For the past year I have seen many blogs about how the pictures we post on social media show a skewed view of life. And while I have always fundamentally agreed that yes, rarely do people show pictures on Instagram where they add a filter over their bulging anger face veins in a true-to-this-moment selfie. But I’ve also said that those picture moments are JUST AS REAL as the moments right before or after. They show one part of the story.
My opinions fundamentally haven’t changed on that opinion, but I have had two experiences in the past week that have caused me to be frustrated with my own portrayal of my life and emotions on social media. Because I have posted pictures of cool things, or times when I am smiling for the camera but am seething on the inside because all of my introverted faculties are being bombarded by an overwhelm of stimuli and I want to punch somebody in the face. In real life, I am a terrible faker. People know how I’m feeling from about 100 yards away, and those who can’t quite figure out my emotions usually assume it’s bad and steer clear of me unless I’m obviously putting out happy-clappy vibes. But on social media…that’s where I am good at faking.
For example…this sweet moment:
The reason we’re at this super sweet park is because my parent’s pissed me off at YET ANOTHER Christmas get together. They told me to “watch my tone” when I was frustrated about the noise level and the fact that Potamus was melting down and we still had three hours to go until the party was over. So while I snapped this adorable picture, I was actually standing outside in the cold without a coat or a sweater, and was trying to calm myself down. Potamus hadn’t napped, was way over stimulated, and we clearly both needed a little fresh air to cool off. But this pic got slapped up to Instagram and Facebook and it looks so sweet, and truthfully the moment WAS sweet, but inside I was seething.
Then there’s this moment, where I’m snuggled up with my sister…who actually turns out to have had a 102.5 fever. We’re mugging for the camera, and all is going well with us, but I am completely overhwelmed by the noise and heat and stimulation happening in my aunt’s house at this point. I’m holding it together for the pciture, but can you see the way I’m gripping the table and my sister’s arm like please keep me sane.
And all those adorable pictures from MOHAI? Reason that nobody else was in them was because my in-laws were clearly in a pissy mood, and so I decided to do the tour by myself. I enjoyed myself, truly, but was also freaking annoyed at yet another family function that turned into a shit storm because there are too many opinionated people trying to run the show.
I know that my photos tell a truth. They might not tell the WHOLE truth, which is what’s going on in my head, versus what’s happening around me, versus what I want to be happening. But I still stand by them, even those these last few interactions I’ve taken have actually felt cruddier than others. I know I’ll look back and know that there were sweet moments where I have seen Potamus grow, but I hate that there’s a discrepancy between what I sometimes feel, and what I look like in a photo…though who wants to look like a bitter uncomfortable hag in every photo? Haha!
pics can be deceptive!!! 🙂
This is a great post (as usual). I was actually thinking about the same line of thought, but also about how social media can be almost taunting in how people portray their “perfect” life and how the onlooker can feel so much less than “perfect” observing from their own crappy moment in time. I also feel like when I do post something truthful or real or even remotely harsh on Facebook people get all freaked out by it, like they don’t know what to make of honesty, and then get all uncomfortable and judgmental. I will have to try to remember this at some point when I am feeling really annoyed at being home, cooped up in the house with my wild children and snap a picture of what THAt really looks like. Then I will put it up on Facebook as an experiment to see who gets all judgey wudgey about someone actually being honest about stuff instead of talking about how aweome everything is and how great god is and all that blather. (Can you tell your post struck a chord with me!!??) Anyhoo, thanks for your honesty, and for your wonderful photos. I think at any rate, your photos will serve to remind you of these great moments of self growth and inner strength, or something.
Awe, you’re so sweet! Yes, I look back and I see moments differently when I have the photo. Like that day I was at MOHAI, I was grumpy for all of 1 hour. The rest of the day was FANTASTIC, so does posting those few pictures really mean I have a crappy day or relationship with people? Nope.
I think any photo taken anywhere and shown through any media is a half truth.
Why is social media made to be the bad guy? How times have you been instructed to smile for a pic when you were sick like your sister was? Or maybe you just weren’t feeling the moment?
Professionals wait all day for right bit of light or use computers to enhance their work all the time. Any photo anyone has ever seen in the history of the world is just a forced record of a moment in time told by the person taking the pic.
Everyone manipulates cameras to make a moment more what they feel at that time. In which case I think it’s more important to consider what the photographer was feeling more so than just relying on the image they have spoon fed to us.
Does that make sense? I’m on a lot of antihistamines right now. Don’t ask.
Yeah, I really like this comment!
While social media photos aren’t always considered ‘art’ I wonder about that old-time aspect of paintings and other portraits that people sat for…how were they feeling…what did the painter add to make the picture ‘better’ (like taking away George Washington’s horrible pock marks) etc.
I think, for me in these past two instances, I took some really good pictures and updated my social media with the intention AS IF I was happy. I wonder if maybe I had waited to post them when I was happy, rather than instantaneously, I would have felt better about it…
I would never have known that you were having a bad moment in the picture of you and your sister. It’s a really nice photo! You are both so beautiful 🙂 I personally steer clear of instagram, shooting selfies, or being in photos in general because I hate looking at myself in pictures. My daughter, on the other hand, is constantly taking selfies, which really drives me nuts. I worry that she’s becoming narcissistic, but apparently, a lot of people are into it! I think you deserve credit in being able to look great in a photo when inside you’re feeling something different. I would probably just look grumpy if it were me. Happy New Year to you!