If you took a look at my Facebook page within the past 5 months, this is exactly what you would see:
May 3rd – Photo of me in Philadelphia with my amazing, adorable dog Colbie…playing in the park
May 11th – Picture with my brother, future sister-in-law, and cousin, having some tasty day time drinks and looking pretty darn happy
June 21st – Hanging with some of my closest friends at a baby shower, so excited for the first little munchkin to pop out
July 13th – An adorable picture with my future sister-in-law and cousins all dressed up, showing off our family love
August 6th – Asking my friends to nominate Quarterlette for a Forbes recognition for the second year in a row
August 29th – Asking my network of Facebook friends if they know a php web developer because I need one immediately (sounding all cool and tech-savvy)
September 28th – Colorful, messy, smiley photos with Emily at the Color Run in DC – having the best time ever
All of the above happened. It was 100% real. But it’s not the full story. And you would never know that.
This is the full story:
May 3rd – Yes, I was hanging with my dog at home in Philly, but I was supposed to be in NYC that weekend because the guy I was dating was going to visit. We ended things earlier that week, so the visit didn’t happen. I’ve had serious relationships in the past, but dating – actually, not dating but meeting the right person – has been harder than I could have ever imagined. I’ve had some difficult moments with that in my twenties, for sure.
May 11th – I was with my family having a drink because I was celebrating someone’s birthday, but the day prior to that, there were some changes at my full time job (the one that pays the bills) and I had to leave. I don’t want to get into the details of what happened, but needless to say, it was a difficult day.
June 21st – I was beyond happy to be celebrating my friend at her baby shower, but I was also happy to be with friends that weekend because I was spending a few months of the summer at home in Philadelphia (with my parents) while someone sublet my apartment so that I could save up money. And that was not the first time I had to move home to my parents’ house in my twenties.
July 13th – That photo was taken at a family celebration and I did have such a great time being with my family. But I was also really nervous to attend the party! I was anxious about the potential questions from extended family and friends about both my romantic life and professional life (you know the drill at family occasions…it always happens).
August 6th – Emily and I found out that the Forbes award was open for entries just days before they were closing nominations. That award was one of the main things that contributed to our growth last year, so what the heck would happen if we didn’t get that recognition again? I’ve sacrificed a lot personally and professionally for the sake of this website (and at times have debated whether it has been worth it). Mini freak outs were taking place behind the scenes.
August 29th – I was asking for a PHP web developer recommendation not to sound all tech-savvy, but because we hired a random person from a freelance platform who ended up charging us hundreds of dollars while simultaneously breaking our site. The site broke for a day or so and we couldn’t get our money back. Luckily, that post on Facebook put me in touch with someone who fixed it….but, of course, only after paying more money.
September 28th – I had the best time with Emily at that Color Run in DC. But in addition to running the race, I was spending time in DC to see how I liked the city since I might be saying goodbye to my life in NY.
So, here’s the thing. Both part 1 and part 2 happened. Both of those are the truth. But looking at my Facebook page, you would never know part 2.
As I mentioned in my introduction letter to Quarterlette a few years ago, I really don’t like talking about my personal life. I’m a pretty private person. So even posting this is a bit nerve-wracking for me. That being said, in the spirit of uncurating my social media feed for the day, I wanted to reiterate the message that we’ve all heard so much…you can’t compare your real life to everyone else’s highlight reel.
It’s easy to browse Facebook and Instagram and think: wow her life looks great, look at her job, her husband, her nights out, her babies, her pretty photos, her travels, her home…you get the idea. It’s easy to feel like your life doesn’t always measure up. So, more than ever, it’s important to remind ourselves that what you see isn’t the full story. You mostly see the glittery, magical things. And that’s normal! Because life’s incredible moments – relationships, careers, travels, children – should be shared and enjoyed. I will continue to share my own happy moments in the future and will relish the happiness shared by my friends and family.
But while those enviable moments make up a huge part of who we are, our flaws, embarrassing stories, and struggles make up who we are as well. They make us human.
So what’s wrong with sharing some of those not-so-perfect moments with everyone? Because it’s scary! Being honest with the public about who you really are isn’t always fun…it’s hard enough being honest with yourself. But it’s ok to show the real you on occasion. There’s strength in vulnerability.
I hope you join us by sharing something personal on your social media feeds today. And try not to worry what others think. Well, actually that’s pretty hard because let’s be serious, we all worry what others will think. But for this moment, screw them. Our ups and downs make us a complete person and sharing that can be empowering.