Sunday, April 7, 2013

hear, hear.

save for an 8km run i did and a horrible dinner thereafter, i was holed at home the entire day today - favourite tunes on repeat, listening to the incessant rain pelting at my window while i worked...

and i loved it.

loved having the whole house to myself, the lack of another figure in the same breathing space as me, the fact that no one would or could complain nor comment on my sudden (very loud) breaking out into song... and everything else awesome that being alone can bring. mmm-mmmmm. 

i swear the size of my personal bubble is proportionate to the number of candles on my birthday cake.

its gonna be a boring post 'cos im not going to post any pictures today - no food, no outfits, no shots of eating establishments - but an article that i just read and couldn't wait to share.

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I keep having the same conversation over and over. It starts like this: “I gave up Facebook for Lent, and I realized I’m a lot happier without it.” Or like this, “Pinterest makes me hate my house.” Or like this: “I stopped following a friend on Instagram, and now that I don’t see nonstop snapshots of her perfect life, I like her better.”

Yikes. This is a thing. This is coming up in conversation after conversation. The danger of the internet is that it’s very very easy to tell partial truths - to show the fabulous meal but not the mess to clean up afterward. To display the smiling couple-shot, but not the fight you had three days ago. To offer up the sparkly milestones but not the spiraling meltdowns.

I’m not anti-technology or anti-Internet, certainly, but I do think it’s important for us to remind ourselves from time to time that watching other peoples’ post-worthy moments on Facebook is always going to yield a prettier version of life than the one you’re living right now. That’s how it works.

My life looks better on the Internet than it does in real life. Everyone's life looks better on the internet than it does in real life. The Internet is partial truths - we get to decide what people see and what they don't. That's why it's safer short term. And that's why it's much, much more dangerous long term.

Because community - the rich kind, the transforming kind, the valuable and difficult kind - doesn’t happen in partial truths and well-edited photo collections on Instagram. Community happens when we hear each other’s actual voices, when we enter one another’s actual homes, with actual messes, around actual tables telling stories that ramble on beyond 140 pithy characters.

But seeing the best possible, often-unrealistic, half-truth version of other peoples’ lives isn’t the only danger of the Internet. Our envy buttons also get pushed because we rarely check Facebook when we’re having our own peak experiences. We check it when we’re bored and when we’re lonely, and it intensifies that boredom and loneliness.

When you’re laughing at a meal with friends, are you scrolling through Pinterest? When you’re in labor with your much-prayed-for-deeply-loved child, are you checking to see what’s happening on Instagram? Of course not. We check in with our phones when it seems like nothing fun is happening in our own lives - when we’re getting our oil changed or waiting for the coffee to brew.

It makes sense, then, that anyone else’s fun or beauty or sparkle gets under our skin. It magnifies our own dissatisfaction with that moment. When you’re waiting for your coffee to brew, the majority of your friends probably aren’t doing anything any more special.

But it only takes one friend at the Eiffel Tower to make you feel like a loser.

I’m a writer. I use Twitter and Facebook and Instagram and Pinterest and my blog as part of my professional life - as a way to connect with readers and be part of a conversation that we’re creating together, a conversation about creativity and faith and writing and parenting and community and life around the table. It’s a lovely conversation, and part of my work involves reading many blogs and commenting on lots of photos and scrolling through status after status.

Some days it feels rich and multi-faceted. I learn and I’m inspired. I find recipes I want to try and stories I want to live. I feel connected and thankful to be part of such an intelligent and creative internet community.
And then on some days, I feel like I have nothing to offer, like I must be the only one who isn’t a graphic designer and hasn’t yet managed to display her entire darling life online with lots of chevron and mint accents. I feel so certain that my life is a lot less darling than other peoples’ lives.

But that’s the Internet. The nature of it. I so easily fall prey to the seduction of other people’s partial truths and heavily filtered photos, making everything look amazing. And their amazing looking lives make me feel not amazing at all.

Let’s choose community. Let’s stop comparing. Let’s start connecting.

Some days when I sit down at my laptop, instead of choosing to be an observer via Facebook, I choose to be a friend via email. Instead of scrolling through someone else’s carefully curated images, I use those few seconds to send a text to a person I really know and really love and really want to be connected to.
It’s not about technology or not. I’m not suggesting you get all old-school-pen-and-paper about it (unless that’s your thing.) It’s about connecting instead of comparing. Instead of using the computer to watch someone else’s perfectly crafted life, enter into someone’s less-than-perfect life. You can use Facebook if you want, but you might find email, Skype and phone calls work better.

