It is so remarkable to me how quickly we forget the truly hard seasons. I just had a friend text me about sleep regression in her four-month-old and immediately all the sleep battles with our littles came rushing back with the intensity of a waterfall after a big storm. There is just nothing that compares with a friend who can say, “I’ve been there and lived to see the other side of that valley.”
I think this is why social media sometimes makes me want to throw my computer through the window. It can be a game where whomever looks best and the most put-together wins, but everyone else who came to play ends up in the category of the losers. Particularly with being a woman in this toxic atmosphere, the lure to compare my normal everyday with someone else’s highlight reel is way too strong.
Something valuable that has come with getting older is that I know when to turn back to my roots and channel my inner asymmetrical-haircut-fly-girl watching “In Living Color” and let my inner voice visually bop somebody over the head and say, “Homie don’t play that!” But what is even more valuable is that I know when to do that with myself. I can begin to see what it is that pulls me into being a raging judgmental b who tries to tear down those who have passed the level I am stuck on in the video game called Life. I remember judging people at Target, just shopping with no children and looking fully rested. Oh yeah, you grab those organic tofu chips while I replenish the Costco-sized bag of chocolate chips I downed when my kid decided to give up naps… at birth.
So the problem I need to tackle is not the innocent bystander trying to do their shopping at Target without being glared at by some lady with only wine and chocolate in her cart, but the problem lies with me and my heart. What is it about a well-dressed group of friends living their best life now at a party that makes me question my friendships and fashion choices? Why can’t I celebrate their good fortune while having a night of Netflix and fuzzy socks? Why does it bother me so much when my kids cry out, “It’s not fair!!!!” at levels heard around the globe, only because one of them receives anything at all that the other two don’t?
At the heart of the matter for me is my outlook. Am I operating as though I haven’t received my fair share, or am I approaching life knowing that I have been blessed with far more than I deserve? If I have been gypped, then anything that anyone around me experiences as abundance seems to be a slap in the face. But if I know I am held, cared for, and provided for in a way that I couldn’t have even planned out, then I am able to truly rejoice with those who rejoice and mourn with those who mourn. So I want people to be able to post their hair on day 4 of not washing it and say, “Holla if you’ll hold my baby while I shower–woop woop!” Sure, it may not make the chat books elimination but it will get you a hot shower and the will to make it to bedtime:)
Here’s the thing: in order to rejoice with those who rejoice and mourn with those who mourn, I need to know when you are rejoicing (check that bad boy off with social media updates) but I also need to know when you mourn. You do not need to tell the greater world that you are sinking, but my concern is that if we are only exposing ourselves to highlight reels then we will be unable to feel the freedom to raise the white flag when needed…even to our close friends. I like seeing your victories and getting glimpses into people’s lives whom I have loved for years but no longer live close to. What my heart yearns for, though, is each person to know that everyone has been in a place where they had to cry out and call for backup, and know that it does not communicate weakness but instead strength, wisdom, and opportunity for we who love you and get to exercise our friendship muscles to hold you up.