Friday, January 24, 2014

My life sucks.

I want to raise my hand and say I don't have anything figured out.

Sometimes - OK, often - I don't know what I'm doing. I feel anxious or sad or lost. I fight with my boyfriend, for example, and can't even articulate why we were fighting and I wonder how on Earth I got to be so very bad at relationships. On most nights I have trouble sleeping and sometimes, on bad days, I get up in the morning with a hole in the pit of my stomach and a sense that nothing is in its place or will be again.

I don't write about these things on Facebook because I want to highlight the good in my life. It's the internet equivalent of smiling for the camera: you're not being hypocritical; you want the photo to represent the moment in a way you'd want to remember it.

I bring this up because more and more people I talk to blurt out some version of "everyone on facebook is happier than me". It's not just facebook envy but a form of despair. It's not a fleeting stab of "I want that" but rather the deeper, more poisonous "I fear my life is not good enough".

I'm really bothered by the notion that my posts (optimistic, because that is what I am) might be in their minuscule, unintended way contributing to a phenomenon no one would want any part of: the sowing of a collective sense of desperation. (Because, you reap what you sow, you know.)

A social network at its best is intended to connect us, to open our eyes to another perspective, maybe, hopefully, to inspire and lift us. Not to make us feel (oh, the irony) lost in a mirage of our own fabrication.

I am proud of my life. I have moments where I am really happy. I also cower in fear and make terrible mistakes and fail (the unglamorous kind of fail, not the Michael Jordan kind of fail) and do things I regret. I feel irreparably heartbroken sometimes and then hate myself for being so fragile. The fact that you (I hope) don't see it doesn't mean it doesn't exist. It's all there, right behind the sunny evidence you regularly scroll through. Go ahead and ask anyone about illness and loss and sorrow and misery. I guarantee no one escapes it. (But who would want to be constantly exposed to that?)

I suppose I could try to start a movement. One that invites us all to regularly be uncensored, more raw. But you can't change the world's behavior. You can only change yourself.

So please, don't buy it. There is no such thing as a charmed life. Perfection is bullshit (not to mention, grossly overrated. The joy is in the flaw.) 

Don't waste a single second comparing yourself to anything. Do the best you can with the messy, absurd, possibly pointless life you were given and be proud of what you do with it and know that anything dark you go through everyone goes through. I know I do.

1 comment:

Catherine Gacad said...

i read an article today about how people who are on facebook a lot tend to be more depressed than people who are not on it. point being: don't spend so much time on facebook. but i've never had that feeling of envy whenever i scroll through all these happy faces or beach vacations, because i know that we all have ups and downs. the one thing that really stuck with me was growing up there was a family that everyone thought was so perfect, so nice, so loving. but the parents ended up divorcing and everyone was shocked because it didn't seem possible. from then on, i remember thinking even as a kid, "it's all a facade! you can't ever truly know what's going on behind closed doors."