On the eve of our 07.07.07 wedding anniversary, I happened to be left alone with a sliver of quiet and my big iPhone while Kevin bathed the boys.
As usual, I looked at the many photos on my phone.
I noticed our recent family selfie from our evening drive to the beach.
We were all smiles and for once, I was IN the picture instead of behind the camera(phone). I wanted to share it but I also couldn’t stomach plopping another perfect photo into the sea of perfect moments on Facebook.
Perfect moment overload these days. Maybe it’s the humidity, but I just needed a break.
The picture tripped me out because we were in one of the worst weeks in our marriage thus far, but there we were, beaming at the beach. Posting the picture without an accompanying “confession” felt incomplete.
This was the picture:
And this was the caption:
[6.25.15 – the story behind this “perfect” family pic is that Kevin and I were doing horribly. At least a week and a half or so was spiritually dark.
We remembered that water is life-giving to me/us so we drove to the beach in the evening, after the workday, following wack GPS directions through alleys as if we were trying to lose the cops, hoping that the backdrop would help, even just a little.
Just felt like sharing that in case people assume that everyone ELSE on their Newsfeeds is living perfect lives that have somehow eluded them. As if there was such a thing. Chile, please.
Tomorrow is our 07.07.07 wedding anniversary. Praying that I can shed some bad habits of explosive anger, criticizing, and blaming. Pray for us when we pop up on your Newsfeed. Thanks!]
I was blown away by the feedback I received. The number of Likes alone was mind-boggling. I had only received that sort of Facebook love for the birth of my sons.
People were actually expending energy in their thumbs to comment and write me personal messages. Facebook friends kept thanking me for being “real” and “honest,” and for “sharing what no one seems willing to.”
I was touched by the feedback but also couldn’t help but think that I hadn’t shared anything too radical. I wondered why Facebook lacks more vulnerability in general since there was a swell of immediate response to it.
I sure didn’t invent it and I sure don’t have a monopoly on it but it felt like I had flipped the script on unspoken social media rules: I had shared a chunk of my interior life instead of the 777,777th photo of my beloved boys in our courtyard.
I wonder why there isn’t more sharing? Isn’t it only natural as we do life together and bother to update regularly? No adult is going to be shocked that *GASP* your life is not perfect. That you are not perfect!
We can still share the gorgeous photos and emoji-filled updates and viral baby dancing videos and 2.5 more parenting articles that will revolutionize the way I raise up my kids but how about a dash of Real Talk here and there?
Just from the response to my photo caption, I sensed that others are also feeling the void of two-dimensional Facebook. Sure, we love to see what our friends are up to, what they are eating, where they are visiting but those updates alone don’t help us to connect on a deeper level and get to know each others’ insides any better.
Many Facebook users, including me, have reported more feelings of depression, isolation, and envy after scrolling through their friends’ highlight reels on their Newsfeeds. This is because we almost never share back stories of our photos or go a little deeper in our status updates. Maybe not full-on confessions like I’m naturally inclined towards but just a little something more?
Sure, there are some topics one should save for a safe, select few. However, there are universal struggles and fears we have all gone through, are going through, or will go through by virtue of being human. And by sharing, you may touch someone else.
This was not meant to be yet another rant against social media for only displaying people’s highlight reels instead of their real lives. Hey, it’s not Facebook’s fault. Facebook is not a living, breathing organism. We, the users, make Facebook what we want it to be and lately, we’ve been keeping it pretty damn surface level.
My happy photos are NOT fake. But they only tell part of the story. And no matter what I may be going through, I am genuinely happy in those moments I hug up on my boys for a photo.
Just like my brother and I scribbled with a shorty #2 library pencil on a comment card at Sizzler, decades ago in response to their “No Sharing” policy at their establishments: Sharing is caring.