I went to bed after 11 pm because the explosions from the fireworks were relentless until then. After Kelly heads to bed it’s supposed to be my quiet time. I pull out my journal, sift through the letters I’ve received and write away.
On May 24th they opened what I call “Pyro Village” at the Muckleshoot reservation. Why on the 24th of May is anyones guess, but since last weekend it has been a living, exploding hell around here at night. I try to block it out, but it’s the kind of chilling, bone-rattling repetition of BOOM, that drives the stress meter needle to quaking. Man, I hate it here sometimes. Aside from pets and kids, I can only imagine what those with PTSD do to keep themselves safe. The real tragedy ? It will only get worse.
So the journal gets a few lines of my obvious frustration and a letter or two go unanswered. I can barely think, let alone concentrate. I resort to scrolling through my Facebook newsfeed. It’s a mindless activity and one I default to far too often. I’ve been thinking a lot about social media lately. I wonder what it says about us. About me.
Personally, I think it makes us liars. Not in a deliberate, hurtful kind of way, but in the way it portrays our lives. It’s a nice place to share what we love and share our “wins” but reality can be much different. What if we told the absolute truth ? What if our stories were full and real and genuine ? Would people still want to read about it ? Would people care ?
Here are a few examples:
Yesterday I posted this:
But the rest of my day was more like this:
It began with an annoying alarm after a fitful night of sleep. I drag myself from beneath the covers and slowly make the bed. It is this every day activity, first thing, by which I can gauge how good or how bad my body feels. Yesterday was bad. I head down the stairs sideways because full steps forward make my toes feel broken. I park myself on the couch for a full half hour to let my body wake up, to whatever degree it is going to, for the day.
The bath or shower is next. As hot as I can stand to fully awaken all of my aching parts. On a good day, I feel like the rest of the world going through my ablutions to get ready for the day: brush teeth, dry and style (haha) my hair and apply a little cover-up makeup to disguise my flaws and then a brush of pink to the cheeks. Nothing will help the bags under my eyes or the neck that gives me such distress, so I try not to look too closely.
Some days I can open the bottle of mouthwash. Some days I cannot. Squeeze AND twist are not easy for me to master in the morning. Based on how well or how poor my hands are functioning I choose what to wear. Buttons are too hard some mornings so I opt for a couple pullover shirts instead.
Downstairs, if I’m lucky, Kelly has already poured a little half n half in my coffee cup. On the days she hasn’t, I often skip the coffee altogether, knowing I can’t twist the cap. Then my day begins.
Yesterday I was five minutes early so I swung by the new public art downtown. It’s gorgeous. There is a trick, of course, to blocking out some of the blight that is seen on an early drive down Auburn Way. Pulled over in the library, I get out to snap a few photos. It will be the best part of my day.
At work, I have a new boss. I believe he is the 5th one in the last 12 months, and like all of those who came before him, he is determined to shake things up. He has decided that the back dock, where I have parked and loaded my postal vehicle for 26 years, is suddenly unsafe. Instead, he will expect me to lift my trays of mail, equipment and parcels UP into my truck. I don’t expect that this will go well for me.
I spend the next six hours navigating some of Bellevue’s busiest roads. And I must mention that they are chock full of terrible drivers. I feel pretty confident ssying that because I spend the bulk of my waking hours in a vehicle.
Blah, blah, blah …
My life is wildly imperfect and unimpressive. Some days I don’t want to be around people at all. Some days there is a grey filter over everything and even the most brilliant colors are muted and dim.
But then there is Facebook.
I was just reading the other day a post from someone who was comparing their life to what they were seeing on social media. It’s all a big bunch of hooey. And we all do it. We look at someone elses life and want it for ourselves. Or we feel inadequate. We feel boring. Maybe we feel like we’re failing at life. Like we could do better.
It isn’t true.
Facebook is full of wins and the good stuff. And I love reading those stories and seeing those images. But there is more to our lives than what we choose to share on social media. I’m not prepared to leave. Yet. But there will come a day when I step away and I hope that there real people there on the other side. Real people who share their real lives.
After scrolling and scrolling Facebook, I feel a weird kind of emptiness. I feel an odd sense of detachment. Then I scroll through my own pages. It’s my life. A pretty good life, for sure. But it isn’t a complete picture and the kind of connections I really need aren’t there. Still looking for my tribe. I know they’re out there somewhere. Maybe this is my year.