How does your Facebook Face compare?

I have a picture of my family that I wanted to post on Facebook tonight but I hesitated. A lot. Something inside me kept gnawing at my gut telling me not to post it, and I couldn’t figure out what it is.

And then, I was on facebook, reading through my feed and I saw a post on a page from a baby loss mom, and it read, in part: “I have a confession to make. Today I had a really horrible, horrific, really bad day. Today my husband had to do EVERYTHING with our kids because I couldn’t get out of bed, because I couldn’t stop sobbing all. day. long…. and yes, even five years later, they {days of unstoppable tears} still happen to me, and they still knock the shit out of me….So when (or if) you’re ever fed up with everyone’s seemingly peppy, perfect Facebook versions of their lives, please drop by here to remind yourself that someone else in the world is living real life, a really hard life, and is desperately trying to make the best damn lemonade possible out of rotting lemons.”

I cried as I read the post, because I can relate. and though haven’t had one of those days in a long, long time, sometimes I think I need one, want one- but I don’t take one. – Actually, that’s not true. I took one a few months back, and it was the best use of a day I could imagine.  Those darkest days of grief are the ones that teach me to allow myself to just be. Be who I am. Be where I am. Living in the present and accepting my feelings for whatever they are- the good, the bad, the ugly.

I remember, clearly, scrolling through facebook and reading those posts from people with their “peppy, perfect facebook versions of their lives.” Honestly, it annoyed the living shit out of me. I’d go through my feed and want to physically kick people who looked all happy and blissfully ignorant of the pain and torment that others’ were simultaneously experiencing. I blocked people from my feed when their messages were too cheerful. I blocked them when their pregnancy pictures became unbearable. I responded bitterly when they posted about God and how great and amazing and loving he is, and then I blocked those people too.

All that crap just made me feel worse.

There were days I wanted to reach through the computer screen and scratch peoples eyes out …I’m just keeping it real, Yo. 

But here I am, four years later. Posting cheerful shit on facebook.

Sometimes I worry that what I post, my little Muchness Moments, which are intended to bring a smile to someone’s face, are actually breaking someone’s heart. I worry that my cheerful positivity is annoying the shit out of someone who has every right to be sitting in their pain and self-pity.

But the fact is, finding those little moments and sharing them, that is my version of making lemonade out of rotting lemons. And sharing it with other people, that just makes the good stuff better.

life gave me lemons shoes

What I realized is that I didn’t want to post that picture of my family and worry that a “peppy perfect facebook version of my life” would mislead someone into thinking that my life is so perfect, or that it’s not “real” or that it’s not hard. I didn’t want to make someone else feel bad- or worse- about their life, just by posting a picture of mine. And so despite wanting to share the picture, I didn’t post it.

(Sidenote: I’d also like to think that life doesn’t HAVE to be “hard” to be meaningful. That seems to be a pre-requisite of sorts- like one should have to apologize for NOT having it too hard…. hmmm… I think I definitely fall into that trap… maybe a post for another day…)

I’m still not sure if that was the “right” move or not. Part of me feels sad that I feel that way and the other part of me is grateful for the empathy I now have to understand that perspective.

I just want to tell you that no matter what you see on facebook, or what you believe you see there, your world is just as beautiful- sometimes beauty just hides in the shadows.  Everyone struggles and everyone has their own plight to get through. It is easy to sit back and draw conclusions about other people based in the snippits they share publicly. Be where you are and focus on your blessings and small joys. That’s the way to find your own Muchness Moments… and never compare your insides to anyone else’s outsides.

It just doesn’t do anybody any good.

I’m curious: How Does Your Facebook Face compare to your reality?  Do you think you share the good, the bad and the ugly, or do you paint a picture very different from your actual life? 

 

Love & Muchness, Tova


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6 thoughts on “How does your Facebook Face compare?

  1. Alexa

    Oh my goodness I LOVE this post Tova! And I love those shoes. Yes, I pretty much only post the good stuff out there, cause I hate the feeling of pity that I get if I post anything sad. But I also want to try to live in the good moments more than the bad. I am so happy that you are happy and cheerful, because YES, those are the things that help me through. It really helps me to see other mothers who are just as sad on the inside as I am, can still find ways to be happy and live a life full of joy. I need the happy.

    Reply
    • Tova Gold Post author

      I’ve gotten to a point where I sort of avoid the bad stuff. Not bad stuff like heartache and pain, but bad stuff like “this bitch at the supermarket had 11 things in the 10-items-or-less aisle!” That’s just pouring gasoline of a small flame of annoyance.
      I’m glad the Muchness brings a smile to your face Alexa- I know you bring a smile to many others…. isn’t is a lovely cycle? :)

      Reply
  2. Janelle

    Well said friend. I sometimes feel it goes the other way for me. I share my grief online as many of my facebook friends are also grieving moms and I know the comfort of understanding there. I know family members have called me out thinking that I’m depressed. I’m not. I’m grieving and that’s an up and down roller coaster throughout every day filled with both joy and sorrow remembering my babies. Just because I post a sad moment online doesn’t mean my day or my life is filled with depression.
    Thank you for your words today. Either side of the spectrum is hard to live in and I think we all have to realize that real life is filled with that FULL spectrum of emotion regardless of what we share online.

    Reply
  3. kirsten

    Ok, so this is a tough one. As much as I Looooove to verbally diarrhea (and love reading others even more) I find that the more personal the problem is, the less likely I am to post about it. After all, Dr. Brene Brown tells us that we should only share our story with those who have earned the right to hear it. I’m pretty sure some dude I went to high school with and haven’t seen in 20 years hasn’t earned the right to hear my story. If you are actually in my life, you know I’m getting divorced. You know it is terrible and probably don’t know what to say, in person. How would having people read about my most personal failure be helpful to my healing?
    On the other hand, I called my maid of honor and she told me she hadn’t contacted me because my “perfect” life made her feel worse about her regular messy life. After a three hour chat, it was like we had never had a 15 year break in our friendship. I think facebook is the place for pictures of puppies and real life is the place for vulnerability and connection.

    Reply
    • Tova Gold Post author

      Kirsten, You ask “How would having people read about my most personal failure be helpful to my healing?” as though it is a hypothetical question with no answer, but actually, I have found that having people read about what I perceive to be my most personal failures has been incredibly healing. For one, it helps me realize I am not alone in feeling the way I feel about my failures. They are almost always less of a failure when viewed by someone else. Even more than that, hearing from other’s that your vulnerability in sharing your pain has helped them release much of their own in perhaps one of the most healing tools I’ve discovered.
      Certainly, sharing personal stuff publicly is not for everyone, and even I, (believe it or not) keep a lot of my personal stuff personal. BUT, when we are wrapped up in our pain and preoccupied with the things we feel we’ve “failed” at, I think the quickest step to starting to heal on the inside is helping others’ in some form or another.
      I think, actually, you and I share a common solution— separating our friends list so only our FRIENDS see the stuff we want them to see- and not some dude you went to high school with! :)

      Reply

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