish and marshmallows. We don't see the greasy hair with big strands falling out of an ugly ponytail with a completely natural face.
When I photograph, I want to show every aspect of being human. Sometimes I think if aliens saw my photos, what would they learn about the human race? I want to show the tears, the frustration, the anger. I want to tell the whole story, not just stop clicking the shutter when it goes south. It takes a certain type of person to be okay with showing every side of their personality and life. Most of my photos on my website are just the happy, funny moments. But I'm going to promise to you that I will share more of the story. More of the lows that go along with the highs.
The pain on a new mother's face as the baby latches on again for their next meal. The exhaustion covering every inch of her face as she stretches herself thin by putting everyone else first. The discipline that happens every day as you send your child to their room. The time when you hide and escape into your phone for a few minutes.
Life is messy. It is for all of us. We see small tailored snapshots of our friends' lives, but we see the unedited, messy and glorious version of our own.
Let's share the valleys of our lives. Let's share all the emotions, not just the happy ones. Let's be unapologetically imperfect. Let's share with each other in this human experience and we might just find that we are not as alone as we think.
Use the hashtag #NotJustTheHappy when you share real moments from your life so we can all band together in this thing called life.