In today’s digital world of selfies and Instagram and endless pings, it’s hard to envision anyone being nameless, faceless, anonymous – living a life where they’re never really truly known. But we do. We are. After all, Hamlet perhaps said it best: “God has given you one face, and you make yourself another.”
I think about this all.of.the.time. Authenticity to ourselves requires a great deal of thought and care and vulnerability, all commodities that can rarely be found online and are probably best practiced in close circles of trust. I often have conversations with other bloggers about how they walk the fine line between positivity and aspiration and have found that – for most of us – it’s a line that shifts with the morning tide.
How can we share the good without acknowledging the bad? And how can we acknowledge the bad without giving it weight, permission to tip the scale into our thoughts and fears and focus?
We do our best. We filter a bit and then unfilter a bit more and we aslkdfjoiajowi and delete and then have long conversations about how private we want to be about our kids or our businesses or our dogs or our spouses and then we accidentally break the rules because their story spilled over into ours and couldn’t be separated. Physics or something.
And we readjust out of frustration or fear until we decide yes, this feels right. This is balance. And then the weight of something new – time or change or interference – tips us a bit and we’re back to wherever we were a few everythings ago.
We know in our hearts that perfection doesn’t exist, that images are slivers and sound bytes do little to capture the essence of our lives. But sometimes we need the reminder. Sometimes the filters everyone else use look more light-filled than our own, and sometimes we try to recalibrate to match. We open our eyes to what we don’t have, and we blind ourselves to what we do.
But the tricky thing about light, of course, is that its waves either absorb or reflect. And so do people. We can absorb the good and the real and the honorable, and we can reflect the same. We can tell the truth that yes, things kind of fell apart today*, but we can also dig for the gems that lie beneath the rubble. It takes a bit more work and sweat on our brows, but it’s sure to wash off the layers of facade along the way.
What lies beneath, of course, is authenticity. It’s just us, seeking the good and the hard – perhaps coming up short on some days, overflowing our cups on others.
p.s. *My fall-apart moment today was when this one sliced my eyelid with the corner of her diaper cream tube, in case you’re curious. ;) What was yours?