The Truth Behind the Pictures
This week I shared a couple of super cute pictures of my daughter on social media. Which isn't noteworthy in and of itself, because every living, breathing creature in the Milky Way Galaxy does that. I think there are strange extraterrestrial beings living on the sixth moon of Jupiter who have Instagram feeds.
But I'm starting to digress.
The pictures this week are noteworthy because my beautiful, photogenic little princess also had double ear infections and a mean case of pink eye. Which means that this week consisted of more than a few tears, tantrums, and instances of me having to force feed her vials of Amoxicillin.
And as I was in the throes of a mommy meltdown last night after way too many long days cooped up inside the house with said princess, I was suddenly struck by the irony of my own actions.
I recently watched a video about the correlation between Facebook use and depression. I've been thinking about it a lot lately, particularly the significance of social comparison in the equation. It's something I think we're all aware of. We go on Facebook, we compare our reality to our friends' "reality," and wake up three and a half hours later with a raging headache, a cramping hand, and an unquenchable need to binge on tortilla chips and Game of Thrones. For the next five days.
Maybe it's not Facebook's fault. Maybe it's our own. But it still sucks the big one.
And last night it occurred to me how very in cahoots I am with my own dysfunction.
The truth is that real life is not always very pretty. It's certainly not as pretty as an Aviary-edited, Lark-filtered version of the original. At least it doesn't appear to be at first glance.
I suppose I'm writing all of this because I want to out myself. I want to call my own bullshit and tell the truth behind my pictures. This week I've been doing a lot of pretending, and I want you, dear reader, to know that.
The truth is that sometimes being a mom exacts a heavy toll. It's one I pay willingly and with great joy. And yet every caretaker knows that, at times, you are often required to give far beyond the reserves of an empty storehouse. It wouldn't make for a pretty photo, but it's the truth.
Sometimes life is hard, even when it's good. And sometimes it can feel like you've lost your way, even when you're exactly where you're meant to be.
The truth is that, no matter how doctored up a photo might be, nothing can compare to the brilliant technicolor madness of real life. My pictures might have been cute, but nothing can convey the scent of my daughter's hair or the heat of her head resting against my chest. Nothing can capture my heart-breaking love for her as I watch her breathe and cut her toast and pray for all the days of her youth.
These are things that the computer misses, in all of its infinite wisdom. And we might miss them too, if we fail to look with wisdom and discernment.
So just in case I've been overly contributing to the monster-machine of social comparison this week, I just want to say that I am a real-life, tempestuous human being with a beautiful, untidy mess of a life.
There is a real life behind our photos. It is imperfect, but it is real. And that's something I hope none of us will ever forget.