A friend said that she doesn’t respond to my Facebook posts because they’re always so positive and they make her sick. Now, that is her unique and wonderful sense of humour shining through, but I’ve thought a lot about it. About how we present to the world, and the reality behind the pictures and posts. All is not what it seems. It never is.
There is a lot of ugly in the world, perhaps more so now than in many decades. In this day and age of social media platforms, the bombardment of negativity can be overwhelming. Many people use their Facebook as a place to vent, to share their frustrations, or to promote their political point of view. And that is absolutely fine. That is their choice, but it’s not mine. I share snippets of my life, for friends near and far. However, there is a caveat that led to my friend’s statement. I only share the positive which, I suppose, is not just misleading but somewhat disingenuous.
The posting of all things good creates the image of a seamless infallible life. While I believe I am blessed in so many ways, life is far from perfect. I have spent years writing, rewriting, agonizing over it, and rewriting again. I’ve written far more than anyone will ever see. There are rejected novels and novellas in dormant folders on my computer, manuscripts sitting in a cabinet, yellowing with age. But what you see is a published author, thrilled to promote her books. This spring we worked endlessly on the yard, watering and weeding, cutting and digging sod until I literally popped a vein in my thigh, but what you see are lush gardens with vegetables and flowers in bloom. Due to a health scare, I reconsidered some of my choices. I began to work diligently at good eating and exercising, but what you see is—voilà—I’m looking better than I have in years.
Nobody’s life is flawless. Everybody experiences anguish and pain, worries and fears, and has to climb his/her own mountain, whatever it may be. This, of course, is not apparent in many posts, mine being no exception. But so often, the positivity of a photo is simply the trick of a distant lens. Zoom in and the reality can be very different.
These red chairs in my yard are the perfect metaphor. Look how wonderful they appear from far away. Look closer. Despite painstakingly sanding and painting them each spring, they actually are in terrible shape. And that is what we have to keep in mind when glowing images make us feel as though our own lives pale in comparison. Behind every cheery red chair, there is one cracked and peeling and dolloped in bird poop.