I was reminded this week that we don't have all the answers. We never know, completely, what is going on in someone else's life. People post what they eat, the crafts they make, the places they visit, their accomplishments, their dreams, and sometimes....rarely...the shit they go through. Notice how most of those things I mentioned was the good stuff. And it makes sense - we want to show off the ways in which our lives are going well. We love our kids and want to show off their accomplishments. We love our spouses and want to shout out about our love and our anniversaries. We love our families and want to share their birthdays with everyone. We post that stuff because most of us love attention. And that's why we post the good stuff so that we get the likes and the hearts and the "congratulations!".
But it leaves us with a very shallow view of each other's lives. This is the era of Facebook and Instagram. And so we see all the wonderful things that our friends and family are doing. But where are the hardships we are all going through? The chronic illnesses, the divorces, the job losses, the struggles with our kids? We all suffer through these. But we are reluctant to share with the world and even sometimes with our own families. And if we do, we post vaguely about needing prayers or we post to only certain people who we truly trust. Why? Are we ashamed? Are we afraid? Is it a sign of failure that you had an argument with your 16 year old and you lost your cool and swore at them?
Fuck that shit!
That felt good to say.
Do you know how many people in this world live with chronic illness? And not only the kind you can see, but illnesses like diabetes (which I have), chronic pain (have that too), high blood pressure, heart disease, mental illness, alcoholism, etc.
Do you know how many people have gone through money problems or job losses? I'll bet you that you probably know people who have gone on government assistance at some point in their lives but have never talked about it. We have...sometimes after a job loss, you just can't get right back up on that horse and need a little bit of help. You gotta do what you gotta do, especially when you have a family, right?
Do you know how many good parents have lost their cool with their kids at some point or another? I have! In fact, I suffered from postpartum depression after having my first child and was so depressed and sleep-deprived that my husband had to take the baby away from me because I was not able to handle the crying at all. I felt like a failure - until I joined a support group and saw just how many other first time mothers felt the same way.
The point for this post is to say that we are all going through shit. Medical shit. Financial shit. Relationship shit. Life is tough, no doubt. And I talk about some of the stuff I'm going through. But I am going to try to put more of my real self out there...it's scary as hell but I hope to have people get to know the real me, to be more authentic.
I think the world needs more of that. After all, how can we have empathy for our fellow human being if we never see others struggle?