Photos-The Half Truth Edition

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:

At the Park

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.

Sister Christmas

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!

What’s your thoughts/opinions on photos posted to social media? Photos in general?

Searching for a Guru…

In prep for this coming quarter, I thought I’d watch a few documentaries that might expose my students to the idea of critical thinking and questioning the status quo, not to mention that I really enjoy documentaries with a spiritual flavor.

I  knew going into the documentary that Kumare was fake, a man doing a Borat-style (though, seemingly with less malintent) social experiment meant to expose the ease in which swamis/gurus/prophets/babas/etc can exploit people’s desires for truth and connection. I knew he was fake the whole time. They tell you right from the beginning, and then you follow him on his journey to become the false-prophet Kumare, and gain a following, but I found myself compelled by his persona the whole time.

What is it about the search for a guru that compels me so much?   I WANTED to believe in what he was saying and who he was. It’s crazy the feeling that I had while watching it, because I am normally the most skeptical person ever.I sit in church and pick apart the sermon. I read and analyze and am open to learning, and yet in so many other ways I simply give in to emotion and believe random things that come along that just “feel” right to me.

So why do I feel like I want a guru/teacher? In my mind I envision sitting at Jesus’ feet and it feels SO RIGHT, but he’s not here anymore, and in so many ways I feel like his message has been twisted and changed by the church and pastors to mean something different than it was intended. It makes people feel unloved and unaccepted, and that’s not what I believe to be true.

In so many ways I have felt a part of a spiritual community in our home church, but now with a little-one and a church comprised of 70+year old grandparents, and virtually no under 3 child program or way of me getting my spiritual needs met while Potamus gets his spiritual needs met, leaves me feeling frustrated. And yet I’m not inclined to go to the neighborhood rock n’ roll church with a preacher I disagree with, simply because they have a “good child program.” I also don’t want to drive a bazillion years to get to church, because I like that ours is in the heart of our town and is such a community feel. I wrestle with my motivation for wanting to go and my motivation for wanting to stay home. And my desire for Potamus to have spirituality as a foundation, but wanting to steer away from the way my fundamentalist upbringing.  I know that I believe being a part of a community is important, but if I were to say I have a “guru” it’d be in the form of writers like Anne Lamott or Donald Miller or Brian McLaren. But part of me wants to sit at the feet of a teacher and experience the love. Ya know?

Thoughts? What influences you spiritually? Do you have a teacher you resonate with? Have you seen Kumare? What were your thoughts on it?