So, I know that my last post was more than a little bit raw. But the thing is, well, I’ve decided that’s something I won’t ever apologise for.
See, while the emotions were still very current, it actually took me well over a week to write. Initially, it was quite an immature recap of all of the little grudges I have held since this wifey identity became mine. It was dark, it was low, and, after five days of rereading it, I thankfully came to the conclusion that it wasn’t particularly helpful to anybody; least of all me. Which actually serves as a prime example of the beauty that I have found in writing for an audience. Blogging, rather than privately journaling, motivates me to process things much more thoroughly than I otherwise would do. Writing for other minds forces me to try and make sense of what’s going on in mine. It encourages me to move past the surface emotion; to question what’s really going on and, eventually, to identify what I can learn from it and how I can begin to move on.
Last week, when I finally finished writing, I read the final draft aloud to Husband. Whilst it gained his approval, however, he was naturally concerned when I had to pause to cry.
“Well, it’s certainly a true reflection… But maybe post another time?”
I could see where he was coming from, as there have definitely been unpublished posts a lot like that in the past. Experiences that writing has helped me to work through and to process, but are just too sensitive to share. So we talked and we prayed it through; but found afterwards that I still felt this was the right thing to do. Because, I guess, it’s exactly this kind of truth- reflecting both the highs and the lows on this journey to life in ministry- that is most important to me here. Baring this particular brand of “all” is the reason I chose to write.
What if someone feels the same and thinks that they’re alone? What if I don’t bother sharing this, once the feeling has gone? Then… well, then I guess, those people would never know.
Thankfully, this time around, sharing that raw post turned out to be the right decision. Not only did a few messages of empathy or solidarity lift me out of my self-dug pit; but I also discovered that no, I was certainly not alone in feeling like this. In fact, in the days that followed, I finally managed to speak to some of the people I should have spoken to all along; but, for whatever reason, I’d shut myself off from. Most particularly, I managed to speak to the friend I’ve been externally processing this journey with every Tuesday night for the past two years; feisty, fruitful conversations that have largely formed the basis of these ‘deeper‘ blogs. Unfortunately, however, since moving, we haven’t shared an honest conversation in well over two months. Which is stupid, really, when you think about it. Though, I have to say, altogether less stupid than the start of this week’s overdue catch-up, in which we both roundabout admitted:
“I didn’t tell you how I was feeling, because I assumed that you were fine…”
Which is typical, really, isn’t it?
I mean, why do we do that- to ourselves and each other?! Assume that everybody else is winning at life whenever we are struggling to take the bend?!
I think I got a clue about that this weekend.
For the last two days I’ve been holed up in bed with a presumed-sickness-bug that is probably just emotional-slash-pregnancy-exhaustion. Whatever it is, let me tell you that the lethargy and loneliness tied up in such a layabout lurgy can drive one to unthinkable scrolling offences. You know, to the wanton wastage of precious energy on things like eBay, Pinterest and… Dare I say it?… Facebook.
It’s been over ten months since I used the marmite-esque app for more than 2 minutes; but, in my disconnected and debilitated state, I figured a nostalgic nosey at other people’s news might just do me good. And you know what, to be absolutely fair to it, it did…. at first. I mean, I appreciate this is the opposite way around for a lot of people, but, for me, I just love and miss seeing the engagements, baby announcements and wedding pictures; the graduations, new jobs, homes and travels. You know, the big, good news snapshots that let lazy onlookers like me know- in a nutshell- what folks are up to these days. And so there were plenty of things that genuinely raised a smile and garnered a cheeky like this weekend. However, after a while, I have to admit that it was the day-to-day-life stuff that eventually got me down. You know, the bikini-clad holiday snaps, when I feel more beached whale than bump; the reunions and the cocktail nights, when I haven’t been out alone for months; and the action-packed family frolics, when my kids are off somewhere with Dad; because I just haven’t got the energy to get myself out of bed.
Scrolling down Facebook today, you’d think everyone on it was winning at life. Winning at parenting, partying, pouting and any other p word you want to pick out! This sounds so miserable, but the constant stream of happy reminded me why- (besides ruddy Timehop, of course)- I stopped using it. Not because I’m a joyless winge-bag, I hasten to add! Not even because I was nauseated by other people’s pointless posts (no, really!). In actual fact, in the end, what bothered me was mine.
See, about a year ago, life was very busy with parties and events that I was largely involved in organising or attending. There was so much to do and to celebrate and, as an attention-loving extrovert, I Facebook-shared it all. Then, at the end of this manic social period, we had a beautiful family photo shoot in the city that we loved. I mean, these photos were stunning. I’m a huge fan of this photographer, and once again he had managed to capture the pure love and joy that we share in our family- and in that place- in the most natural way possible.
It was just… Perfect.
However, as I scrolled back through my own Facebook page at the Pinterest triumphs (yes, I do have those sometimes!), and the gushing statuses, and the “bestie” tags, and the cheesy smiles, and the magazine-worthy family shots… I was all too aware that perfect isn’t the whole story.
I mean, don’t get me wrong; we are happy. Blissfully so. There’s no lie in that.
It’s just that I also feel and experience an awful lot of other things too; quite often at the same time.
I became aware then, and again yesterday, that Facebook (and Instagram and any other app that prompts unfavourable comparisons!), only shows one edge of a many-sided coin. And it’s usually the shiniest side; you know, the bit that’s brighter than yours!
I felt there was so much else going on in my head and my heart that this constant selfie-stream just didn’t reflect. The image of me wasn’t as true-to-life as it could be. It lacked depth; it lacked soul; and as such, I guess it lacked integrity. And so as I scrolled away today, I had to remind myself that although shiny coins are the only coins I actually want to see on Facebook, ( I mean, there is nothing worse than watching dirty washing get even dirtier online!), it does leave it a rather two-dimensional place at times.
As social people, we are constantly, continuously and almost always presumptuously measuring ourselves up against others. It’s probably always been like this; but flipping heck, this modern media does an’ half throw it at us! Because now we’re comparing to a tidal wave of filtered highlights and shots; splashes of perfection that are not only half true, but also often half wrong.
And so, while I contemplate an online update, to friends and family, about us;
I’m thankful to have this space aside, to write something you can trust.
A little more reality to the photo, a little more depth to the words;
Because life is rarely that simple; and there’s always hidden stories to be heard.