I'm Not a Self-Righteous Know-It-All, but I Play One on the Internet

Last Friday, the day of the thirty-second turned three-hour task, I got angry at my kids. 

For wanting to eat breakfast.

I struggle every day with selfishness, pride, entitlement, and jealousy (even though wisdom that comes with age has helped me to grow up and get over this one to some extent).

I raise my voice.  A lot.  Then I feel guilty.  Especially when it makes Noah cry.  Then I feel like the worst mom ever.

I am quick to judge, slow to love, very quick to anger, and even slower to forgive..especially myself.

Transparency is important to me.  I have no claims to perfection.  I am so very far from perfect.  I think if you know me in real life, you are 100% aware of this.  Because, well, it's obvious.

One of my vices is the internet.  I feel captive to it.  It's really kind of embarrassing to say it that way.  I'm enslaved by what is going on inside my computer.  True story.  I'm aware of it and I'm taking strides to wean myself off the addiction.  But the truth is, I mostly want to be rid of the misrepresentation.

I am so quick to jump to conclusions when I read things on the internet.  If I stop by someone's blog or read an editorial or a tweet or a status update, it takes about five seconds for me to assume that I know everything there is to know and to draw conclusions and make diagnoses from a mere snapshot of that person's life and experiences.

Maybe I'm the only one who does this.

It's probably my insecurity showing, but I end up second guessing my entire life because of innocuous Facebook posts about kids reading at age three or potty-training at 18 months or winning Olympic gold medals and what have you.  We weren't meant to do this to ourselves.  We were created so wonderfully unique.  Why do we always think we have to fit into someone else's mold?

When I post a status update or blog or share an article, I am giving a small snapshot of myself.  It doesn't represent the big picture.  I feel like if I share successes or victories (large or small), I'm bragging.  If I share struggles or difficulties, I'm admitting failure.  If I ask for prayer, I'm being self-serving.  If I laugh at the expense of my kids, I'm being defamatory. These things, of course, are not true, but I can see where others might view them in this light.  Because that's what I do.

I can attempt to be transparent all day, but at the end of it, I've still only provided a snapshot.  I don't want to misrepresent myself.  Who I am cannot be described in 144 characters, even several times a day.  As much as it pains this introvert to say it, what I need, what I crave, are friends with whom I can be completely honest about my shortcomings and my successes.  Friends who care to know the good, the bad, and the ugly.  Instead, what I find I mostly have are Facebook interactions with people who haven't seen me in twelve years and with whom the only communication I've had is one of heated tone over what I thought was a fairly un-debate-worthy Facebook share.  How that happens, I don't even know. 

So what is the solution?  Grow thicker skin?  Turn off the computer?  Unfriend people I haven't seen face to face within the past couple of years?  Get over myself?  I don't know, probably all of the above.

I just don't want to spend my life misrepresented and misunderstood.  I think the only remedy for this is good, old-fashioned face time.  And not the app.  Real, live people.  Over coffee and chocolate.  I've got the good stuff.  Come on over.

Do you struggle with any of this?  What do you do?  And please ignore the irony of me seeking wisdom from my internet friends. 


April Thornton said...

When? We'll be there. :)

Mindi said...

I do this all the time. For example, it seems fun and spontaneous to post a picture in your swimming suit with your sissy on vacation in AZ away from the five degree blizzard conditions you left in IL. Later comes the regret, like wait, I'm a school employee, wait, I am 36, wait, am I over-sharing, WHY DID I POST A PICTURE IN MY SWIMMING SUIT?!?! That was just a recent one where I am fearful of how I was judged. Political posts tie me in knots and I struggle whether to respond. When I post pictures of my kids I worry if i am over-representing one kid and neglecting having the other one's mug on FB, then I worry if I should ever post kid pics on there, because what if there's a freaky creeper on my page?!?!/ Anyways, I can relate. How do I deal??? By trying to do what you call "being transparent". I call it being genuine. I talk myself through the little worryworryworry moments but reminding myself it's truly the small things in life how others judge me on FB. At that moment last weekend in AZ basking in the sun with my sister I was blissful, and I wished to share it with the FB world. Bottom line. Whenever I get a chance to catch one of your blog posts I really enjoy it, Jennie. Also, you seem so much more real than a lot of the people posting and judging on FB.

Debbie said...

If I leave right now, I can be there in about 2/12 hours. Get the chocolate ready. I can hold a baby and snarf chocolate at the same time. I'm a multi tasker like that.

You know that I could have written every single word of this, right? I would love to tell you that it automatically gets better with age, but at 52-rific years old, I still struggle. I had to remove myself from facebook and keep only family as my *friends*. In blogs, I had to stop following some because they brought out the worst version of me. They might not have known it, but I did.

I probably shouldn't admit this to the www, but I actually started keeping a notebook on my desk. When I find myself with unhealthy feelings (of a variety of sorts) while online, I write down where I had been surfing and what prompted the feeling. It's my lame attempt to pinpoint the triggers and learn to avoid or manage them.

As I said, I probably should be embarrassed to admit that, but it's true.

Sharon said...

I have never joined Facebook. And, for some of the very same reasons that you have listed. My husband and I are very conscious (and protective) of our privacy, so that was one reason. But, I was seriously wary of the frou-frou tendency of everyone to make themselves look oh-so-perfect. Phooey - I don't have time for perfect people. (Ooo...where did THAT come from?!)

So, for me, I have actually found that my blog is a place that I am transparent, vulnerable, honest - a place to share the good, the bad, AND the ugly. And I have found it freeing. Might I also add that I have actually found a community of others who also "tell it like it is."

So, for me, Blog Land has been a place of positivity. Maybe it's because I try to focus on God, and on how HE impacts my little corner of the world. Lord knows (literally) if I made it all about me, I'd probably un-friend myself!!


(By the way, I loved the photo of the kiddos in a recent post - they are growing so fast. But, still and always, they are adorable).

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