On social media, we try to put our best foot forward. We zoom in on the tidy part of our kitchen, just slightly to the left of the dirty dishes in the sink. We are seen playing with our happy kids, walking in the sunshine, travelling, drinking perfectly foamed lattes, and laughing with our friends. We post perfectly made up selfies with the exact amount of natural light shining across us in our beds and claim that we just woke up like this.
We all do this, to help us wipe away our insecurities about where we don’t show up in our own lives as perfectly as we would like. We also know when we scroll through our feeds and see these pictures what goes on behind the scenes, and yet we still feel less than. Less than the mommy with the perfect baby bump, while ours are covered in stretch marks; less than the 5 beautiful women out for brunch at the most expensive restaurant in their fabulous city; less than the kids who are cheerfully riding horses at 2; less than the person who is travelling for business every single week. Because we only see the single picture, edited and changed, and magicked. We only read the short caption that says the new mommy cannot wait for baby Aromatherapy to arrive; that says “love these ladies! #babeswhobrunch”; that says Xander is such a horseman!! Just like his daddy!; that says “jet setting! Another day, another plane!”. We don’t see a post about the absolute heart wrenching breakdown that the mama-to-be had yesterday when she couldn’t figure out how build the baby stroller; the post about the bank balance after the brunch that makes it hard to pay her rent; the post about Xander screaming for 35 minutes about not wanting to be in the car to get to the riding stables; the post about the physical and emotional toll that all the travel has had on the business person and his family. We just don’t, because our social media is our highlight reel. It is the stuff we want people to believe about us. We manipulate it to suit us because we want to be liked. We want to be the Joneses.
So here is my real reel: I woke up like this, smudged makeup and all… sort of, the filters are not real. There are 4 other selfies like this on my phone. The Portrait Mode on my phone creates unnatural natural light. Even though my make up is smudged, I “worked my angles”. I am exhausted, my daughter is sick, I have cancelled my whole day to spend it in my pyjamas and drinking coffee. I am working on my budget, because I need to spend smarter. I am still in bed at 11am, because my muscles and joints are flaring. I sometimes feel jealous of other people and their success, and then tell myself that they are successful because they are not still laying in bed at 11am on a Saturday. I am not always as chill as I would like to be. Sometimes I fight with my husband. Sometimes my kids annoy me and sometimes I annoy them. Sometimes I read really short books to catch up on my reading challenge quota for the year. Sometimes I feel like I will make a huge impact on the world and feel happy with my place in it. Sometimes I feel like I am worth nothing and cannot even dare to try to make and impact. And sometimes I am just Kali. Just me. No highlight reel. No filters. Just me.