Social media scares me.
For the record, I love Instagram! I follow over one thousand accounts and still add more. I love the beautiful design images, the beautiful places and the beautiful people. It’s all so lovely and intimidating and scary at the same time.
Honestly, I’m a little afraid of Facebook. It seems to me, Facebook is the place where angry asshats roam free spewing angry rants. I’m not interested in mixing it up with any asshats, so I avoid at all costs. Yes, I know back to school pictures and Hallowe’en photos also live there, but still, not interested.
Instagram, however, feels much more friendly to me. Everything is so perfect and happy! I’ve never once felt like one wrong move would set me up to be the target for any angry, ranting folk. The wannabe perfectionist in me feels inspired to paint everything a crisp white or maybe a nice blush pink. All the perfect interiors and perfect skin keep me in a perpetual state of wanting to be like someone else, like someone worthy of Insta-glory. Bathing in the glow of other people’s perfection usually results in me, lurking in shadows, and putting off my “casual”selfie until tomorrow. I fear my arm isn’t long enough for the “perfect” selfie. Instagram is lovely, and intimidating and scary.
Breaking rules, Rebellion and the rub.
The truth is, I’ve broken one of the rules of womanhood I’ve aged. I am still aging. Believe me, I’m doing all I can to stop it, but I have wrinkles and lines and bags under my eyes.
I am conflicted. The edgy rebel in me wants to rage against the rules on behalf of all women. After all, all the perfect people I collect in my feed are going to be rule breakers someday, too. Should I take the stand for all of us? Am I really ready for this? I am really ready to embrace my wrinkles and lines and bags? There’s the rub.
Rejection, safety and being a hypocrite.
Like any other human, I’m not wild about rejection. I enjoy the safety of fitting in, or sometimes even better, blending in! I seek safety on my Instagram feed with stock photos and very, very few photos of myself, my home or my life. My safety seeking is starting to feel wrong, like I just backed into to someone’s car without leaving a note to own up to the small dent I left in their bumper. The word hypocrite comes to mind. How can I have a blog called “The Whole Woman” and coach woman while denying an inevitable part of being a woman (or alive, for that matter)?
How about high fives and fist bumps instead?
What would happen if women began to own up to aging? What if we didn’t have to feel the shame of moral failure when lines begin to appear at the corners of our eyes and around the edges of our mouths? What if imperfections were a sign of a life well lived? I think this is worth discussing. Now, don’t get me wrong- I am by no means ready to give up having my blond hair or any of my many, many skin care products. But, I feel like I want to begin to love and accept myself at this season of my life. First of all, I made it! Due to some really questionable life choices in my earlier days, this is worth celebrating. Secondly, ladies, this is a future we all have to face. How then should we handle this? Should we deny reality and do everything we can to turn back the clock? Should we give ourselves high fives and fist bumps because we are ticking off the years? What should we do in light of this reality?
Be a “yes, and” kinda girl.
As a rule, I tend to find the answers in the middle ground between the two extremes. I am a “yes, and” girl, not so much an “either, or” kind of person. There has to be a space to say “yes”, I don’t fit the measures of perfection that I love to see on Instagram “and” I can love myself, as I am. Yes, I have wrinkles and I am beautiful. Yes, my house looks like homeless folks have squatted in it for a few weeks and I am still a valuable person.
I sincerely hope that ,yes, the perfect interiors and perfect skin will continue to be there for me on Instagram, and, I hope we can make space for all of us to show up imperfectly, too. Smooth flawless skin of youth side by side with the wrinkles of women who have lived life well and has a few juicy stories to tell.
Let’s continue this conversation.
- Get your journal and get ready to write. Set the intention to answer these questions honestly and from your heart.
- Are you willing to love and value yourself in spite of falling short of the current expectation of perfection?
- How heavily does the need seem perfect weigh on you?
- Honestly, if you could reach perfection, as it’s displayed on social media, how would it improve your life?
- What joy are you missing out on in your life, right now, because you feel you fall short of perfection?
- Now, get in a place where you can get comfortable. Close your eyes and imagine loving and appreciating yourself just as you are. Each time your mind wants to chime in with commentary, quiet it down. Just imagine feeling completely comfortable in your skin.
- What would you have to let go of in order for this to happen?
- What would you have to embrace in order for this to happen?
- If this is too hard for you to imagine, keep writing about it.