Posting on social media is pretty much the equivalent of having a quick passing conversation with another person.
“I’m great. Just got back from vacation.”
“How fun! We’re too busy for vacation, but that’s because Johnny made the soccer team and Sarah is taking four honors classes.”
I’m not against Facebook (my time on it would tell you otherwise), and think it can be useful for connecting with and staying in touch with people. So long as
we I remember it shows the highlights, not the whole story.
Can’t tell you the last time I’ve passed someone – even a close friend – and yelled out “I’m great, thanks for asking! Nearly had a breakdown and yelled at my kids a bazillion times today,” or “Just had the worst fight ever,” or “Sure, I made this creative potty chart … but then I ripped into small pieces because I’m convinced my kid won’t be potty trained before the age of 12.”
We share highlights, not the stories that might make people avoid us in the grocery store. Online, I can make you perceive me any way I want to be perceived.
Searching for inspiration for our entryway, I Googled ‘foyer.’ My thought was that our front door opens into a room that’s bigger than a typical entryway, so I thought foyer was the proper terminology. But it turns out it just made me stop thinking about home improvement projects and want to watch Gone with the Wind.
Or go to a cathedral??
Or, if I was feeling a tad less fancy, here this was my third option.
The Internet seems to show what’s pretty and hide what’s not.
I’m as guilty as the next person of wanting to post an accomplishment or especially darling photo of my daughters for all my ‘friends’ to see. But in this world of online insanity, sometimes I just want to be real. I want to be real, and I want everyone else to be real too. I want to hear a ‘me too.’
I want you to know that – while not Facebook news worthy – a lot of weeks our folded laundry never makes it into the dresser. That I cannot.stop.biting.my.stinking.nails. I fight with my husband more than I’d like. I get jealous when I see pictures of my friends and/or acquaintances hanging out and I wasn’t invited. To the point where I let it ruin my day. A lot of days I don’t feel pretty. Like a lot. I regret the time I didn’t spend with my kids after they’re in bed. I slightly freak out when someone else’s 3 year old is writing words and mine just wants to argue over which pair of underwear to wear.
Instead of being honest and vulnerable, I just want to compare. My defense tells me to post something online about her learning Spanish. #thankyouDora
But more than anything, sometimes I just want to know that somewhere else someone on this planet feels the same way I do and is brave enough to talk about it.
In a way that feels all-too-timely to be random, I just sat in on a workshop at a Mom’s conference where a popular speaker and seemingly has-it-all-together, wonderful mom shared of the fear that overtook her life as a mom.
And then I received an e-mail from an acquaintance from college:
I know you’re a farmer’s wife and have kids. How do you do it during harvest? I’m finding it really hard.
Know deep down that you’re enough, but feel inadequate to do whatever it is you’re doing? Ever feel lonely? Question your role as a mom, wife, sister, friend? Feel discontent and you don’t know why? Don’t understand why your husband thinks it’s absurd to spend 45 minutes in Target to buy three things (somebody, please tell him this is normal!)?
And when I’m feeling small and don’t have the courage to admit these things, I’m thankful for the people around me who do. For the experienced mom who picks up my screaming child and tells me she’s been there. For the friend who’s honest about her struggles, as well as her good times. And for the ones who pause for a minute before giving the expected ‘I’m good,’ response.
Those who are brave enough to be real. Impatiently, unpolished, imperfectly real.
And when someone else does the same? Give them the same encouragement you crave. Open up, be vulnerable, and tell them ‘me too.’