Picture Perfection 

Like a lot of people, I’m addicted to social media, particularly Facebook and Instagram. It’s the first thing I check when I’m trying to wake up in the morning. And like a lot of people, I stalk others on social media and then feel bad about myself. “Look at that family picture – they look so happy together. Even the baby is smiling for the camera!” “Look at how skinny she is even after having three kids! I love that Chanel bag. I wish I’m able to afford a Chanel bag.”
And I judge. “She is so ugly but even she didn’t get cheated on by her husband.”
Everyone knows that Facebook is Fakebook and that a lot of social media users have two different lives – the real life that they’re living in and the picture perfect life that they are presenting to the world, filtered through social media lenses. It’s a stressful world that we live in and it’s made even more stressful when we feel like we have to live up to some imaginary social media standards and keep up with the Joneses. And it’s addicting! I’ve tried detoxing myself from Facebook countless times but I always feel like I’m missing something in my life when I’m not checking Facebook. My latest excuse is that my Spotify is hooked up to my Facebook and I would lose my carefully curated playlists if I disconnect. So for those of you who are not on social media yet and are on the fence about jumping on the social media bandwagon, don’t do it.
Screw picture perfection. It’s impossible. And most people who post picture perfect lives on social media are actually faking it. There is no such thing as a perfect life – a lot of people just don’t air their grievances on the world stage. It’s human nature to want others’ admiration and envy. 
I know a woman whose life seems perfect on the outside. She has two beautiful daughters and a successful husband who loves her. She is a stay at home mom. They live in an exclusive neighborhood and also own an upscale apartment in Manhattan. They take expensive vacations a couple times a year. She is also slim, sexy and attractive. And she posts pictures of their perfect life on Instagram.
In short, everything looks perfect… on the outside.
I met her last year and she told me that she has been seeing a therapist twice a week for some time now to treat her depression and is considering taking medication. Her husband and her haven’t had sex in years and have been sleeping in separate rooms for quite some time now. She said she’ll be happy for her husband if he has an affair because she wants him to be happy. But in the meantime, she is sticking this marriage out and doesn’t want to divorce ‘because of the kids’.
Looking at her Instagram life, I’d have never guessed that she was having problems as well – like everyone else. 
I think that trying to attain perfection in life is not worth it. In fact, I preach living an authentic life, according to your terms. 
When I first found out about the affair, I disconnected from social media for a while. I was afraid. I was lost. I didn’t want to feel like a failure. And then I resurfaced and started posting about what happened. Part of it was revenge – I wanted the world to know what a jerk my ‘Mr Nice Guy’ ex husband was and what he did to me. But part of it was the urge to speak the truth – I wanted everyone to know that yes, shit did happen to me and that it’s ok and that I will survive. More importantly, I wanted people who are in a similar situation to know that yes, it is ok to have your dreams shattered and the life you thought you had and were going to have, crumble. It will be scary but you will pull through and you will be ok. 
I post about my new life now. I post about the happy moments. I post about the funny moments. I also post about some of the struggles I face. I like keeping things real.
So friends, if you’re down and out and feeling like a complete failure because your life isn’t as perfect as your friends’ – just remember that their lives ain’t that great either. And the better story to tell is not one where you remain stuck in a bad situation because you were too afraid to risk your picture perfect image, but one where you are the Phoenix rising from the ashes. 

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One thought on “Picture Perfection ”

  1. This is a great post and I totally concur. Facebook isn’t real life and the pressure to either live up to impossible, artificially created standards left me hollow and depressed. I wondered how I had not achieved the happiness, physical fitness and wealth everyone else had. Then I left. I switched it off since April and have been measurably happier than before. I miss some people I communicated with primarily through FB, but I also receive more joy from those IRL “in real life” relationships I maintain. I didn’t have a perfect marriage, steamy sex life, straight-A kids, Disney cruises twice a year or a new F150. I do have a more quiet mind, stopped taking Wellbutrin, reconnected with my spouse and began to enjoy life in the moment. I ceased missing what I felt I “should have” based on others lives but was likely to never materialize for me.

    Liked by 1 person

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