A Tale of Two Facebooks

You know a face smiles, but it spills tears too.  

I was having a tough time before, during and after my trip to D.C. with my daughter’s 8th-grade class.  I was thrilled to be selected as a chaperone, but I was leaving my husband with a mountain of headaches. Problems that most every couple faces and because Jesus thinks we can handle it - several of them piled up at once.

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It’s been said that your eyes are the windows to your soul.  Sometimes we’re brave enough to share our soul with our friends and acquaintances.

Here's my story: The week before I left, I felt inspired to take two selfies. In the first, I was feeling positive, optimistic and full of the spirit.  I was believing wholeheartedly in the good. Later, I reluctantly took another one when I was run down, discouraged and feeling hopeless. I had been crying for awhile in my car like you do, and I remember thinking - I’m going to bring forth something good with all of this self-pity.

To my surprise, several ideas came from the images. The first - you ladies will appreciate this - I’ve chosen a remarkable mascara that held up after a 30-minute stream of ugly-cry tears, and secondly, the most important - we share what we’re willing to lose. We reveal a part of ourselves and discover it is a risk.  We’re willing to share the good, but sometimes we’re willing to share the bad and we place ourselves on the social media alter to be judged by our peers.

People forget that it’s okay to be vulnerable, or maybe they remember the pain of it.

I don’t believe we’ve given people the space to feel like it’s okay to share the bad. They don’t trust that their dirty laundry won’t be judged. We ARE judging you.  We can’t seem to help it. Everything that is posted runs rapid-fire through a filter of our history and values. I’d be lying if we weren’t - but we are less likely to judge you when you at least seem real. If your life is always portrayed as good, then it’s not believable.  If you say your life is always full of problems, we’re not buying that either. Humans have a wide range of emotions and connections with other humans. If you’re only promoting half of it - either all good or all bad - then you’re missing out on the deeper connection - the authentic relationship with other humans.Wouldn’t you be a more convincing human if you revealed both?  Good and Bad. Happy and Sad?

MISERY LOVES COMPANY

There’s a few of us who enjoy the wallowing or at least we know someone who does.  We all have that one friend that Every. Single. Time. they post on Facebook it’s to alert the rest of us to something negative. The daily struggle. Either they complain about the poor service they received, or update that they are in the throes of a tough relationship battle or they profess being born under the sign of the turd where nothing goes right for them. They are negative and gain attention from us through their misery. And we become the rubberneckers of someone else’s misfortune. Our scroll slows down to see the life’s wreckage.

But here’s what I believe….It’s okay to stumble and crumble and feel miserable. Just don’t settle in and reside there. We want to see your comeback. Deep down we want to see you overcome adversity so that we can believe it’s possible for us too.

We need the win - whether we admit it or not.

I had a boss once who said with gusto “Act enthusiastic and you’ll be enthusiastic.”  There is so much truth in that. Research shows that positive energy comes from fakin’ it until you make it and that forward motion helps your action stay in motion. But if we’re being honest - and an authentic human being - some days no matter how hard you try - you just can’t act or fake. Remember to be kind to yourself - forgive yourself - try again tomorrow.

Clouds are temporary, but so is sunshine.

You can’t always have good days....so this is for those who always post the good...

Most of us promote our highlight reel. Only the latest and the greatest sparkles on our profile page. The awesome selfie with perfect lighting. The humblebrags of our kid prodigies.  The latest vacation to a remote island no one’s heard of so deep down we think you’ve mastered photoshop like a beast. We take pictures of plated food like we’re a set designer for Food & Wine to showcase our unprecedented success at meal preparation. We connect all of our apps to Facebook to show how many miles we logged on this mornings jog, what books we just finished reading, or which game we just crushed.

REALLY, I’M SO GLAD YOU’RE SO BLESSED, SUSIE SUNSHINE.

ON LIFE & LEMONS

Please stop polishing your lemonade stand and make me a Bloody Mary - extra horseradish.  I want to be real with you. 

There are friends who only want to hear the good.  If life gets icky, they’ve scrolled away from you. They’re not necessarily a bad friend, they’re just not the friend you need for the rough patches. But beware of the friend that seems to thrive on your misery. The friend that shows up at your slightest irritation of life.

I want to know about your new job. I do. I want to see the pictures of your kids. Last weekend’s prom pictures stopped my heart - your gorgeous, all-dressed-up children no longer looked like they were just recently playing in the dirt or had ice-cream dripping off their chin. Your pet pictures get me too. I want them all. I love animals and yours look so darn lovable. But please share with me your tough times too. I want to connect and believe that you’re human and not perfect. Your imperfection allows me to forgive myself and that makes me adore you.

And finally...

In defense of the lurkers...

I want to take a moment and defend those of you who choose not participate in online banter. You are a member of this social media family and even though you elect not to like, comment or post a lot about yourself - it doesn’t matter - you count. You matter. Every human on this planet has good and bad experiences. We have rallies and hardships and even though you can’t imagine sharing your life’s details on a platform like Facebook, you are part of the silent discussion. You’ll empathize with someone who has a health condition similar to yours. You relate to the posts about the struggles of parenting. You may have always wanted to visit Chicago and a friend just posted a few pictures from there.  

You wouldn’t think I understand your hesitation about posting online because I obviously share so much, but I do.  My mom often said to me (waaaaaay back - when I was a small child and long before Facebook.) “Eleanor, I don’t believe I would’ve told that. Some things you just keep to yourself.” Raise your hand if someone in your family has said this. But for as long as I can remember, I’ve always over-shared - even if it embarrassed me. As a child, there was some level of understanding that I was being “real” or “authentic” to my audience. I still have the unabashed filter of an 11-year-old.