Lopsided Life

March 3rd, 2013


I read an article today on TheRumpus.net that quoted author Jess Walters as saying, “No one goes on Facebook to announce he has herpes.” I laughed till I ached and then thought of all the things in my own life that never make it onto Facebook. On my FB page, it would seem that my friends and I are all socially aware, funny as hell, fond of our dogs and children, politically astute and have rainbows shooting out of our asses while kittens chase yarn and kids say the darndest things. Oh yeah, and every photo we post on Instagram is brilliant because we don’t have to bother to learn how to use a camera–Instagram does that for us. Our shadow selves never make it onto Facebook, Match.com or eHarmony, ¬†and yet without those bits, we’re Flat Annies starring in our own cheery sitcoms. Yes, I like to “Like” the things my friends post just to be able to give them a metaphorical hug across the miles that divide us…it’s a way of staying in touch, no matter how long distance or tenuously. But it also exhausts me in some fundamental way that I can’t quite figure out. I’m completely guilty of posting my own relentlessly Facebook-friendly life that is more like living in a staged magazine moment than going backstage at my messy, often unmanageable, frequently boring, sometimes sad life. It’s not that what I put on FB is false or fake, but it’s only one side of me–my good side, my activist side, my sunny side, my creative self. I miss being three-dimensional me, but it’s true that nobody reveals that they have herpes on Facebook and you won’t find me posting that I’ve cried myself to sleep over a bad-for-me lover I still still miss when I’m low, impulsively spent too much money on something I’ll never wear more than once, embarrassed myself by having one too many glasses of wine at a party, have a Tom Daley pinup calendar in my kitchen, got my wrinkles spackled (wrinkles are winning — see above), or for one wild moment when I was a young single mom, had a fling with an encyclopedia salesman. Facebook is more like a high school yearbook for grownups in which everyone writes cute messages and dots their i’s with little hearts. I get it, I really do, but sometimes I just have to play hooky from high school.

4 Responses to “Lopsided Life”

  1. Facebook can be so much fun, but it can also be overwhelming–everyone pushing a point of view. I tend to stay away when I’m feeling down or fragile because in that state, reading other people’s updates makes me feel worse, and I view my sadness as a virus I shouldn’t transmit. But when I’m on an even keel, sharing bits and pieces of my ordinary life (and reading the same) makes me happy. Not a fan of FB activism, but I do love some of the serious discussions that aren’t overtly political.

  2. Leigh Sabine says:

    This made me laugh out loud and I share your sentiments. You have a knack for getting right to the heart of the matter… Love the way you put on paper!

  3. Mindy says:

    You are so right. If we allow ourselves to think that everyone’s life is only what they out on FB it could get pretty depressing. I was recently telling someone that I was envious of a mutual friend whose life seemed so glamorous and perfect. Luckily the friend I was talking to reminded me that FB is not real. No one’s life is perfect.

  4. chsjenny says:

    Ironic that I read about this post on FB. I have often shared these same feelings while trying to create the perfect post. I have written, deleted, and rewritten countless times afraid of being misunderstood or judged. On the other hand when I look at fb and all the sugar coated lives it does remind me that life is precious and good and filled with moments that are too funny, too cute or filled with so much love you just have to share. Great entry!

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