I have a confession. I have a love/don’t love so much relationship with social media.
There is much to love about it: the connection and reconnection and the high school crushes and the puppies and babies and beaches and really hilarious memes. There is also the joy of seeing and hearing life updates from the people that you adore, no matter how many miles or how much time has separated you. And my two careers of being a writer and a real estate agent actually greatly depend on having a social media presence. I can honestly say that Facebook does help me feed my children and I am eternally grateful for that.
And it is free to join. Brilliant.
But here is the other side of social media: the mirage of the pretty, shiny, perfect life.
People that you know (or almost do or some not really at all) are out there drinking perfect lattes in perfect clean white blouses in perfect coffee shops in Switzerland, wearing the perfect shade of red lipstick while their perfect baby sleeps in a perfect pram. And you think of how deprived your babies are because not one of them ever had a pram. Or even really slept. But maybe if they had a pram they would have. And you couldn’t even keep your wedding dress clean, let alone a white shirt that comes within five feet of any shade of lipstick. Momma please. I beg you, show me that latte spill just a little bit on that shirt. Or at least tell me what Instagram filter you are using. Is it Amaro? Valencia? #askingforafriend.
The other day I was caught in a Facebook life spiral where you lose track of all time and all sense of reality, and I was looking at a friend of a friend’s cousin’s honeymoon pictures in Bora Bora. And instead of thinking what am I doing, I don’t even know these people, shut it down woman… this is what I thought: I AM A LOSER. I HAVE NEVER BEEN TO BORA BORA. I DON’T EVEN KNOW WHERE THAT IS. I’m terrible at geography. And math. Which is probably why I’m not in a different country right at this very moment like everyone else in my Facebook feed, doing amazing things in amazing places. Now I must go drown myself in Pinot Noir and salt and vinegar chips. But not before I see some more of these complete strangers wedding photos of their dog as a ring bearer.
I might be alone on this (especially maybe and hopefully on that last part) but I think that it would be refreshing if we posted a little less of the perfect and a little more of the real life. The hard, the struggles, the kid meltdowns at Target. Fewer filters, more honesty. Less perfect, shiny Christmas cards and more messages saying that this year has been on the harder side and I just can’t pretend that it hasn’t been so this holiday season I’m going to save some stamps and not mail cards but please know that I love you and I wish you all the happiness.
That’s what I did last December. And that’s most likely what I’m going to do this December. And if you’ve had a happy shiny year please know that I want to hear about that too. I want to celebrate your joy. I want to see your trips. I want to see you thrive. When I’m traveling or thriving or having a really good hair day, you better believe that I’ll be posting that too. I just want people who are having a tougher time to not feel that they have to coat their struggles behind a facade that all is perfect. That can be damaging and isolating and I would rather be there through the hard spaces of life than to not know that they existed at all.
I recently was at a friend’s house that I hadn’t seen in a while. He asked how I was doing and I gave my automatic response, I was good. And he said, “No… really. How are you really?” And I started crying. There were tears that I didn’t even realize needed to be released. There is beauty in being in a space where you feel comfortable enough to unpeel your layers. It is okay to shed your armor of how you think you should be perceived in the world. Don’t let the comparison of people on the internet steal your happiness. Don’t compare their edited filters of a trip of a lifetime to your everyday real world outtakes. Own your life for better and for worse and raise a glass to your authentic journey. Chances are they have experienced the hard too. I know they do. Anytime I write about the challenges of marriage or parenting or life or grief, I receive messages that say yes… I thought it was just me… I know… me too… me too… and isn’t connection what brought us all here in the first place?
You can still find me on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram (sorry LinkedIn). But more than anything else, I hope that you’ll find me in real life.
Imperfect and unfiltered.
To read more blogs by Katie Moore click here.
Katie Yackley Moore is a freelance writer, yoga instructor and a momma of four navigating life and a separation and finding herself in the process. She adores coffee shops, laughing until it hurts and impromptu dance parties. Her work has appeared on Scary Mommy, Mamalode and HuffPost Parents. She has published a journal entitled “Dream a Bigger Dream” and the children’s books “You Are a Warrior” and “We are Family” and just finished her first novel. Catch up with her between tea breaks at The Naked Momma and on Facebook.