I feel fake.
Not all the time. But lately, at least on the internet, I feel like I’ve been putting my “best self” forward. And that’s fine, I guess. But it’s not particularly genuine.
I have business cards! I was at an awards show! I wrote some stuff, and people read it!
I’m proud of all those things, I really am. And I’m glad I can share them. But between the collection of #humblebrags, the over-edited status updates, and the filter-on instagram version of my life….
I mean, it looks like I’m the kind of person who puts on pants before noon. Who watches intellectual TED talks, instead of mindlessly binging on Dr. Phil. Who always, always gets along with her picture-perfect family.
And that’s simply not true.
So here’s the reality, friends:
I’m insecure, overzealous, and uncoordinated. I swear, sometimes when I shouldn’t (sorry, mom). I don’t exercise enough…unless you count running late, I guess. I make jokes that aren’t funny, and I laugh at them. Out loud.
(Yeah. I’m that person.)
I suffer from foot in mouth syndrome, fear of missing out syndrome, there-are-always-clothes-on-my-floor syndrome. I also make up syndromes a lot, apparently. I’m messy. I play mind games without meaning to, mostly with myself. Sometimes, I have trouble being happy for people. I can be a bad listener–or worse, a good listener but a terrible responder. I am sensitive to a fault; I use big words when I do not need to; if there is a mirror nearby I will be looking at myself. I’m kind of awkward. Definitely impulsive. Occasionally preachy. I don’t know how to hide irritation, even when I should. I cry at commercials, laugh when I’m nervous, and rarely think before I speak.
I’m a mess. And that’s okay.
It’s not that I’m proud of these qualities. Not even a little bit. But I’m not ashamed to recognize them, either. They mean I’m here, I’m awake, I’m aware, I’m human, and I’m trying to be better. They mean that even through imperfection–serious, serious imperfection–I can still live, love, and be loved. We all can. And we can love other people through their not-so-perfect, too.
The judgement machine of the online world sometimes makes that difficult, I know. We put a filter on everything. We compare our everyday lives to everyone else’s “greatest hits” (thanks, Facebook). We blog about the times we win, not the times we lose. We talk about the times we have been wronged, not the times we wronged others. We manufacture our own stories in which we are the heroes.
But we aren’t heroes. We’re People. We make choices. We have personalities. We have bad habits and imperfect histories and honestly, we’re pretty boring most of the time.
So let’s take solace in the fact that we won’t always be perfect. The fact that we will annoy people. We will try to be helpful and it won’t work. We will apply for jobs and not get them. We will suffer failed relationships, send regrettable text messages, and come in last place.
I’ll be a mess. You’ll be a mess. We’ll be a mess. And that’s okay.
Life isn’t about being perfect every time you show up–life is about showing up, period. And tomorrow is about being a better you than you were today. If we were perfect today, then tomorrow would be pretty boring.
(And right now, by pretending I have it all together, by pretending it’s only smiles and professionalism and good news, my internet-self is probably pretty boring. Hopefully this helps to keep it real.)