One of the greatest things about life is the manner in which it is so beautifully imperfect. It is probably the most impeccably fucked up and dirty and gnarly and punch-you-in-the-gut-when-you’re-not-looking nasty thing we experience, which is funny considering life sort of IS the experience. Social media would have us believe that everything is roses for everyone but us. We watch the highlight reels of so many seemingly perfect lives play out on computer and phone screens day in and day out, and fail to realize that life is gross for most of us at times. We are not alone in our stress, or in our messy living rooms and sticky kitchen floors and piles of (sometimes even clean) laundry. And trust me sweetlings, you are not the only person whose house doesn’t look like a Pinterest Pin. (I promise. You’re not.) But yet that is the standard we try to live up to. Feverishly. Longingly. Unsuccessfully.
But here’s the thing, our attempts will always be unsuccessful. We are only ever going to be some mediocre imitation of someone else, and holding that as the standard to which we judge our worth is a betrayal of the light and the truth and beauty of our own sweet and wonderful and unique imperfection. It’s unfair. The lives of other people – as presented on social media – shouldn’t cause us to feel somehow inferior or rotten about the miracles that happen every single day in our own lives, or that we don’t measure up to some invisible threshold of hip, or stylish, or beautiful, or talented. But they do, don’t they?
It needs to stop.
I can’t pretend to have any answers, darlings, but what I can do is tell you what I know for sure. I know for sure that comparison is the thief of joy. And I know for sure that even though I try my best to stay grounded, I sometimes feel like I’m never going to make it as a photographer, whatever “make it” means. That my Instagram photos are mediocre and poorly crafted. That my Facebook updates are either annoying, irrelevant, or boring. That I post something I think is amazing and get next to no response. I feel sad. I feel deflated. I feel invisible. And then I remember that I’m being a complete assface. That I’m trying to matter to the i n t e r n e t. Seriously. Yes. The freaking internet. It sounds ridiculous because it IS ridiculous. I should matter to my children. To my husband. To my friends and my family and my clients and the people in the r e a l w o r l d whose lives I am a part of. That’s my legacy. Not Facebook or Instagram. Not what I pin or how many followers or blog comments I have. In sixty years that’s not what people will remember about me, and it’s not what they will remember about you.
Which is why it’s completely irrelevant.
Once I remind myself of that, I can leave my pity party and come back to Earth. I can look at my messy living room and sink full of dishes, my womb fruits and their messy faces and black, dirty feet, and I can smile. Because this is the place where we live. We are a family here. We are together here. Yes, there are toys strewn about and I’ve just stepped on yet another Lego, the dishes are never done, and the floor is never clean and the windows haven’t been washed since – wait, I’m supposed to wash my windows? So the point is that while it might not be Instagrammable or worthy of a status update, I am blessed to have a home and food and warmth and love and the laughter of my children filling the rooms up to bursting. It is these things, the little things, that are most worth having in life. And, well, unfortunately they happen to be the messy things.
But I promise you, it’s the messiness of life that makes it wonderful, darlings. The dirty. The imperfect. The difficult. It’s calming your crying child down during a tantrum when all you want to do is scream. It’s making an amazingly mediocre meal for your family when you’re too tired to even stand. It’s smiling when you want to cry. And for me, it’s sending the womb fruits outside with some Holi Powder because they’re crabby and bored and I’m too stressed to think up anything cool or fun or exciting to do because I haven’t been on Pinterest in forever and I am not as cool as all the other moms out there.
Surprisingly, it ends up being exactly perfect, and I have a chance to remember, once again, that life isn’t being lived on – or for – the internet. It’s being lived for moments like this:
Chin up, darlings. You’re already so wonderful.