Are you on Instagram? If you are, look for me. You’ll rarely see a selfie (I think I have two) or anything resembling perfection. I love beautiful scenery so you’ll mostly see that.
To be frank, I don’t present as perfect on social media, which probably makes me unpopular. Hence the dismal followers.
You see, I have a problem.
I simply do not know how to show off a peacock’s feathers. I know life is hard and that the older I get the more of an uphill battle I’ll face. Grief. Loss. Illness. It’s all a part of my reality. And I’m learning how to embrace it.
Part of being yourself means accepting the part of you that’s not like everyone else. It’s swallowing the pride of needing to take medication for your illness or excusing yourself from a party because your introverted or hypersensitive side doesn’t like it. It means leaving early when you’ve got your tummy problems or your anxiety won’t let you to stay up all night in a crowd of people. It means your life doesn’t look Facebook ready or Instagram perfect.
It takes a little bit of grieving. It’s grieving that perfect ideal person you were raised to believe was attainable. It’s grieving the part of you who always thought you could be like that girl in high school that never broke a sweat.
But once we let go of that fantasy of perfection, we’re better equipped to embrace the life we have.
As someone who juggles writing, kids, and multiple chronic illnesses, I know how hard it is to watch the world sip margaritas poolside in their skinny bikinis publishing their fifth bestsellers and kissing the heads of their high accomplishing kids. I know it because I feel it too.
When illness breaks me and I have just enough energy to lie down, I’ll watch the world on social media and envy the freedom health brings. And I forgive myself for that. I know what it’s like to wish that you could be someone else or borrow another person’s life for a day. I know what it’s like to see someone pass by laughing and wish you could experience that lightness and joy when your world feels heavy and gray.
But when everything is taken away from you, you still have a choice.
On the dreariest of days, I can still find simple ordinary moments of gratitude. If I could capture these amazing miracles, that’s what I’d post on Instagram.
- To take in a deep breath.
- To kiss the head of my sleeping child.
- To rest.
- To have hope for wellness.
- To look forward to tomorrow.
- To tackle a to-do list.
- To have dreams.
- To feel loved.
- To be near the ocean.
- To write.
When you’re smothered in envy, create your own list. And don’t just write it down, close your eyes and feel the beauty of each thing on it. If we don’t take the time to appreciate what we have when we have it, we might lose it one day.
Take it from someone who often pines for days without an inhaler or dreaming without the realistic limitations that come with health conditions.
It’s hard right now. And you can have time to grieve that. But when it’s really hard remember too there are blessings hidden in your whole life.
If you were to post an ordinary unglamorous thing you’re grateful for, what would that picture look like?