Life (?) In Pictures

When I was in high school, Myspace was the chosen mode of social media for the masses. I’m actually surprised that it went out of vogue the way that it did; it was much easier to lie about who you were on there than it is on Facebook. That’s probably not the right way to explain it because people lie on Facebook all the time. What I really mean is that it was easier to create a persona on MyspaceThere were just all these tools at your disposal. There was a large assortment of wallpapers to choose from and you could basically pick any song in the known universe to play whenever someone dropped by your page. You could write a mysterious sounding bio, and if you learned a bit of HTML, you could really spice things up with how things were arranged. You were able to pick your top eight friends, thereby letting the world know just how hip your squad was, and filter your comments to only show the cool things you were up to.

It was fun. It was also fake. I may have looked totally edgy with my inky black hair, staring dreamily off into the distance, but in reality, I probably just finished a huge pile of english homework and I was off to do my algebra next, while my mom constantly reminded me that she’d asked me to put the towels in the dryer six times now (They’re going to mildew, Emily!). Sounds like a super rad existence, doesn’t it?

I liked Myspace though. I was very much a loner back then and a bit sheltered and it opened a big wide world of all these different people to me. Myspace is also where the selfie was born. And boy, did I take about a million back then.

I am not much for the selfie these days. Don’t get me wrong, I do take them occasionally (I have a selfie in my About section), but it’s rare. I try not judge people who do take them, but it’s hard not to when you see someone post about a million a day on Facebook. What kills me the most is when it’s obvious that they just had an impromptu photo session in their car. I mean, come on! How can you possibly have time to do that? My thoughts while I’m waiting in line at the bank or the pharmacy do not start with, “Well, better take some sexy, glamour shots of myself while I wait!” and it absolutely blows my mind that other peoples’ thoughts do. It all just feels so incredibly self involved to me.

I also don’t feel the need to document every single moment of my son’s life in pictures. I do take pictures of him, for sure, and in the past I’ve even been guilty of snagging a few for the express purpose of posting them on Facebook just to show everyone how beautiful he is (and he is beautiful). But there are just so many moms out there that I feel may have had kids just so they could brag on Facebook. I know that sounds ridiculous, but is it really that far out there? People do all sorts of things for attention, and having kids has always ranked somewhere on the list.

This is one of the biggest reasons I hate social media. It feels like it exists for people to “humbly brag” about their lives and I think it encourages us to think too much about ourselves. When your world revolves around what pictures you’re going to post on Facebook today, that’s when you know you’re not really living. So put down the phone. Enjoy your moments. Not every one of them needs to be documented with a photo. Some of them are just meant to be lived.

Life; Organized

There’s a meme floating around the internet that says something along the lines of “Great! It’s the weekend! Time for me to do fifteen loads of laundry!” I laugh every time I see it because I cannot even begin to tell you how true the spirit of this message is to my life.  All my house cleaning is saved for the weekend. I wish I didn’t do it this way and I tell myself every Sunday evening that I’m going to do more through the week so I don’t have to spend my entire Saturday cleaning my house and my entire Sunday afternoon doing all of our laundry. It never happens though. I clean someone else’s house all week, so it makes it difficult to be gung-ho about doing my own. I’m so sick of domesticity by the time I get home in the evenings that sometimes it’s hard for me to get dinner on the table and we fend for ourselves more often than I would like to admit. It sort of makes me feel like a bad mommy-wife.

I at least keep clutter in our living areas to a minimum. I put forth some effort in that department. People never know what I’m talking about when they come over and I tell them to please excuse my house. I just don’t want them looking too closely because the truth is, I’m a “Monica’s closet” person at heart. If you’re not familiar with the sitcom Friends, Monica Gellar is a character on the show who is an extreme clean freak.  On an episode in season eight, however, it’s revealed that she has this closet in her apartment where she hides a mountain of junk that she just can’t seem to get rid of.

See, cleanliness really isn’t the problem. My husband and I have always been the type of people to clean up after ourselves. We don’t normally leave dishes in the sink. We put our clothes in the hamper and we rinse the sink out after we brush our teeth. It’s not really clutter either. The things in plain sight and the things that we love, that actually bring value to our lives, have a place. We put them back in that place when we’re finished with them.

No, what really gets me, what really makes me feel like my life is in a constant state of disarray is the hidden clutter, my versions of Monica’s closet. Under the beds. The things in the closet under the stairs. The top rack of literally every single closet in my house. Under the sinks. And it’s all things that we don’t use anymore that I just can’t seem to get rid of, like purses that I haven’t carried for years, rolls upon rolls of yarn when I rarely knit anymore, and like Monica, the proverbial punch bowl that I need to keep in order not to step on anyone’s feelings.

About twice a year, I  pump myself up to get my life organized. I tell myself that there’s no sense in keeping all of that junk. Occasionally I’ll actually clear some of it out, but more often than not I get all sentimental or end up convincing myself that I’m really going to lose this last ten pounds and be able to fit back into that. So most of my junk ends up in a different closet than it started in or organized in a different way, but still there. I just can’t help it. I guess Monica Gellar is my spirit animal.

Why I’m So Over Facebook’s Crap

My Dad, who resisted Facebook for years, recently signed up for his very own profile and I think he put it best: “Why, everyone’s on there!” And it’s true. Everyone really is on there.  I’m hesitant to delete it altogether for this very reason. It’s how everyone connects anymore. Wanna get in touch with an old friend? You’d better have Facebook. Want to see photos of your nephews that live out of state? You’d better have Facebook. Want to connect with a long lost family member? You get my point.  It’s become the gold standard for keeping in touch with others. People are absolutely flabbergasted when they learn that someone doesn’t have one. I have to tell you though, I am getting incredibly burnt out on it. Like I said, I haven’t deleted yet ( and I mean really delete. Not just that deactivate your profile stuff), but I’m close. I believe that Facebook does have its benefits, but at this point, they don’t outweigh the negative impact it’s having on my life. And I’m not even talking about the fact that they sell my data (and all that jazz in the media lately). Here are my reasons:

Facebook is the biggest timesuck in the universe.

I cannot even tell you how many times a day I open it just to mindlessly peruse the same posts I’ve already looked at. Before I know it, I’ve been on there for two hours. What’s sad is the fact that most of my “friends” are people that I don’t even really know anymore, like old friends from high school and people that I used to work with years ago. I would know nothing about them if not for Facebook. I’m investing way too much of my time into people who are essentially strangers to me.

Facebook is a total lie.

Yep, and a big fat one. It’s merely an outlet for us to spitshine our lives. We pick and choose the moments we want to share. What you don’t know is that about thirty minutes before I posted that picture of me and my son, with our hair still wet from the shower, smiling sweetly at one another, he had a massive diaper blowout and we literally had yellow diarrhea all over my living room. Facebook’s a stage and I’m tired of performing.

Facebook causes Comparison Flu.

No, that’s not a real term, but it is a real affliction. Even though I know that most of what everyone posts on facebook is a lie, I can’t help comparing my life to it and wondering what I’m doing wrong. “Why can’t I decorate my house like so and so does? Man, I have no taste whatsoever.”  “Why can’t my kid be as well behaved as so and so’s?” And so on. It’s a constant stream of negative thought and it sometimes make me forget that I’m God’s daughter and He loves me, warts and all.

So those are my reasons. I think they’re pretty good ones. I’ve almost convinced myself to quit Facebook for good. Almost.