“I just wished my life sucked a little bit more, you know?”
— No-one. Ever.
We’re surrounded by images of perfect homes, perfect parents, perfect kids. We flick through Pinterest, Facebook and Instagram and are bombarded with curated images of split-second perfection. We willingly invite this virtual utopia into our home via blogs, magazines and websites.
And it is so easy to believe.
It’s just so easy to slip into believing that these images and the light-hearted way perfect lives are described are actually real.
In fact, it’s probably easy to believe that the photo above is real. That this image represents the reality of my afternoons.
But come on now. You’re an intelligent person.
It is not reality. No image is, regardless of how carefree and laidback it may appear.
The caption of my above Instagram photo was, “Sanity Break.” And while that particular afternoon was very pretty, I was sitting in the hammock for approximately 28.5 uninterrupted seconds as my one moment of escape. I wasn’t relishing in the perfection of my day, I was escaping the reality of it. Just for a brief time.
And that reality? The kids had been busting my butt all day, I was hormonal, frustrated and facing the prospect of another night of completing the dinner-bath-books-bed routine without Ben.
I didn’t post it to show how perfect my life is (it’s not). I posted it to celebrate a very brief moment of calm in an otherwise chaotic day.
The reality is that everyone has crappy days, horrible weeks and difficult months. Everyone shouts at their kids. Everyone argues with their partners. Everyone has stages in life where the annoyances and the mess and the complications that don’t feed our souls take over. And you feel overwhelmed, undervalued, absent.
That is called life.
I am by no means anti-Instagram, anti-Pinterest or (heaven forbid!) anti-blog. I like new media. But it isn’t real life. It’s no-one’s real life.
But by inviting these images of perfection into our heads, by being envious of them, by trying to attain them, we are buying into the myth of perfection. And I’ve said it before, but it bears repeating:
Nothing and no-one is perfect. And that’s OK.
By inviting it in, we are giving this myth of perfection undue credit. We are choosing to compare our lives to these edited, censored glimpses. And it’s wrong.
It means we are left sapped of our energies, feeling inadequate, less than. And do you know what? We are doing this to ourselves. It’s not the media that’s doing this. It’s not bloggers. It’s not misogynistic, airbrush-wielding faceless men working for fashion magazines.
So I propose we put these beautiful images, perfect glimpses, wonderful ideas and magazine-worthy lives where they belong. As entertainment. As celebrations of fleetingly beautiful moments. As “sometimes” fun and occasional frivolity. But let’s stop making them more than they are, and let’s stop allowing them to make us feel less than.
Because you are enough. And if you think you’re lacking in some real way, looking at images of impossibly perfect toddler birthday parties on Pinterest sure as hell won’t help.
Share your thoughts in the comments below. Do you ever find yourself feeling inadequate when faced with the barrage of impossibly perfect images we see every day?