I remember once in my teens a time my dad took me to Walgreen’s to pick up some pictures I had dropped off a few days prior. I was so excited to see them…if you are too young to remember what it was like to have a camera with film, let me help you out a little bit.
- It was totally exciting. You never knew (or could really remember) what was on your camera by the time you finished the roll. The only way to see what you captured was to turn in the film and wait and hope for a few days that you would have some awesome photos to share with your friends. And by share with your friends I mean hang in your locker and cover your trapper keeper with because there was no such thing as social media.
- You only had one shot. There were no do-overs. Thus girls had not yet started posing with their hands on their hips, there was no high-angle tilt of the camera, no filter, no best light business. One shot and you just hoped everybody was smiling.
- It was heartbreaking. Sometimes the film got damaged, sometimes the pictures had such bad lighting that nothing showed up, sometimes your dumb friends did something stupid and the whole photo was ruined.
That’s what happened on the day my dad took me to Walgreens. They accidentally had ruined all my film and I lost the memories from…well to be honest, I don’t even remember because I don’t have any pictures to tell me what I missed. BUT, I do remember being devastated and I remember my dad being pretty upset with the photo department. I think we demanded a coupon for our next visit or something. #Don’tMessWithTheBakers
Nowadays things are totally different. You can take as many photos as you want, erase as many photos as you want, hold the camera in 15 different ways to make sure you look the prettiest, skinniest, happiest you could look. And if that isn’t good enough you can use every kind of filter or Photoshop imaginable to make yourself look AHH-mazing. Rumor has it that Snapchat just came out with a new filter that makes your skin look flawless and your eyes look brighter. (Seriously.)
Personally, though, I think this has created a whole other host of problems…narcissism, obsession with social media, way too many selfies, etc. but, perhaps the biggest issue I see is that we have quickly created a false reality in which we isolate ourselves.
In our pictures we are perfect, we are happy, we have quirky sayings or tasty dinners. In our pictures our kids our smiling, our houses are clean and our pets love us. (Okay, maybe our pets always love us and that is just the truth, but still.) When is that every real life? Now that we have social media, and smart everythings, we are able to literally share every aspect of our lives with hundreds of people, but in a strange twist, we are able to also create the way we want to be perceived by people. Hence, we look at each-others pictures and think, “I wish my life was that complete, easygoing, joyous, etc. I wish I was as good of a cook, as adventurous, as beautiful as so and so…” And without knowing it, our attempt at creating the perfect reality has left somebody on the outside feeling like they cannot relate. Thus, we isolate ourselves and others.
Let me illustrate my point through some of my own pictures.
A and I had a really sweet moment the other morning. Did you catch that I said moment? We were enjoying some morning hot chocolate and I snapped this pic. I put a similar one up on Instagram (because yes I took about 5) and it was immediately liked by a number of people because duh, my kid is cute. 😉
The truth behind this picture though? She spilled a lot on herself…and then on the table, and the bench, and the floor. Then she said, “all done”, pushed the cup aside and started chewing on the table. SHE STARTED CHEWING ON THE TABLE. Where’s the picture of that? I don’t have one. Why? Because it is way cuter for my kid to sit and drink hot chocolate out of a mini teacup looking like an angel than it is to be covered in a sticky brown mess acting like a rabid dog.
From the looks of this picture you might think I’m a really fantastic mom who does whimsical stuff with her children- and boy do we try- but you will never know the real reason behind the teeth marks under your place-mat.
How many other new moms out there need to know that it is going to be okay even if their kid can’t handle a cup and chews on furniture? I sure know I need that. Yet, by posting a picture of my child acting perfect I am inviting others to comment on how much I have my parenting together. Can we get more pictures of kids acting crazy? I need it!
It’s about to get really personal. I was so excited the other day because I finally found a leave-in conditioner which I have been wanting to use on my hair FORRRREEVVEEER. I was SO pumped to use it. I diligently read all the directions (which is something I normally never do) and to quote the bottle it said, “Use a generous amount…” Whoever wrote that should be fired, or a least required to define the word generous. I definitely used a generous amount and after I finished rubbing it through my hair I began to get nervous. My hair felt really heavy…like really heavy, and greasy.
“No matter,” I thought as I pulled out my hairdryer.
Do you guys want to know what happens when you use (apparently) more than a generous amount? Your hair will not dry. Not only will it not dry, but if you persist in trying to dry it, it will catch on fire. Thank the Lord I was paying attention and when my hair started smoking (literally) I realized it was probably best if I shut the heat down. I turned off the hairdryer and assessed the situation. It was bad. Not only was my hair smoking, it looked like I had dipped my head in some sort of tar. It was completely matted down, yet “dry,” and somehow managed to look like I had not washed it…probably since I had been born. I had never seen such a sight- it was all very weird and concerning- and I concluded that I could not indeed go out in public looking like “that.” Not to mention when I touched it my hands became instantly slimy and gross. I had to start all over again, beginning with rewashing it.
The next time I used a very small amount (most definitely not generous)… you would think I was rubbing a bomb on my head with how gingerly I swiped the gel. When all was said and done I snapped the above picture. My hair looked so fine. That’s when it hit me. I never even thought to take a picture of the first go-around. Why? Because I guess I wanted people to think I was smart enough to not catch my head on fire when using a leave-in-conditioner.
Turns out, I’m not. My hair is often a mess and I never post the pictures of how it usually looks. Why? Because everybody on Facebook has phenomenal hair. I feel so alone.
This picture I snapped a few weeks ago when I made my first attempt at making homemade pizza, solo. Solo is a really key word here because usually (when making pizza) Kris makes everything and I put on the cheese (sometimes) and call it helping. I thought I would surprise him and for the first time do it all by myself. I almost put this picture up on Facebook and I was going to humble brag about how I couldn’t wait to pop this homemade (yes, even the dough) pie in the oven.
Do you want to know why I never ended up posting the pic? Because I had such a big mess to clean up afterwards I didn’t have any time before Kris got home. A and I spilled barbecue sauce all over the floor, the cheese somehow multiplied and flew all over the counter and then A kept stealing the toppings off the top and I had to keep replacing them while trying to get a handle on the situation.
Truth be told though, I still would have posted the picture…except as soon as Kris and I sat down to dinner I realized something was terribly terribly wrong. I have never met a pizza I didn’t like…until this one. It was seriously absolutely horrible. I took one bite and gagged a little bit. The crust was really strange (I’m pretty sure I messed up the yeast), the sauce soaked into the dough and the cheese was so nasty (Velveeta mozzarella- never buy it…I partially blame them for this blunder) that Kris spent most of his dinner picking the cheese off of everything so he could eat the pineapple and chicken toppings. And that is really saying something because Kris normally eats whatever I make, no matter how bad. I finally just picked up the entire pizza and threw it in the trash. I THREW IT IN THE TRASH.
Had I posted this pic, the reality I would have spun for myself in cyber land was a reality in which I was a great cook, fantastic wife, able to totally handle dinner time without crying kinda person.
Now you know the truth.Most of the time cooking dinner makes me cry.
So you see, now thanks to social media and smart phones we have the ability to create a new reality for ourselves. I’ve had the urge to write this post for a while because I thought, how fun would it be if people started sharing real pictures again? How great would it be if instead of looking at each other and thinking, “That person has it all together…” we could look at each other and say, “I totally relate to that.”
In case you need some inspiration here’s one last photo.
As I laid in bed the other night thinking about this post I happened to look down at my socks and thought, “That is so inspirational! We can do this! I can do this!” Then I remembered how ironic it was that I was wearing these socks at all because that very morning I cried as I made the bed as I totally was thinking, “I just can’t today.”