I am a self confessed food junkie! And when Pinterest hit the world wide web I was ecstatic about the multitude of recipes, with pictures and opinions of what actually tasted good and what just looked really pretty in a picture. I had the few realistic boards that included decorating, ideas for the kids and fun quotes that somehow identified with my crazy life. But soon I found myself pinning pictures of shoes I would never buy let alone wear, full ensembles that I was sure I would fill my closet with and grace the office hallways looking as if I had come straight from New York Fashion Week! There were dream houses and larger than life engagement rings with absolutely no prospect of a husband that would purchase either for me! I quietly stalked a few people I knew and quickly realized that Pinterest had become the life everyone wanted.
I have a love/hate relationship with social media. I love that we can keep up with family and friends near and far; I love that we can encourage one another when life throws a curve ball at us; I love that we can share our stories, pictures of our children, pictures of our pets and even what we had for dinner last night! I LOVE a Facebook birthday; let’s admit that there is a lot of love going on that day! I hate that we feel this need to show off, keep up and always try to out do one another. This is what I have come to call the “me too kid syndrome”. You know there is that one kid on the playground that no matter what you say, what you have they always say “me too me too!!” Confession: I am the ultimate, poster child me too kid! I hate that social media has become a way of life, how we judge ourselves based on what others look like or have and our main source of communication. They have made it so easy for us to never have to speak to anyone ever again. And now they have made it so we don’t even have to type words out anymore. Thumbs up, exclamation points and hearts have become the new way to communicate with each other. I miss the days of “real” pictures when your biggest concern was the dreaded “red eye” and there was absolutely nothing you could do about it! I will admit I don’t even want to take my picture anymore. Mark will grab my arm, pull me close and say smile and I literally run the other way! We have convinced ourselves that if it’s not perfect then it’s not worth posting. Take the damn picture and post it the first time! And for the love of Pete, does every single picture have to involve your hand on your hip and the dreaded before and after bathroom mirror picture? I am preaching to myself here as much as I am to anyone else sittin’ in the choir!! We have become a generation of stalkers and social media crazed people; we have truly forgotten how to talk and how to visit with friends and neighbors. Nights out, family dinners and vacations have become more about the pictures we can post than about the time we are spending with one another.
On a recent trip to the pool I noticed a “younger” person walk in complete with larger than life floaty, cooler and phone in hand. There was a great deal of time spent positioning the chair just right into the sun, the towels meticulously laid out; the drink, the coozie, the floaty all lined up on the side of the pool. So first the floaty was carefully placed in the pool as if not to get it too wet; one foot down the ladder, then another until this person had found a way to somehow make it into the pool without getting a single drop of water on themselves! Next the beer went in the coozie and a push off with their feet to make sure it looked as if they were far enough from the edge to say they were actually in a pool and then the phone came out. The next 30 minutes were spent taking selfie after selfie after selfie! With the coozie, without the coozie; with sunglasses and then without. The peace sign, a smile … no wait that smile was cheesy so serious face but still look like I’m having the time of my life in the middle this pool that I have somehow managed to get into without a single splash. Back to the ladder, out of the pool, packed it all up and was gone before I had even had the opportunity to reapply sunscreen! This my friends is the Pinterest Life … the unrealistic pin that we have adopted as real life. We aren’t even living anymore; everything is a carefully laid out plan based on the filter we choose and how others will perceive it. We go to great lengths to make sure we are the perfect pin.
I struggled within myself when I was approached to write about this topic. Probably because I would have to be the first in line to admit I have fallen into this trap and quite honestly I’m not sure I want out of it. I don’t want to post the bad picture or have to say hey life is not nearly as perfect as my filter! As I sit here in my office and look around I realize I am far from having THAT life. My house is a total mess, not a single bed has been made today. There is laundry in the washing machine that I will have to wash for the third time because I keep forgetting to put it in the dryer. There is a toothbrush in the kitchen sink and I just realized that the sponge I used on my coffee cup is the same one Caroline used last night to clean out the dogs food bowls. I weigh more than I would like to and even though I had roasted okra and squash for breakfast I ate 3 cookies afterwards! I scream at my kids, fight with my husband who by the way tells me when I do yell at him when things are rough that I want the fairytale life. Well of course I do, I am on Pinterest!! I am the all time procrastinator and put off the really, really important things that need to get done. But if you find me on Facebook or Instagram I appear to have it all together! You only see shoulder up face shots carefully analyzed, happy husband, happy kids, happy puppies and meals that are post worthy, but what you don’t see is that the rest of the kitchen looks like I am recipe testing for a cookbook! Why don’t we post the entire picture, why do we crop and filter every aspect of our life?
The one thing I love very most about Elizabeth is that to her we are all the same. She doesn’t care where you buy your clothes, if you gained 10 pounds, if you made your bed this morning or if you carry your Louis Vuitton to the pool. I am almost envious of the innocence that she has about the world around her. She does not know what clothes she has on or if there was a way to crop out her wheelchair from a picture so that others won’t know she can’t walk; she does not try to hide her scars from the many surgeries she has had with photo apps. Do you take the time to say hi, do you include her in a conversation, are you kind? She will never judge you but will know just how real you are by the way you treat her and not by your social media posts.
She is the perfect pin.