This has been ping-ponging around in my head and heart lately.
Jordan and I are working on redecorating our house. This has meant countless hours on Pinterest, looking at lifestyle blogs, shopping discounts and scrolling through West Elm, Ikea, Pottery Barn, etc.
Getting sucked in is so easy.
When our parents were growing up, they had to go buy a magazine if they wanted to get decorating tips from professionals. All we have to do is open Instagram. And, while there's a certain convenience and accessibility to that, it also means we're constantly bombarded with perfection. Everyone's perfect smiles, perfect dog, perfectly decorated houses, perfectly sleeping babies in perfectly styled nurseries. You've probably heard it put this way many times before, but social media tricks us into believing that everyone's highlight reel is also actually their life.
Let me just get real here for a minute.
My Instagram is a carefully curated collection of moments I'd like to share. It's a highlight reel, as they say. It's my favorite moments, my most aesthetically pleasing moments, Tom Hanks (my dog)'s cutest moments, Jordan (my husband)'s funniest moments. That's not to say the moment isn’t real - it is, but it leaves out 3/4 of the story of our lives. And, even though these moments are actually happening, how many times have I taken more than one picture to get that "perfect," Instagram-worthy shot? LOTS OF TIMES.
The rest of the story is the cereal for dinner, the little arguments, the perpetually clogged shower drain, the dog peeing in the house because we left him alone too long. It's me forgetting appointments, saying the wrong thing, completing tasks last-minute, eating half a bag of Goldfish, watching too much Netflix. And I'm not saying this in a Jennifer Lawrence-y, relatable, adorable, Brad Paisley song, inscribed-on-an-ironic-tank-top-at-Target kind of way. I'm talkin' about the not cute moments, people. My real, real life.
The Internet is a tricky, mean girl. She'll show you what you should look like, how your house should be decorated, and then give you one, long up-and-down stare before flashing you a tight-lipped, condescending smile and turning away. She's a fake friend.
So as I'm thinking about our home, decorating it, and "keeping up," I'm remembering a few things: I am not perfect. I love the people in my life regardless of their "perfection," and that must mean that the people in my life love me whether or not my house/hair/clothes look like they've been professionally handled. It's hard to believe, but it must be true. That whole "unconditional" thing is real! The reason why it's exhausting to achieve the Social Media Standard of Perfection is that it's not actually a real thing. It's like running after a hologram. And it's way more fun to use social media as a fun highlight catalog, but also live with the knowledge that it's exactly that: best moments. It's not everyday moments. Otherwise we'd have already come up with some hellacious 24-hour live video stream. (Whenever that happens, count me out.)
By the way - if you feel overwhelmed by comparison and falling short, take a break from social media/blogs for a few days. It's amazing how great your life starts to feel once you stop stacking it up against other people's. Comparison is the thief of joy.
In that spirit, here is a photo that is about 1,000% less than perfect. Because I have to believe you love me anyway.
I was eating an ice cream sandwich the other night and Jordan said, "Don't move. Stay right there." Then he took this picture. Here it is, totally unedited: chins, chocolate in my teeth and all.