A social life, curated

Social media is such a lie, and I am such a liar.

It has been nine months since I posted to my blog, and it’s not because I ran out of things to say.

Ask anyone and they’ll tell you that I have two super powers, and one is never running out of things to say, ever. In fact, I can carry on both sides of every conversation without even pausing for breath.

I talk everywhere, and to anyone. Trying to get some work done? Big deal! I had a hilarious thought! Just about to make an important phone call? Yeah, but wait until you hear this!

I’ve always had a lot to say, but what I say, and what I share (especially on social media) has always been carefully curated. The moments in which I’m absent or silent are the moments that I don’t have the capacity for curating. If I had posted to my blog three or four months ago I would have shared thoughts and feelings that I would have immediately regretted.

I would have risked opening myself up to sympathy, pity, and criticism at a time when judgement was the last thing I needed, and pity would have driven me insane.

And I’m not that brave.

So I stopped writing because I didn’t want to run the risk I’d write something I’d regret — something I couldn’t delete.

But then I looked back over the past several months of my social media posts, only to realize I had been talking. I had been talking quite often, but the conversations I shared were so carefully manufactured that they were almost outright lies.

“Look at my life,” those posts cried out, “it’s full of sunny days, big smiles, fitness, family, friends, vacations, and very merry Christmases.”

Truthfully? That’s garbage. This fortieth year has been the most difficult of my life.

Brick by brick, I’m putting myself back together. But the trauma this year has brought has forever changed the way I am, the way I see myself, the world, and probably the way I write.

The lies we tell on social media aren’t intentional, or malicious. We’re all just constructing the stories we want to read. The stories aren’t always true, but we want them to be, we can imagine they are, and there’s comfort in that.

Here’s to 2019. A year of great stories, and greater honesty, openness and bravery. And to greater recognition that behind every perfect and hilarious social media post there is someone with an untold story who is working very hard to build herself back up again, brick by heavy brick.


A message from the universe

There are a number of etiquette rules one must follow while using a public restroom, and those rules are compounded when that public restroom is in your place of work, and shared with your colleagues.

Rule No. 1: Double flush. If/when you absolutely must go No. 2 while at work, get rid of the evidence as best you can. Public sanitation systems have never been so sophisticated — take advantage of them!

Rule No. 2: Wash your hands. It’s the right thing to do.

Rule No. 3: Refrain from taping inspirational messages and motivational thoughts to the toilet seat.

 I arrived in the ladies the other day to find that The Universe had gone out of its way to type out a note, print it, and tape it crookedly to the underside of the toilet lid. The note read:20180306_205454_resized

Give thanks that your life is exactly as it is.
Decide that 2018 will be the happiest year of your life yet.
Follow your heart and instincts down new paths.
– The Universe

“Hey, thanks, Universe, but I’m going to have an accident, so before I follow my heart, I’m going to follow my bladder,” I thought to myself.

Job done, hands washed, I went back to my office and considered this message. It got under my skin.

This wasn’t the first time I’ve stumbled upon something unpleasant in the bathroom but it was the first time The Universe had attempted to connect with me in this space. There’s usually always some messaging in public bathrooms. Sometimes, the messages are simple, “WASH YOUR HANDS,” and, “OUT OF ORDER.” Sometimes, the messages are more complicated. Last month I learned how to identify someone in the midst of an overdose, and where to inject Naloxone for best results, all while going pee.

But in this place of bathroom business, I’m not open to messages from The Universe; I am here because I have a job to do. Sometimes, that job is unpleasant. Always, that job is brief. In this space, often scented with the efforts of previous occupants, I try not to linger. I barely breathe; there’s no time to give thanks, follow my heart or consider new paths.

Put more bluntly, if The Universe were a person, it would be standing on my doorstep, handing me a Watchtower pamphlet while my dinner boiled over on the stove.

Your timing, Universe, was extremely poor.

There are other places in which I’d be more receptive to The Universe’s machinations. The doctor’s office for instance, as I’m captive here. When I’m not staring at my phone, I’m usually just eyeing up posters of anatomy, which are educational, but if The Universe opted to post its message beside the male reproductive system, I’d probably spare it a glance.

The Universe may also wish to reconsider method of delivery. Paper and tape might have been OK years ago when there weren’t so many other messages competing for our attention, but these days, it would be wise to investigate podcasts, maybe run some promotions through social media, or even try to crack its audience through a clever billboard, or a nicely situated bus stop bench.

All of these options would be more permanent and less irritating than the paper and tape, which is easily chucked into to the trash, or wadded up to use in place of paper towel. Or worse.