It’s great to be alive today: Microwave pizza. Robotic vacuums. The TV show, “Dance Moms”. The Snuggie and Grumpy Cat. James Franco. Definitely James Franco. Yes, we have a lot going for us in the 21st century.
We also have the internet and social media and Wi-Fi virtually everywhere we go and with that, the ability to create an image, a carefully and specifically cultivated portrayal of how we hope the outside world sees us. We share exciting posts about new cars and new babies and new boyfriends and girlfriends; post pictures of our beautiful heirloom tomatoes freshly picked from the garden and the wish-you-were-here “hot dog leg” shots at the beach; fill timelines with countless selfies taken at such awkward angles you wonder if the chiropractor is on speed dial; tag ourselves at the library and Magic Mountain and use the #lovinlife ad nauseam. How we want to be seen can be controlled by a few clicks and a few swipes. It’s fantastic.
Side bar: Can you imagine being alive in the 1500s and relying on the paintings of a disgruntled artist to portray your “handsome figure” to the outside world? There’s no way this photo would have been set as Katherine Tudor’s profile picture.
Now don’t get me wrong. There’s no judgment coming from this corner of cyberspace. I do all of the above mentioned. And then some. There’s not a thing wrong with sharing about what makes you happy or proud or excited.
But this all got me thinking: What does my Facebook or Instagram say about me? (I would include Twitter but seeing as how I’ve tweeted approximately seven times since 2009, I don’t think it’s the best example in this situation.)
It would say mostly nice things. Happy things. But are they real things? What about the nitty-gritty things you gloss over to give yourself a more lustrous, shiny-person façade?
I’m happy to say I have a lot of Facebook friends who don’t give their lives a coating of glossy-goodness. They are willing to share the ups and the downs and the good and the bad. As my friend Candice would say, “The struggle is real” and they don’t try to hide it. I applaud them.
And so I will copy them, in my own way. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, no?
Things I am a bit borderline ashamed of and/or insecure about and have largely neglected to include as part of my online persona:
- Toe hairs. It’s a tiny bit weird and a lot gross but long, black hairs spring from my big toes. I shave them, so next time you see me and I’m wearing sandals, don’t bother trying to sneak a peek. Believe it or not, however, I’m thankful for my toe hairs. Any time I start feeling a little too pretty, I see them and am brought back down to earth. I’m 99% sure that Kate Upton does not have toe hairs.
- At least four days a week I go to bed without removing my eye makeup. (Sometimes I don’t even wash my face. Yuck.) Some blogs tell me this will make my eyelashes fall out or my skin fall off. So far, so good. A lot of times I wake up looking like a raccoon. Who was punched in the face.
- I’ve lived at my house for two years and have not once used the clothesline. I will occasionally drape large blankets and sheets over my deck railing, but hang up cloths? Never. I find this sad because I try to be (somewhat) eco-conscious and using my dryer from the 1980s can NOT be the most efficient means of drying laundry. I did not have a dryer at the place I lived before and so EVERYTHING was hung up to dry. Let me tell you how un-fun it is to pin up wet cloths when it’s 35 degrees out. So maybe I’m making up for lost time. Or maybe I’m scarred. Either way, it’s just a neglected lawn ornament at this point. But I will use that clothesline. Some day.
- I have eaten (on more than one occasion) an entire box of macaroni and cheese. In one sitting. If it’s been a particularly bad day, I’ll add a chopped up hot dog to the mix. That’s a lot of pasta. And a lot of cheese. And a lot of weird dreams that night.
- I still have a Christmas decoration hanging up in my house. Haha, sike! I’m in no way ashamed of that.
- I once left an empty bottle of shampoo to languish on my shower floor for weeks. It was there. I would see it. I would think to myself, “I really need throw that away”. And then I would kick it out of eyesight and forget about it. What does this say about my housekeeping skills?
- I’m 31 years old and completely intimidated by teenagers today. They all seem super mature and super confident and dress way more stylish than I do. When I was that age, my fashion accessories were big bangs, big glasses, and a nice new set of shiny braces to help reign in my “vampire teeth”. A boy in school actually called them that- just out of the blue. “You have vampire teeth”, he said, and then walked away. I think I ate my lunch in the bathroom every day that week.
- I have a gym membership. I committed for a year so I’m charged every month. I have a duffle bag holding clothes for the gym in the back of my jeep. That bag has been sitting there for three months. Three. Months.
- If a person dies on TV or in a movie, I’m good. If the family pet or the racehorse or the random bunny rabbit crossing the road bites the dust, bring me the biggest box of tissues you can find. I end up looking like a cold hearted witch. So as a general rule, if the preview shows just the hint of a wagging tail, it is blacklisted immediately. I can’t take that chance.
- I don’t “do selfies” often. And the last time I tried it took about 24 attempts to get one where I didn’t have three chins or squinty eyes. How do people do it?
- But what shames me most of all, more than the toe hairs or the abandoned shampoo bottle, was during that aforementioned self-photo-shoot, I tried a shot sporting duck lips. Duck lips. It did not end well.
It’s a relatively mild list, not a whole lot of nitty-gritty, but it’s a start. And who knows? Maybe my struggles and insecurities are yours, too. And if they aren’t, you probably have some of your own.
But if you have none, then you and I are probably not going to be friends and I hope you wake up with toe hairs tomorrow.