This post has been rolling around in my head for days. I tend to get stuck in my own head with thoughts and then a tiny flicker of an idea becomes a beast, a roaring wildfire that spreads too quickly and too far and I don't know how to contain it once again.
Here's my attempt at containing the wild. It goes something like this. I feel like I'm constantly participating in a game of tug-of-war with the internet, playing a game of "I love you, I love you not" day in and out. On the one hand, this whole social media vibe that has swept the entire world literally brings the world right to our fingertips. I think of favorite bloggers, sites like Airbnb, cooking blogs, Pinterest, and Instagram with all the heart eyes. I like them a lot! And Google? Such a fave of mine.
But then I think of things like the conversation I had with one of my dearest friends recently. She was talking about a struggle of hers that dealt with comparison and then started to say "It's just..." and I finished her sentence "social media. I am writing a blog post in my head called "Dear internet, you make me feel bad." We both laughed and it eased the moment a bit. We then started trading stories about how seemingly perfect the internet world can look while we stand with our noses to the window, peering in at the size 2's, the constant date nights other couples are getting, the insta-worthy meals, the perfectly posed kitchen with just the right props and subway tile.
We can feel so less.
When in real life, my world is SO more. A huge portion of my real life friends, community, church, and creative life never even make it to social media.
I immediately told my friend that without even giving it too much thought as to why, being away from social media and my phone simply makes me feel better.
When my phone is tucked away, my anxiety is less.
When I only pop in on FB to use for email and not for scrolling, my anxiety is WAY less.
Do I really think that everyone (including myself) on the internet is trying to look perfect and make others feel bad? No, I don't. I just think we must be responsible users of social media, popping in every now and then for fun, but not letting it become our full-time sustenance.
I am just as guilty of only posting the rosy as anyone else though. My reasoning? Looking through a rose-colored lens is how I get out of my own head and my own way. I have an INFJ personality that is prone to BIG feelings and being stuck in my own head, often times believing things that aren't even true about myself and my world. Taking the camera out and photographing my world and yours, is like opening a window and peeking my head way out, letting the sun soak deep into my skin. It reminds me what IS true in this world, where God IS at work.
This is where my hyper-sensitive feelings come into play though. I too, often worry that others will peek into my squares and be fooled. That they'll think I'm perfect, that my life is easier than theirs, that I'm holding up a bar in which they'll never measure. I assure you, that is not my intent. And certainly not my reality.
This internet debate, to participate or not, has been on my mind a ton. I have been so misunderstood in the past year on more than one occasion, because people felt they knew the whole me, the entire me, just from reading my blog. My blog is lovely, but it's like flipping through a magazine of my life. It's not the novel of my life. I heard Nicole Nordeman on a podcast this week, address this very issue, of whether to "internet" or not. She too, struggles with it. She explained that with her music she pretty much HAS to participate because that's the medium people use to spread the word about concerts, new albums, etc. these days. It might be something you don't prefer, but it is the vehicle of choice for the modern-day artist. That's where people find you, via social media!
That's where I'm torn. I want to share my photography and art form and words and I even want to write a book! To do all that, I do have to use social media or else how will anyone hear of what I'm up to? If I sit at home and never share another photo, would that be ok with me? Sorta, except for I truly LOVE capturing your families. I truly, truly do and I pray for my clients and reach to grow. I do think each of us has a light (just like you see in the photo above) that our world around us needs. If we shut up, quiet down, and close up shop, how will the others around us be affected? What ripple affect will occur if we silence our influence, whether that comes through social media or not?
What I know for sure is this:
God has given me a mission to help others see the rosy in their own beautiful, broken world. I think social media plays a tiny part in using my voice for this good.
No one's life is as good as it looks on social media. I just don't believe it. Everyone lives a complicated, slightly messed up version of what you think they're actually living. I don't think we were EVER meant to share as much as we do on the computer, just my old-school opinion.
I am happier, calmer, and feel so much better when I drastically limit my social media use. I know limiting it also makes me anxious and wonder if I'll be lost in the shuffle when I finally do post and will anyone notice my photography or move on to someone better who posts more often, and all these ridiculous questions and things that DON'T REALLY MATTER. They don't.
Here's what matters to me more than anything:
So internet, you make me feel bad. More often than you should.
Which means I can choose if I want to feel bad and participate in you or not, or at least choose how much I want to participate. I choose "not" most of the time. And my moods and headspace is happier for it and thanks me.
And I don't serve you Internet. I serve God and He was here before the term "social media" was ever coined and He was certainly here when I was formed as a tiny, rose-colored glasses wearing baby and toddler and child, and He'll still be here until the very end for me. My fate and destiny and happiness and joy don't lie in the hands of social media.
They lie in the spirit of God that wakes me, moves me, sustains me, and stills me.