“Don’t judge a book by its cover.”

The oldest lesson I can think of: Don’t judge a book by its cover.
(or maybe the second oldest, after “Treat others the way you want to be treated.” A topic i think I’ve visited before. We should treat others the way they want to be treated; but never mind that).
Don’t judge a book by it’s cover. We’ve been told this for as long as I can remember. We being society. Our elders tell us to look past the imperfections people possess, and give their true being a chance. Let someone show you who they are instead of assuming you know based on the clothes they wear, the car they drive, the freckles on their cheeks. I’ll be the first to tell you, outward appearances rarely provide a true glimpse at what’s inside a person. Sure, we’ve shattered this notion a little bit with the “RBF” epidemic. Y’know, the attention we’ve given to females who always look mad, but who are actually just born with a rude pout on their face? The way someone looks leads us to make all sorts of assumptions. And just because we’ve been taught not too, doesn’t make not doing it any easier. Bleach blonde bombshells always seem a little stuck up to me, even if they’re down home girls at heart. Larger people initially strike me as lazy. Stinky people seem dirty. Loud people seem crazy. And quiet people seem shy. That isn’t always the case. And I’ve grown to give people a chance to show me who they really are. But, my inability to refrain from judging others – even if only for a brief moment. – isn’t the point of this rant. The point is: social media.

I have Instagram. & I have snapchat. & recently, I contemplated deleting them both. Snapchat is gone, for now. Instagram, I’m holding onto. But, why? The more stories I hear about peoples real lives, the less I like my Instagram. When I was with my ex-boyfriend, many moons ago, I recall posting pictures from our day that didn’t fully encapsulate what was actually going on. I distinctly remember taking a cutesy photo with him by the river on Valentine’s Day – I believe I was even kissing his cheek – because I wanted everybody to know that he took me to feed the ducks. It was all I wanted for the stupid holiday I somehow convinced myself mattered, after I somehow convinced myself I was happy. We posted the picture, and the likes flooded in. What nobody knew was that up until that moment, the day had been trying. I had to beg him to take me to feed the ducks. He didn’t want to go. He didn’t want to get the cupcakes I planned on getting us, of which mine had a hair in it! He didn’t enjoy walking by the river, he took off at a damn near run to get down to the water’s edge, and when I playfully tossed the bread in, the fuckin’ dicks ducks swam away. I mean, have you ever seen a full duck?! If that wasn’t a sign from the Gods…. The point is, I know fake-happy because I’ve been fake-happy. What I didn’t know was how many fake-happy people our social media dependency had created.

The last time I went home to visit, just 2 short weeks ago, I heard about 3 couples going through very rough times. One couple – the wife was cheating with her husbands really good friend, via text messages/photos. One couple – the husband is never home, and the wife is basically a single mother. One couple – the husband treats the wife like garbage; I’ll leave out the details. And you know what I thought about all of these couples/people? I thought “lucky her,” “lucky him,” “lucky them.” I thought “What have I done wrong my entire life to not have someone love me that way?” And come to find out, the life that I see them leading, that they portray online, the seemingly perfect fairytales – they’re littered with inconsistency, betrayal, tears & regret.

This has bothered me for a while, but something struck a cord with me today when one of my friends said: “Photos hide a lot.” I asked her how things with her boyfriend were, and she said rocky. & I said, “But you’ve looked like your’e having such a great time.” Photos hide a lot, she said. & my heart broke.

First, my heart broke because I felt so sorry for her. Why did she think she had to promote her happiness online, when it wasn’t real? Then, it broke for every single one of us. For those of us who have ever felt like they were doing something wrong because not enough people liked their photo. Those of us who post happy times online to fool ourselves into thinking we’re OK, when really – we’re broken down & defeated. For every single person who upholds the image they’ve had for so long because they’d be ridiculed for admitting they chose the wrong man, or woman, or weren’t ready for their baby.

I just don’t get it. I don’t understand why we take photographs for face-value. Why we have to have everyone’s approval. Why we all act like we’re still Freshmen in High School just trying not to be the lonely loser. I was that person. I was that person day in & day out, always thinking if I batted my lashes at the right boy, I’d be popular and sought after. I did that for 8+ years, through high school & college, and I’ll be damned if I ever do that again.

This is me. This is who I am. The over thinker. The hypocrite. The girl who rambles about everything that catches her attention for more than 35 seconds. The girl with freckles in places she doesn’t want them. Who’s wisdom teeth are making her front tooth a little crooked. Who’s real friends know she cries at her desk in the middle of the day because she’s frustrated with her workload. Who wants a man so bad but won’t settle for the mediocre shit most millennials title “love” these days. I’m not married, living in my dream home, driving a white Lexus, with a baby girl in the back seat. I’m not pulled from my dreams each morning with his kiss on my cheek. I’m not wealthy, or traveling to Bora Bora, or the new Supervisor at my job. But you know what, my husband isn’t cheating on me behind the camera, and my friends aren’t pretending they’re happy for me, either. and tonight, I feel like that’s more than enough.

.xo.

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