A few weeks back, I was having a very bad day. I was tired, overwhelmed, hungry and in a rush. Rather than spend time making myself a nutritious lunch, I scrambled around in the fridge to find something quick and easy to eat; success! A vegan pasta salad left over from the day before that I could eat straight out of the container it came in. I rushed to grab a fork, tripping over in the process and proceeded to dump the entire contents of the bowl onto my kitchen floor.
I looked at the pile of pasta and sticky mayonnaise sauce splattered on the lino tiles, noticing single pieces of sweet corn that had flown as far away as to land underneath the kitchen table, taunting me in their rebellion. I thought about crying or wailing in frustration. Then I sighed. I made a split-decision and continued to the drawer to select a fork. I then proceeded to kneel down on the floor and eat the pasta anyway, one piece at a time (checking for bits of dirt as I went), directly off the floor.
It wasn't my finest moment (and don't worry I thankfully didn't suffer any horrific food poisoning as a consequence) but I simply had no energy to find something else to eat. I didn't even have the strength in me to scrape the food back into the bowl. The most energy-saving and least time-consuming option available to me was eating it directly from the floor, like a dog. So that's what I did.
As I was in the midst of my meal, I couldn't help but chuckle and think to myself 'now these aren't the moments that you see on social media'. In fact, I even thought to myself that, if my phone didn't happen to be in another room (far too far away for me to consider wasting precious energy on going to pick it up), I would have taken a photo of the splatter and shared it online. It would have been nice to be able to contribute a tiny slice of honesty to my little corner of the internet.
Then I realised that this is precisely why we don't see more of these moments online. Yes, perhaps there are some individuals out there who choose to curate the way their life is viewed online to smooth out the creases and only reveal the most flattering angles, the most impressive successes and most jealousy-inducing experiences. Most likely, we're all just eating our lunch off the floor in a moment of despair, utterly incapable of taking a few extra seconds to take photographic evidence of the mess in order to be 'truthful and authentic' online later on. In moments like these, it is all we can do to simply survive the moment, let alone remember to document it.
So, the next time you find yourself having a bad day, or endlessly scrolling social media looking for connection and instead finding jealousy, self-loathing and sadness, remember this: at some point recently these people have had a bad moment. And that moment was so bad that they didn't have the capacity to capture it, let alone share it with you. So when we look at these little squares or little videos of picture perfect moments, we see them as snippets of light blasting through between the floor-kneeling despair of reality in between. And maybe have a little giggle and remember to give ourselves a lot of a break.
We're all doing the best we can.
Life can be really tough and perhaps having a place where we all share the bits that we are nailing, rather than the bits that are going wrong, is a beautiful thing. It doesn't have to be dishonest or bad. Just because we choose to turn our faces to the sun and focus on his warmth, doesn't mean we are ignoring the existence of the moon and her darkness. Both are required to live a full, balanced life. But life is definitely a little easier with warmth on our cheeks and lightness in our hearts.
Be kind to yourselves today and every day. And if you're having a bad day, just remember that this too shall pass. Pick up your fork and eat that pasta anyway.