My husband sat back in his chair, arms to the side, hands on his lap and asked, “aren’t you going to take a picture?”
I had trained him, you see. I was always taking pictures of food when we went out to dinner and posting on Facebook. Everyone would oooh and ahhhhh and say how lucky I was to go out to dinner so often and travel as much as I did. I love food and I love to take pictures of food. Harmless, right?
And when I started my Facebook page, I thought, I gotta post. But what? I bought a program by someone who told you exactly what to post and how often to post to get engagement. It’s about engagement, she said. That’s the key. And I did it. I posted and scheduled more and more posts until I got really tired of it. It seemed so calculating and became less about sharing what I love and more about getting people to comment and share my posts.
In both cases, it felt like an obligation. People expect me to post my dinners and spa time and when I jump out of an airplane in my pajamas. (Just kidding. I don’t jump out of airplanes. (Though I have left my home in my pajamas.)) It became a job and, frankly, a job I hated.
I’ve pulled back to reflect and redirect.
I thought, what if it’s about meaning, rather than obligatory posts. And by meaning, it’s about showing who I am. What if my posts were not content-driven or goal driven but life-driven. People driven. Meaning driven. If that looks like one post a day, or once a week or even once a month, if I am expressing myself honestly and deeply, does it matter what the gurus say?
What if we’re not here to show but here to be? How many times can you read about someone’s spa day or mani pedi? How many times can you look at someone’s food pics? How many times can someone zoom in on their toes in the sand while working on the beach?
How often do we post to elicit a response? What are we looking for? Envy? Admiration? Validation?
Post to be real. Post to be human. Post to share what means the most to you.
Yes, there is a place for the frivolous and fun. But not to hide behind or to live in denial about. Life is real. Ugly. Painful. Humiliating. Embarrassing. Hurtful. And also Beautiful. Loving. Forgiving. Honest. Affirming.
We live in a world of polarity. Pretending we live charmed, always positive, happy lives is misleading. Who hasn’t looked at all of those posts and comments and thought, “what a great life they have.” And then turned around and found themselves lacking and wanting in some way.
There are two sides to everything. Be real. Be ALL of you. Not to glorify the happy and ignore the raw, but to present all of it. Because all of it is what make you, you.
As for me, I will be posting much, much less and sharing both the joy and the rawness of life when I feel called to. Not for shares and likes or even comments. But to inspire. To uplift and show that my life is real and not always a Norman Rockwell painting.
We’re not here to be an airbrushed and sanitized facsimile of ourselves, denying the messy, devolved and awkward parts of us. We’re here to be ALL of who we are. Particularly on those days when every word, every action, every step feels like you’re slip-sliding on black ice, struggling to make the slightest bit of traction. Because that is what serves and inspires all of us to be more of who we are, every day and every moment.
Even without an audience.