A few days ago, it snowed in Athens. We didn’t get the drama or the news coverage of our Sister to the South (Atlanta); we got a few peaceful, quiet, cold and crisp days off from the hustle of normal mid-week activities. We got sledding and snowflakes and sleeping in. It was glorious. So glorious, in fact, that I posted the top picture on Instagram as I walked to meet some friends for a snowday brunch.
In reality, the untouched, un-Instagramified, un-VSCOed picture is below. It, too, in it’s raw form, is beautiful: the way the road slopes up, seemingly forever; the snow piled up on the banks, the naked trees cascading along like a canopy.
But. I fixed it. I fixed it so that it … looked better. More snowy. More magical.
My life looks nowhere near what I thought it would at this stage. In practical ways, this is your typical 27-year-old-girl internal drama of ithoughtiwouldbemarriedbynow and howisitthateveryoneiknowishavingbabiesandicantevengetallmylaundrydone etc etc etc. But a lot of it, too, is the fact that I compare myself to others constantly and think that if my story doesn’t match theirs, something is wrong. I do it without even realizing it.
Our internet/social-media savvy generation has become obsessed (me included; I realize the irony of writing this on a blahg) with documenting our lives: what we eat, what we wear, who we hang out with, our adventures… but in the midst of that self-obsession, we’ve also become obsessed with what others are doing and how we do or don’t measure up. Every time I open Instagram, it’s an emotional roulette: will my friend’s egg fritata make my Cheerios look lame? Will I see evidence of a dinner party last night I wasn’t invited to? OH Great… now I want to redo my living room, too!
I think the internet is great. I love Instagram and I love Tumblr and I love reading blogs and keeping up with both friends that live far away and far away people that I wish were my friends. I love taking photos, and I am even OK with photo editing to make something look better (because, hey, that picture is really beautiful, no?) I think the little moments and tiny warmth and connection you feel whilst reading someone’s post where you think Oh, man. Me too. I’m glad I’m not alone or I really cannot wait to try to make that maple ganache frosting or I needed a laugh like that today… these moments are all worth sifting through the mess of the rest.
Just before the snow storm, I received a Facebook message from a girl out in Dallas who reads this blog. She stumbled upon it a few years ago and has kept up with the (mis)adventures of Morgangster ever since. I was totally flattered and surprised… but the coolest thing that she said about her and her friends is really why I’m writing all of this in the first place:
…your posts have resonated with each of us in different ways. From career changes to moving cities to wondering why we’re 26 and single, we have always come back to your blog for some wisdom and candidness. Your group of friends really reminds us of ourselves.
So keep Instagramming. Keep Facebooking. Keep blogging; I’ll keep reading and I’ll keep writing. I think it’s important to share our stories and our experiences and our wisdom, because humans are pretty neat and hilarious. But when you find yourself feeling badly, feeling left out, feeling left-behind or feeling unworthy… unplug. Walk down your street and take an unfiltered photo of the street where you live on this day, at this period in your life. You won’t always live there, and an un-doctored reminder of the place where you were at this specific point in time will be more valuable to you than a wintry wonderland created in a phone. I promise.