They say comparison is the thief of joy, & never is that more apparent than when browsing the Internet. Last week's episode of my new favorite podcast, The Shepod, started with a conversation about people who portray perfect lives on social media. It's a topic that's been talked to death but continues to be relevant because it continues to make, like, 99% of us feel bad about our lives.
You know what I'm talking about: So-and-So with the seemingly perfect life, That Girl with the impossibly beautiful photos, Some Rando From College who seems to have all their shit together. The advent of social media has allowed savvy individual users to turn themselves into one-woman (yep, it's usually women) brands, portraying themselves online as the real-life equivalent of the kind of lives we used to only see in magazines & on TV. We knew those things were fake, altered, whitewashed - but OMG, look at these real people who have it all together. We used to believe such people were unicorns made up by the movies, but now they're on Instagram, showing us their real - & really perfect - lives. And making the rest of us feel bad about ourselves.
For the most part, none of us is sharing the bad moments on social media. You don't want to see a picture of my perpetually unmade bed, & I don't want to show it to you. I want to show you that delicious brunch I ate, that beautiful gift my boyfriend gave me for Valentine's Day, that cute face my adorable cat made, that day my hair looked really awesome. We're all entitled to share only the pieces of our lives that we deem fit for public display.
And all of that is OK. But.
Even if we're not sharing the less-than-perfect moments online, I think it's important to acknowledge that they exist. By acknowledging that we're imperfect people leading imperfect lives, we remind one another that we are all just human, no matter how pretty the pictures.
And so, in the spirit of imperfection, here are a few of the things you haven't seen from me on social media:
- I keep both Kraft mac & cheese & packets of Ramen noodles in my
kitchen. I eat them... uhhh, not infrequently. Also, there are Totino's pizza
rolls in my freezer & not nearly enough vegetables in my crisper.
- Probably related to the above, I recently freaked out so hard about my
body/weight that I almost canceled Valentine's Day plans because I
felt huge & horrible & ugly. Then I took an Ativan to calm down, which meant I couldn't even celebrate the holiday
with a cocktail.
- I typed in my bank account information incorrectly while making my car payment - which was already late. The combo resulted in a $35 late fee and a $25 bounced check fee, which led to my crying on the phone to my bank, who still wouldn't waive either of them.
- This morning, I woke up so sore from the most basic yoga video that I almost literally couldn't move. I took two Aleve & went back to bed & started work an hour late & didn't even tell anyone. (The Aleve didn't help, by the way. Ow.)
- My bank shut off my credit card without warning (because a $6 purchase at a store on my own block seemed "suspicious"), which resulted in my being declined at a coffee
shop. Embarrassing. When I called the bank to sort it out, I got so mad
that I started shouting. In public. And realized that people were
watching with visible discomfort.
- My living room rug is almost always full of cat fur because I haaaaate vacuuming, & it also boats a very large, very ugly red wine stain. And every time I do yoga, I can see underneath the couch, revealing a colony of crumbs & dust that I apparently don't get to when I clean.
- I wear a plastic mouthguard & ridiculously patterned leggings to sleep, usually topped with a
hole-riddled T-shirt that's borderline destroyed. Super sexy, I know. Apologies to my boyfriend.
- Last week, I went four days without washing my hair. Unrelated but still gross, I gagged today when I finger-combed through my hair & pulled out a hairball so big that my friend referred to it as "a starter nest." Apologies to my boyfriend again.
- A coworker recently sent me an email reaming me out for what he perceived as my lack of effort on a major project we're working on together. He CCed not only his boss, but my boss, my boss's boss, & our director of development. How's that for a bad day?
- My car needs an oil change & has been sans windshield wiper fluid for more than two months, & I haven't been to a car wash in... awhile. (To be fair, I paid for one the other day but left when I saw that the line was nine cars deep.)
- I left a seemingly innocuous comment on an Instagram post that somehow escalated into some Internet people telling me to "Go die" & yet got me blocked from the account. When Mike came into the kitchen as I was reading through the cruel comments, he asked what was wrong & I screamed, "Nothing is wrong, OK?!?!" like a totally rational person.
- I can't figure out how to get my cat so stop spraying tiny kitty litter pebbles all over the guest room every time he jumps out of the box, so I have to sweep in there, like, every damn day.
- My aunt left a jacket at my apartment in August, & I still haven't sent it back to her. Similarly, I just, finally, put my coworker's birthday card in the mail this week - despite the fact that her birthday was in January.
- Before last week's really awesome success with getting an essay placed in Woman's Day magazine, I submitted that very essay to six different outlets, all of which rejected it.
- I have not yet done my taxes or even opened the envelopes that contain my tax documents.
Thanks for liking me anyway.
Got a real-life confession to share? I look forward to reading them in the comments!