The internet these days is pretty awesome. You can take photos of pieces of your life, all organized, all prettified (ya, you can make up words too), and show the world who you are in a series of square images under an Instagram handle. Instagram + Perfection = Instafection. And it IS contagious. You can decide what they see, and what they don't. Don't get me wrong. I love pretty. I love organized. I LOVE trends and order and putting your best foot forward. I do marketing, I get it. I understand the importance of selling yourself and using your personal life to match your branding. I get "being appealing to your potential market." I get it. And I'm not writing this blog in an effort to shame those who do it. I'm writing this blog to just tell you that I'm tired of it. I'm bored with it. I can't do it.
I scrolled through Instagram today on my personal profile, and I laughed at the "suggested to follow" images. A lot of them were moms. A lot of them were clearly professional photographer moms with photos of their kids in the cleanest of white painted houses, with the shiniest hardwood floors and kids in perfect magazine worthy outfits playing with vintage wooden toys. The lighting was perfect, the child was perfect, the house-perfect. I looked up from my tacky Kijiji chair, across the should-be-vaccuumed floor in my dimly lit rental condo, and over at my fuzzy headed, child in his drool soaked hand-me-down sleeper playing with the diaper wipes box. He looked up at me and laughed the biggest belly laugh for no reason at all. He snapped me back. And I smiled.
Comparison is the thief of joy.
Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook, etc, could have given me the opportunity to feel like absolute crap about where I am in life. I'm 30!! What do I have to "show" for it?
I don't have a gorgeous magazine worthy home. I'm lost when it comes to interior decorating, and my house has a very "lived in" feel...as in, most days there are dirty dishes in my sink, hair on the bathroom floor and sadly, an unmade bed (sorry Mom). I will argue that I DO have a magazine worthy child if his mom would just dress him better...haha (but I think every mother says that). I don't have trendy fashion sense (I'm lucky if I have a clean shirt that fits most days). I don't know how to do my hair in anything other than a side braid and a pony tail and my makeup routine is a 2-minute experiment each morning that I hope is a slight improvement?
I have these two beautiful rings on my left hand that remind me every day that I hit the jackpot at 23. I have this jiggly belly (mainly because I love poutine), but also because I gave birth to a beautiful 10lb 11oz baby boy (and I didn't hit the jackpot with elasticity in my skin...haha). I have a dirty floor because I spent too much time with my kid today playing peekaboo and making him giggle. I have a kitchen table covered in computers and cameras because we get to run our own business, and our awesome baby sleeps through the night in his own room (which is also our office). I don't write well, I go on tangents and long sentences and my grammar is AWFUL but I love doing it anyway. I'm a teenager at heart and love cheesy movies, costume parties and Ed Sheeran and I have a husband who hates that about me, and loves it about me all at the same time. I have laugh lines already. I'm 30, and they're deep, and I'm so incredibly proud of them. I have days when I work, where my face hurts simply from smiling too much.
I also have days where my head hurts from crying too much (or from my son crying too much). But you don't see that on Instagram. You don't see the the struggle, you don't see the fear, you don't see the self-doubt on that little square feed. You get the snippets of the good. Edited, retouched versions of peoples lives. The filters, the millions of photos to get "the one" you'll actually use, the perfection, the way we wish it was and most of all the way we hope everyone thinks it is.
We feel the need to fit the mold. We feel the need to be someone with an incredible story to tell, a beautiful story. Can I let you in on something? Every story has something beautiful. Every person is incredible in their own way. In my case, I'll let my freak flag fly.
I get that I'm in the business of making people look good. But I'd like to emphasize that I'm definitely much more in the business of making people FEEL good. When you do, it makes my job so much easier.
Don't allow what someone else has, or "appears to have" steal your joy. You are so much more than your profile picture.