I have a confession: whenever I hear that something has gone amiss in a person’s life, I immediately check their Facebook page. I go there to look for clues, evidence, innuendos, SOMETHING, ANYTHING, that would support the gossip that I have just heard.
Even with good friends, I must admit, that I often check their Facebook page before calling them to see if whatever I heard was true.
They sure looked happy at that bar mitzvah three months ago. Did she know they were getting divorced? Is that why she is showing a little more cleavage than normal? Because she knew she was going to be single soon? Is that why she posted that random inspirational quote two weeks ago?
If you are friends with me on Facebook, you may notice that I often post more self-deprecating photos and status updates than your typical Facebook friend. This is not because I don’t have terrific post-workout selfies of myself, or an awesome picture of me in a bikini lounging by a pool, or photos of me and my family vacationing somewhere exotic for the zillionth time this year. OF COURSE I have those pictures.
The reason I don’t post those pictures is because of people like me. What if something goes wrong in my life? What I posted today will become the photo that people like myself will analyze for clues that my life was about to go suddenly very wrong.
As it is, I am very hard on myself. I don’t take selfies. I’m not on Snapchat for many reasons, not the least of which include the fact that I would have to look at myself up close. I don’t like taking any spot in a workout class where I have to look at myself in a mirror. I have decided I am aging the wrong way. I was a cute kid, had an ok appearance in high school and college, and was sort of attractive in my 20s and 30s. Now that I’m in my 40s, I’m finally in my awkward phase.
Also, my kids were fantastic and adorable when they were little. They still are, but now that two-thirds of them are teenagers, they are also very….frustrating. It is much harder to be a parent to them now that life is getting so… real for them. I would give anything to worry about them losing a pacifier instead of the scary and heartbreaking issues that they face on a daily basis.
From what I remember about “Social Network,” besides the fact that Justin Timberlake really can do anything, Facebook was actually started to bring people together. When I go on there a lot of days, it ends up making me feel quite the opposite. I actually want to withdraw from the world instead of to join in. I usually end up thinking that I must be the only person out there that is not living an absolutely awesome life.
That being said, the more I obsess about everyone else’s happy Facebook feeds, the more determined I am to not pretend that anything in my life is anything than what it really is: not perfect.
And so, like Alyssa Milano before me,I am going to start a hashtag movement. I challenge all of you to find a picture of yourself or your children or even your pets just… not being perfect. Or admit something you did that day that you are not super proud of. Then put #notperfect next to it.
Your kid got suspended today? Let us know! Did you rear-end someone because you were distracted by something really ridiculous? Share the news with a #notperfect next to it.
But please don’t backwards brag. For example: I’m such a ditz. I totally missed my flight to Jamaica today. #notperfect. That’s annoying. No one wants to hear that.
Research shows that people today are more depressed than ever before. The reason, they state, is because of social media.** Everyone is trying to live exactly like someone else’s social media page. If they don’t, or if they can’t, then they feel bad about themselves. I predict that if we all just admit that we aren’t exactly fantastic all of the time, we will all feel better about ourselves.
I’m not going to pretend like I understand what happens when you put a hashtag next to a phrase. Does it go to Twitter, and if so, do I have to open some sort of account to go along with it? Can people #notperfect next to photos on other forms of social media? I don’t know, because I am only on Facebook. I really don’t understand any of the other ones out there. I barely understand how to manage this blog.
But that’s ok. I’m not perfect. And, let’s be honest, neither are any of us.
**I don’t know exactly which research I am citing or where that came from. But I know I have read that somewhere.