Keep it Real

From the Editor

I was going into a swim class when another mom stopped me. “Cindy, I see you on Facebook. Your life is perfect. I wish I had my life together like you.”

My jaw just dropped.

I hugged her and explained that’s not really me at all. That is my alternate reality, the good moments that I selectively share on social media. If Facebook showed all my moments somedays, I think I would receive sympathy cards.

That is what’s both wonderful and terrible about social media. The wonderful part is that I can choose what I share, crop it, filter it and spin it to make sure it is only positive and flattering.

The bad news is that it’s false and misleading. My life, like most people’s lives, is filled with daily challenges and all kinds of crazy stressors. What my friend mistakenly thought of me, I have also presumed of others. I am ashamed to admit that I have gone as far as to unfollow people, simply because I thought they were too perfect or didn’t have any problems so they couldn’t possibly understand my life.

The reality is that social media is all smoke. We cannot really know or even begin to understand a person’s life based of their profile or posts on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or any other form of social media.

I am, however, not advocating posting every emotion or disturbing moment into cyberspace. When my daughters were in high school and social media was a new norm, I used to warn them not to put anything on Facebook that they would not be comfortable seeing on a billboard on the Atlantic City Expressway. Much of my investigative motherly research was done on Facebook and I know that potential employers always check it.

It’s tricky, but I think there has to be a balance between keeping it real, and not airing every grievance or intense feeling. I’m striving to find that balance, because I want to be authentic. So, when you see some more of my messier moments posted on Facebook, please give me a “like” and know I’m just trying to keep it real.

Peace & Love,