I'll be the first to say I read too deeply into things. I over analyze with the very best of them. I painstakingly try to even out the dissonance in my brain, to account for unspoken intentions and hidden truths. Within the confines of a concrete way of looking at situations, there is little room for overlap, for the gray. Angry feelings percolate in my belly, anxiety creeps up my spine and I make a sweeping conclusion. But these polarizing opinions are provocative, and well nothing considerable was ever accomplished from being too neutral… So let's delve into being #blessed.

What we share with the world.

What we share with the world.

What really goes on...

What really goes on...

Social media likely originated with the purpose of connecting people. By that connectedness meaningful dialogue might be born, relationships nurtured, and useful information shared. That or some really bright people were just bored and wanted to stir up the social fabric of our society as we know it. Since then though social media has deviated from this once noble path. It's become a playground for airing what is wonderful and discarding what is fallible. We carefully curate a version of ourselves that is deemed acceptable for others to witness, and we discard or conceal the elements that make us most human. Affirmation is sought from people we may not even know mindlessly scrolling and tapping, scrolling and tapping.  

Enter the blessings and the squad goals. This concept of being #blessed is tossed around, and a set of criteria exists to alert the general population when you have been inducted into this desirable club. Some conditions for admission include a house in the Hamptons, a healthy, beautiful child, a prestigious career, a storybook romance. Do not misunderstand me, these are swell things to have and likely many people covet them. I do in one way or another, but not even because I want to. I feel like I should, because it is desirable in the social sphere's collective eye. I admire from afar the little family that appears to have it all together. I tell others who have what seems to be a fruitful, happy life that they are so blessed. When my own family is gathered around the table, and things are going right, then I feel like we are blessed.  I might even envy others who make it look easy. I post manicured images of food such that people might find them beautiful and think me capable, and talented. Dear world, tell me I am worthwhile, confirm for me that I am #blessed. I promise I will work diligently to maintain the illusion of togetherness. 

But it is all nonsense, plain and simple. Straight bullshit. 

(from atop my soapbox)

Is not our mere existence a blessing? Is the child in the inner city who struggles to learn and lacks any familial support not blessed?  How about the individual who cannot verbalize his or her preferences? The refugee, the single parent, the victim of abuse or bullying. The person who conceals his or her innermost self so as not to alienate loved ones. The child with visible differences who is not represented in mainstream media. The rejected, the cast aside, those whose bodies have betrayed them, riddled with illness. 

We yearn to be deserving of the status of being blessed, of being the chosen ones. In a book I read recently this entire line of reasoning was debunked in that from the moment we are conceived of we are already enough, without ever having to prove anything. With this in mind can we collectively find the courage to share what is not likable, or pretty? Can we acknowledge that the suffering that marks our human condition is itself a blessing albeit wrought with struggle and pain? What will it take to cast feelings of resentment and inadequacy aside?

Here is where the seas part. Some of you will say  what is this chick even talking about? She should just scroll and like yet another picture like the rest of us, and then cast judgment the next moment, or start dieting, or talk behind that girl's back. 

The others among you might acknowledge that deep down you feel something like what I feel. Not necessarily the exact same sentiment because I take introspection to a devastating level. Or maybe this vulnerability is more common than I envision but it's the world's best kept secret. People are hesitant to share what is realistic about their lives unless it is to garner attention or pity as the spectrum in the social sphere spans between narcissism and self loathing.  If gloating serves to erect a fortress around this exclusive club that not everyone can join, then pity is not helpful either. Progress and connectedness happen somewhere in the middle. To me that would be a place void of overt #blessings and #goals. 

If I have offended you, I encourage you to get back to a routine that is comfortable. I would not want to disrupt anything you have grown accustomed to. This discussion is not meant to shame or judge either although I admit this reasoning gets close to feeling like a judgment. We are all susceptible to the desire to be perceived as noble, or somehow enlightened it seems. 

But if somewhere in the pit of your stomach you feel the same way, I hope you might know that you are as blessed as the next person. I promise to do my part by thinking twice before concealing my burnt scones and dirty dishes. I will try to encourage and empower others. I will use discomfort as an opportunity for personal growth. I will try not to judge for fear of being judged equally harshly. 


On Social Sharing

This is in no way an attempt to debase behavior patterns or imply anything is wrong or right. The social sphere is all very organic and well uncontrollable. Like a wild fire. I am sincerely intrigued, that's all. Maybe Valentine's day and the abundant sharing got me pondering. 