The distinction I'm making is public vs. private, not in person vs. long distance. I have very close, very honest friendships that depend on phone calls and Skype dates and long wandering emails, and I'm thankful that technology allows for those connections. But I don't think you can build transforming friendships that take place only in a public sphere like Facebook or Instagram.

For many of us, walking away from the Internet isn’t an option. But using it to connect instead of compare is an option, and a life-changing one. Using technology to build community instead of building carefully-curated images of ourselves is an option, and a worthwhile one.

And on the days when you peer into the screen of your laptop and all you see are other people’s peak experiences that highlight your lack in that moment, remember that life isn’t about the story you tell about yourself on the Internet. It’s about a million more beautiful and complex things than that, like love and faith and really listening. It’s about using what you’ve been given to craft a life of gratitude and passion and grace.

Remember that the very best things in life can’t be captured in status updates.

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i can't agree more.

i've heard friends, friends of friends, friends of friends of friends, feeling inferior after reading blogs of the rich and famous; or simply by looking at the pictures they post. i know what that feels like because im only human and i've been hit by similar feelings, but we should never be allowed to let these feelings consume us.
im not saying you should stop reading or looking at these social media sites altogether. what im saying is: let it better you. let it strive you to work harder for your future. let it remind yourself to count your blessings, no matter what they may be.
look at other people's perfect lives, admire it, then let it go. 

i dont know why but lately i've been really disturbed by how people judge self-worth, or the worth of other people, by the tangibles. thing here is, im sure we all know we're worth more than that but why doesnt it seem to get into our heads?

you may not have at least half of what they own, but what do you know? 
perhaps you already have something they don't.
food for thought.

i'll leave you with my earworm for now :)



g'night folks! 

pensive xoxo,
sharon

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hey, can i check normally when will your stock up your new arrivals at vivo outlet?

Anonymous said...

Awesome post :-) love how you put it!

Anonymous said...

I chanced upon this blog sometime back amidst a cursory browsing of some online clothing shops. I visit your page frequently, and although I am not a customer of your brand, I've always found your fashion and lifestyle features entertaining and aesthetically pleasing.

I feel compelled to leave a comment today because your post was particularly meaningful - you put a fine point on the realities of life and made very apt observations about the inherent nature of our human selves. It is sad to realize that our self worth is determined by how much we have; yet even worse to recognize that our perceptions of how much we have are often calibrated against, and contingent on, what others have (or don't have).

Seemingly benign thoughts of envy, if left unchecked, can insidiously become sentiments of negativity and jealously. I've seen it amongst friends, and sadly, I've seen it in myself.

Thank you for a reminder of what is important.

Anonymous said...

love this post. mind sharing the original article? would love to share it with friends, thank you! :)

Anonymous said...

Hi,

I'm amazed at your post. I hardly comment on people's blogs. but i find the need to comment on your post.

I loved every single word of your post. It's meaningful, thoughtful, well-articulated and definitely shines a mirror in many of our faces.

It is facebook, and the tools of technology that we have that leaves us with undesirable attributes such as being unappreciative, greedy and most of all, the obsession for beauty.

Thank you, for writing this post. Im sure it touched and serves as a harsh truth for me as well as many girls out there.

thank you.

- riaa
blue_pink_yellow_89@hotmail.com

Eve said...

Love this blogspot! :) thank you for sharing!

missypixie said...

anon1: we do it once every week - usually mid-week! :)

anon2: glad you liked it! :)

anon3: thank you, as well, for appreciating the post. i sometimes feel like im in this industry whereby you are constantly judged by the haves and have nots. its easy to sink when all i want to do is to float - and it sometimes feels like a catch22. but i've come to realise that all i need are constant reminders to myself that Life is much, much, more than that. and being able to find people who are on the same line as you and surrounding yourself with them - well, that's just fab :)

here's to counting our blessings!

missypixie said...

anon4: sure thing! you can find the original article at http://www.relevantmagazine.com/culture/tech/stop-instagramming-your-perfect-life

riaa: im really glad that this post has sparked you to comment on our blog :p but in all honesty, thank you, for appreciating what i wrote. its something very personal to me and i thought it might have just been me who's irked by all these insecurities around me - most of which i believe, stems from looking at other people's lives on social sites and then comparing with their own. good to know there are people out there like you, who share my thoughts :)

eve: thank YOU for reading! the pleasure's all mine ;)

Anonymous said...

Thank you for the article. I really enjoyed reading it. :)

May I know if there's BO for HARPER shorts and lace cropped top?:)