They are posting again. There they go with their perfect pictures of perfect wardrobes and perfect kids. Perfectly filtered and perfectly hash-tagged. There they go again. Posting their perfection for all to see. Publicly pushing their perfect life into my PC. Flooding my feed and I am eating it all up. Clicking and scrolling and stuffing their perfect pixels into my fantasy of their oh-so-much-better-than-my-own mundane life.
My view of them is not based in reality, it is based in the reality TV version of them. The perfectly edited, perfectly choreographed, perfectly illustrated version of whatever is actually going on in their life. The truth is I don’t even really know them, not very well at least. Not in a way that truly matters. They are somewhat acquaintances, somehow connected to me through the random web of social media.
Yet here I sit, watching their perfect life from the confines of my cob-webbed cornered room, in wrinkled sheets and crumb covered PJs with multitudes of dust bunnies cavorting with the dog under my bed surrounded by piles of somewhat sorted, possibly already washed laundry. How did they get so in love? How do they get their kids so polished? How come they have time for romantic dinners? Where did they get the patience to coordinate all their dang clothes and drive to the most perfect spot for photo ops and family fun? What am I doing wrong? Why am I not they?
They were everywhere for a while and my projection of their perfection was maddening, eating away a spot in my belly, causing me aches and undue fits of jealousy. Until I actually met them. Not through the postings and pages of Instagram and Facebook but in the actual vibrant, truth revealing light of real life. Turns out they weren’t so in love, the few hours we spent together were filled with bickering and snide comments whispered under breathe. Turns out their clothes don’t always match each other, they were just as thrown together as my own. Turns out their house isn’t always clean either, their’s also had dog food on the floor and dishes in the sink and laundry piled in the living room. Turns out their kids scream and tattle and are generally tiny assholes to each other in secret and in front of guests, much like my own.
Turns out it was a sham, an InstaSham.
I am not the first to notice the perfectly curated lies that cover the regular normalcy of real life. I most certainly will not be the last but in that meeting of perception vs reality it was brought home that we all are guilty of the Instasham and further more we are all at times hurt by it. Comparing them, what they flaunted outside in their best light, best hair, best clothes to the gnarled, emotional, always seeking approval of my insides was not an apples to apples comparison. It was flawed, just like me, just like them, just like us all. Maybe there are some people somewhere that have the perfect life, perfect kids, perfect house, perfect partner, but I have yet to meet them. Maybe we all would do better if we were to post a few pictures of those flawed DIY’s, the not so perfect versions of our tiny assholes, the dishes and piles of laundry. I have seen them before, those pictures of imperfection. Sometimes from people who I think have it all together. I know that on the occasions when I do see those, it makes me feel better. When I can relate to those outsides it sure helps my insides not feel so alone.
So I’ll go first, I’ll bare my messy outsides, my unrefined, extremely lived in, comfortably dirty life as it is right this very minute and I hope your insides smile and feel a little less alone.