November 13, 2016

Dear “Friend,” I almost Unfollowed you Today.


Perhaps it was your impossibly blue sky that got under my skin.

Or that perfect beach shot you took, as you dipped your feet in glistening waters in some farflung place. Or your shiny smoothie full of ingredients, some of which I’ve never heard of. That killer workout you did with your makeup still intact? Or your glossy hair shimmering in the wind. Or maybe it was that effortlessly chic outfit you’re wearing that pushed me to the edge.

I can’t quite pinpoint it, but you got to me today.

I suddenly felt fed up with the endless hashtagging flurry of he’s doing, she’s doing. He’s here, she’s going there. Places I’ve never been, outfits I’ll never own. Things I think I should be doing, time I don’t seem to have. Bodies that are a far cry from my own softer, lived-in model.

Perhaps it was your sculpted arms. Or that motivational quote. Your six pack. That bikini. Your effortless yoga pose. Or maybe it’s just the fact that you seem to excel where I struggle. Or my notion that the raw, unfiltered messiness of this crazy life doesn’t faze you at all.

Yes, dear friends. I almost unfollowed you today. Your life just seemed too neat.

Your success, my failure. Your blue sky too stark a contrast to my dark circles. Your boundless energy set against my love of a good, stiff coffee, or an ice-cold gin and tonic.

But then I closed my eyes and opened them to the comedy of all of this.

The silly judgement. The fleeting jealousy. The petty envy of people like you—people I don’t even know. The ease at which my mind can get lost on a merry tirade.

If we could meet beyond the filter, what would I see? A person I’m judging by a snapshot in time, which I’m giving the ability to deflate or irritate? Would we sit and have a laugh over that coffee and connect outside this crazy, bitchy cyber space? Could I remind myself that you, too, have a journey, a real struggle that I might never see? A normal, crazy, cosy life behind the Amaro haze?

If I could stop scrolling for a moment, I would see the reality of it all.

That we live in an era where there are brands to build, profiles to nurture, followers to inspire—and that isn’t such a bad thing. That we can’t even begin to scratch the surface of a book if we all we do is judge it by its artfully edited cover. I’d gently recall that, ultimately, we have the choice to stop. To power down, and take a breath in real life—instead of getting bogged down in what we think is someone’s less stressful virtual world.

As I sit to finish this, the couple beside me pause before tucking into a hearty plate of scrambled eggs. Not to say grace. Not to gaze lovingly into each other’s eyes over their breakfast date. Instead, with smart phones angled creatively, they take a snap before lifting their forks.

I smile. No criticism this time. After all, I can’t judge something I’ve done so many times myself.

At the end of the day, we’re all human. Many of us, voyeurs at heart. Who doesn’t love a good b*tch and a little old rant now and then? It’s natural to judge, it’s natural to feel envy, especially in the social media swirl of our world today.

Unless you have the all singing mind of Mary Poppins, there will always be “friends” that push a few internal buttons. Friends with flawless updates that can trigger that feeling of inadequacy—but only if we choose to think that way.

“Mommy! Put your phone down! I’m talking to you!” my daughter Molly regularly shouts, breaking me from my virtual fog. My children are a huge daily reminder to stop and see the world as it is. Not as it could be through a lens. Or with a flattering filter. But just as it is. They’re a constant reminder that I am enough. That all that I have, right here, is enough.

I’d choose my imperfectly perfect, chaotic world any day.

So here’s to you, my “friends,” I’m done with the judgement today. Keep me posted, I choose to be inspired.

“When you see images that promise static perfection, close your eyes to it and open them to yourself in all your present, messy, imperfect glory.” ~ Unknown


Author: Cheryl Parsons

Image: Tjook/Flickr

Editor: Katarina Tavčar

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