Someone posted on Facebook, "Looks like everyone has the best boyfriend on Valentines day". I thought it was cheeky and clever and would be interested to know his marital status and profession. Maybe a comedy writer because it would make good stand up. Others may find the comments offensive or even bitter. Thus is life and we don't have to agree; it's small stuff anyway. 

Have you ever felt unsettled about learning deeply private and personal news via social media about a person you don't communicate with in the "real world". Like you're a creepy fly on the wall but you've done nothing wrong in fact. Is this just the social norm for our generation and we better start posting to keep up?  Or maybe we should only follow/friend people we would realistically communicate with outside of social media? This isn't it either. I like following Martha Stewart. I could be thinking too deeply about it but I am actually curious and might conduct a case study. If you have some insight, post it on Twitter @pensivefoodie. 

Are you supposed to like something on Facebook that is deeply or even partly sad? Twitter is effective in sharing and "affirming" content without the connotation that is it "likable", which may not be the case. For instance the death of a loved one or an egregious wrong. 

This video had me crying in the Best Buy parking lot, while my boyfriend ran in to buy a keyboard. He returned to the car to me a blubbering mess, keyboard in hand and confused. He took my phone away.  This is not the first time. 

This concept applies to trivial rants too: Something like this girl hates her mother-in-law, husband is a dud, and her little one peed the bed, again.  How about a Like with insert condition button. Or better, a Hug button. Here is a use case for your reference.

  1. Read Sad Content 
  2. Experience cognitive dissonance: Is it disrespectful if I like this? Will the source get the wrong idea about my intention? 
  3.  Reflect: This person needs a Hug or Support. 
  4. Click Hug Button and/or Like with a lump in my throat and a very heavy heart.

Facebook, get on it or Twitter will continue to outpace you. 

Just an observation. I have yet to read a post from a Wounded Warrior or a child with a terminal illness like this, "I am having a really hard time making it day to day." Or from a young woman with an intellectual disability, "Hey, the world is sometimes less than accommodating and marginalizes me."  Are these posts out there? I am sure they are. But they are not as frequent, as "I hate traffic".  Is this a lesson? Yes, I think so. No one cares you hate traffic.

Thanks to my big, brave sister, and her insight from a position as an Oncology Counselor for this invaluable reminder. 

On a lighter note. Have you experienced this moment? "Sh*t a Tyho. Argh *typo. Too late, already shared. What will the world think?",  says the sneaky grammar gremlin in your ear. 

Another observation.  I am grateful for the variety of beliefs, lifestyles, and cultures social media connects. Like this, a post on Instagram a while back, by Erica Domesek, the craft goddess behind P.S-I Made This. I've even found it to share. It was great. The woman has, well, serious balls and business chops.

Nonetheless, she's neither better nor worse than a woman her age who has four children and posts a picture of her child's first day riding the school bus.  Seriously, to each his own. 

"Insert name surely can't always look that gorgeous and together, can she." Real Simple magazine launched a fun hash tag campaign #rsgetreal to disprove that very thought. People posted to Instagram their vulnerable and non-perfect moments.  Dirty dishes. Piles of laundry. Fast food for their kids. It was very refreshing and these were my favorites. I would totally eat the meal in the third shot.

Do you ever feel defeated when no one likes content you thought was wildly genius, share-worthy, or beautiful? I do sometimes.  Have you ever deleted it you felt so bad? Not yet. 

Do you follow someone back as a courtesy even if you're not sure you would be interested to hear/see their personal details? The jury is still out. 

How should you feel when you friend request someone and it remains pending for a super long time in internet terms?  Meaning: a day or heaven forbid twowholedaysThink Zuckerberg in the last scene from Social Network. They portrayed him as a bit of a weasel in that movie anyway but he likely has enough money not to give a crap. 

Do you ever feel you need someone to physically remove your phone from your possession and not give it back for a while so you stop checking emails and refreshing Instagram? Guilty

Is it ever awfully tempting to delete all your accounts? As if a burden would be lifted and you'd stop comparing yourself to people you may or may not even know.  It's all relative anyway.Apples are not oranges and never will be. Furthermore, if I truly believe what I have been raised to believe then all the excess is superfluous anyway.  

Some quick thoughts to finish it off.

  1. How many pictures is too many pictures, in succession?  
  2. Should professionals allow clients, students, colleagues to friend/ follow them?
  3. Do we share to spark an emotional response from others, to inspire, to gloat a tad, or just because everyone else is?

Personally, I probably share too much about my pets. I don't have children so this is likely to be the case. I'm also not totally sure how I will share kid-related content if and God-willing when I have children. I post a lot about what I'm eating. I love to eat. Sue me. And I post a lot about family; they are post-worthy and a source of love and hope. 

End postand tweet.