Life is confusing and stressful and downright cruel sometimes. (Not the introduction you were expecting for such a fla la la title, was it? I’m getting there…)
I am not a stranger to the hard things in life- and I don’t believe that anyone in their 20’s really is, despite the fact that we are all desperately trying to seem “normal” and mentally sane. (Easier on some days than others.) For a long time, I believed that “strong” and “private” were synonyms. And by private, I mean mostly about the less than perfect things. That you couldn’t be happy while admitting that sometimes that your life can really suck, that the way you yelled at your dog was Jerry Springer material, and that you’re not quite sure how you’re going to afford your dentist bill. In a time saturated by social media, where every meal you eat can have a Walden filter thrown on it, you can easily feel disconnected from the genuine emotion of humans. I can also easily get sucked into this world of charm and, sometimes, narcissistic billboarding of one’s “lovely” life. I am here to say that my life is not this perfect picture. Behind every meal is a huge mess of flour in my hair and splatter on the walls. Behind every date night picture is a month of conquering our differences and fighting not to be another statistic in a world that glorifies selfishness. Every fun weekend with friends is years of misunderstandings, hurt feelings and wondering if you’re worth it to them too.
That all to say, I can tell you that I am happy. Happy and flawed. And I am happiest when I can admit the flawed, ugly, and weird aspects of my life, because that’s what connects you to people and let’s them know you’re just another person. And while Instagram and Twitter can be charming and beautiful, it is the other side of the lens that is crucial. Because we’re all messed up. And we need something deeper than our heavy filtered snapshots to feel connected to one another.
Now, I am a wanna-be professional photographer. I am not saying give up social media or hashtag your acne breakouts, but I challenge you to be cognizant of the world and people around you. Send letters with your real hand writing and real emotions. Reach out to people and encourage them. Be intentional with your conversations. Don’t get on your phone during dinners. Be honest in your short comings, not just your successes. Apologize when you’re wrong. Even if it’s from years ago. Start listening and asking questions. Real questions. And don’t let this shallow world swallow you whole.
For the love of pete, don’t let it swallow you whole.