****i made this private at first because I just needed to write. If you write, you know how that feels! Then ppl who get posts via email were confused and I hadn’t thought that through. It seems a bit dramatic but I guess I don’t really give a shit. I thought that by making a password and having it private, no one would see it but I guess it still goes to emails and it did the complete opposite of what I was trying to do! Password protected no more 😂
My heart struggles with a constant tug-of-war. Do I live a life that I feel is uniquely me? That is true to who I am, what I love, what I believe and how I feel? Or do I bend and mold into what is mainstream, what is popular, what is cool and what is normal? Does that sound super dramatic? Sometimes life is.
When I get pulled into different directions, I struggle. My anxiety becomes overwhelming and I panic. I have a hard time living in the moment and I try and please everyone and make everyone happy and I fall short or I go overboard and in either direction, it’s not what anyone needs.
I had a moment this week, one that I’m fairly certain Oprah would call an “Ah-ha” moment. A moment that made things make sense and made things clear and seem possible and had me breathing so much easier. Get ready because it’s a silly step it caused me to take and one that might seem so ridiculous and minute.
I got rid of almost all of my social media. Facebook, Snapchat, Twitter. I limited my use on Instagram. You can laugh again, because I’m going to say: I think that maybe it will change my life.
Perfectly curated and specifically designed lives are presented all over Facebook. I see beautiful dinners on Instagram and people’s beautiful moments with their kids on Snapchat. I see newly purchased bags (or shoes or clothes or cars, etc) and amazing vacations. I see couples kissing and makeup perfectly applied. Usually the caption has nothing to do with the picture, but really that’s not the point, is it? The point of all of that is to show off. To show people what we have, how funny we are, how hip and trendy and amazingly beautiful we are. Look, our kids are so well dressed and we eat things like organic apples and incredibly expensive snacks (but only for pictures, of course) and sometimes if I tag the company or friends I’ll get more likes and maybe even a comment and look at how much cooler I am now!
When I do something, I go all in. If you know me, you know this to be true: parties, friendships, hobbies, you name it. Social media. I was the best at showing off. I could angle that camera down perfectly and you wouldn’t even know I wasn’t looking my best that day. I tried hard to show real parts of my life like giant mounds of laundry but I much preferred that perfectly cleaned kitchen with that fruit bowl full of fruit in the background just casually hanging out as if I didn’t move it just right before snapping the picture of Ollie mixing up some cookies. There were times when I’d laugh at how amazing my little life looked in that square picture when really we just got done fighting with one another and we had Doritos for lunch. It’s exhausting keeping up with all those real cool people on social media, but I certainly gave it my best shot. It truly was my real life but mostly just the best parts of it. Here, the blog, this is where I share the hardest parts. This is what I think is most important and what’s most important to me.
Over the past year, I’ve gotten more emotional than normal. I worry more about what people think. I get my feelings hurt (unreasonably so) when before it’d take a LOT for me to get my feelings hurt. I doubt myself more often and I question whether what I am doing is good and nice and that’s so ridiculous because I know who I am and I know what I am and under this crazy layer, I’m happy with it all 100%. I think without a doubt social media has fed this anxiety. It’s not the complete cause, I know this, but it definitely isn’t helpful.
Here’s my truth: my life is crazy. I have six kids under the age of 12. I have five girls. I have one boy. I have an autistic child. I work both at home and away from home. We enjoy adventures and (almost) nothing scares us. We will pick up everything and drive three hours to play with friends on the beach and turn right around and drive home. Experiences are everything to us and we try hard to have as many as possible. With these truths, it’s nearly impossible to live out a perfectly curated life, one that is predictable We have lots of bumps in our road and things come up unexpectedly and we have to take detours and we’re lucky that we’re able to go with it. We have lots and lots of people we love and enjoy and they come from lots of different backgrounds and life experiences and they enjoy lots of different things from skateboarding to world travels to computer science to dancing. We feel like we experience more because of all of these amazing people. We like the quiet friends who stay home and the crazy friends who are always on the go and we feel really lucky that we’re invited into each of their lives.
I can’t impress everyone and I not everyone will love what I have to offer and what I’m learning and have finally come to know is that I don’t have to impress and people most certainly don’t have to love what I offer. And, quite frankly, I don’t want to have that pressure. I thought I’d learned this already. I always think I know and each time I proclaim it, I’m certain it’ll stick, including this time. It’s exhausting and it feels fake and it feels desperate and all that doesn’t feel good. I don’t look at my phone every hour now because there’s no one to keep track of because there isn’t a social media app to open. My friends text me or call me when they need me or want to talk to me and I do the same to them. I see people during my every days and I’m genuinely happy to see them and I say hello and I’m happy to hear from them (directly from them) how they are doing and new things happening and I don’t have to go the awkward, “oh, I saw that on Facebook,” route of conversation. I think this change is going to help me get myself back and to feel like my relationships and experiences are real and organic as opposed to set up and fake. It’s been a really short time that I’ve detoxed my life from a lot of this subconscious competition but I’m not lying when I say it’s already been pretty great. Being genuine and authentic has always been important to me and it’s so much easier now.
I know that not everyone feels the same way about sharing their whole lives down to the thing they ate that morning for breakfast and how it affects their behaviors and relationships and that’s okay. I know that lots of people don’t compete. That they share photos because their family loves to see what they’re up to or they run a business or they genuinely just love to keep up with friends. I know, too, that lots of people don’t know they compete and that was me absolutely. I was all of those other things, too, but along with those good and nice parts of social media came the others. Not anymore, though.
I feel like I’m rebooting and it’s wonderful.