I’ve been reading a lot lately about how we only post the highlights of our life on social media. People are saying that this isn’t good, because it gives others a false idea of what our lives are really like. It breeds jealousy, it causes us to document over savoring moments.
I think that posting the ‘highlights’ is a good thing — it helps with self esteem, causes us to be grateful, and lets others know what’s going on in our life. Supporting each other is a big priority on Instagram, and it’s turning into a community setting. I use Facebook to let my relatives who I don’t get to see too often what’s happening in my life, and to connect with them in an easy and quick manner. Tumblr boasts itself as a mecca for community and friendship, but I see a lot more outrage, negativity and mindless reposting there instead.
Anyway, I’ve been thinking a lot about what I’m leaving out when I’m posting the highlights. What really got me thinking about this is that one of the bloggers I follow talked about this — but didn’t reveal anything she was leaving out. Isn’t that funny? She spent all this time pouring into a post about how just because we may think her life is amazing, or perfect, but we don’t see everything. She has a lot of hardships we don’t know about it. Just remember that — end of post.
This kind of upset me. I understand that in some regards, a blogger is like a very, very, very, very miniature Internet celebrity, and they have to be careful what they post. Everyone can see it, including friends, family, coworkers, etc. But on the other hand, I don’t feel like you should claim something without evidence to back it up. I would have felt better if she would have said something like, ‘I have hardships you don’t know about — I’ve been struggling to lose weight and my car needs a repair I don’t know if I can pay for.’ The honesty would have been more connecting than just a vague reference to some “troubles”.
I got upset, but I know that in some regards, I do the same thing. On Instagram, on Facebook, in real life, I act as though my “troubles” are just a shrug away from being solved. I hide the things I don’t want people to know.
I post a before/after of my weight loss on Instagram, but don’t say how that same day I got a terrible stomachache and diarrhea from overeating.
We tell people we’re ready to pay off and repair our car to sell it … but neglect to add that we’re still figuring out how to afford either.
I post on a Facebook wall about the new jeans I bought, leaving out the part about how I struggled internally with the fact that they’re an 8 and not a size 6.
I smile and joke at work about when we’re having a baby, because I’m too afraid of people’s reactions to tell them we’re never having one.
My smile is big and bright in every picture I post … you would never know that I freak out every night because I have gum disease.
Yeah, that last one was probably the hardest one to type. I feel like such a loser and idiot for having it, because it’s totally preventable. But I’m awful with dental health, and I haven’t seen a dentist in four years. My gums have been bleeding when I brush since the spring. I freaked out, attacked them with a toothbrush every chance I got, and it finally slowed to a stop last month. Last week I had some pain in my one tooth, and Husband looked at and determined it was because the gum was receding and the root was starting to show. The pain is gone but nothing’s changed with the gum line, obviously. I finally, finally made a dentist appointment for the beginning of February. I’m terrified to face the reality of this and what I might have to go through to repair it. I acknowledge that it’s no one’s fault but my own, and I block any thought of what I’d say or do if other people found out. Honestly, it was hard enough to sit down with Husband and let him know what was happening. I felt so ashamed. He, as always, was very rational about it, explained that he’s had plenty of cavities and such, and pushed me to make an appointment even though I don’t have dental insurance right now.
Facing the reality is tough. I unfortunately possess the mentality that if I don’t think about or look at something, it will magically resolve itself. As a teen I was constantly hiding things from my parents, hoping it would go away before they would find out, and procrastination was (and is) my biggest flaw. I’m working on it, but it’s hard. So so hard. I knew I needed to go to the dentist for a couple years now, but I rationalized that I wasn’t having any tooth pain, so everything was okay. Now I researched and read that 30% of people have gum disease and don’t know it because in the beginning, there are virtually no symptoms.
I’m taking this as a lesson and hoping to learn from it. I’m trying to face hard situations and conquer them.