The public persona of social media… and the demons they bring out.

I love Facebook and social media. I love the power that it has harnessed to bring people together – find long lost friends, share with people half a world away, make it feel like you never missed a step. I love blogs that let people share stories and inspire people, sowing love and peace.

But I really dislike how much self-hatred it can impose. You see all the amazing vacation photos and blog posts about how awesome life is – you’re friends with the supermom! You know – the woman who works full time, has three kids under the age of 7, hand makes the birthday party invitations for 35 people, weighs 123 pounds soaking wet, decorates her home for every holiday, has a successful (at least from what you can see) marriage, has time to Instagram every meal, professional family portraits done on a regular basis, and just overall has the life we all just wish we could have?

It makes me feel terrible, sitting here, staring at the dishes on my desk as I type, looking at the Christmas lights we never bothered to take down in the living room (Okay, okay, I’ll admit it – we didn’t take them down because we liked the way they look where they are!). My one child went to bed in her clothes because I was to tired to fight with her to take them off.

A group I am in on Facebook is 8,000 members strong. It’s a place to talk about being healthy – physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually, and any other form of health out there. It’s an awesome group. Super supportive, full of positive energy, and a very safe place to open up to the people about health successes and failures, challenges and obstacles, and come up with a plan to over come those. I consider myself a relatively healthy eater – I could definitely make a few changes, but all in all, I don’t snack much anymore, I don’t drink as much soda as I used to, I make a conscious effort to move around my office more, though my job can be relatively sedentary if I let it be. My mom even told me once recently (and for anyone who knows me and my relationship with my mother around the topic of my weight and health knows how huge this is) that she doesn’t think my physical health has anything to do with my eating habits, as she has seen the way I eat and doesn’t think the two are related.  And yet, when I look at this group I am in, rather than feeling uplifted, I become depressed about all the issues I’m not resolving. Today I got home from work, and rather than doing anything productive or helping my husband with the recent home renovation he started, I fell asleep on the couch. Not because I was lazy, but because I had just come home from swimming 26 laps at the local pool and was exhausted.

It just feels like in order to get the life I want, I have to give up the life I want. I don’t understand how to make the puzzle pieces fit.

A plan for the New Year

thWe all come up with resolutions of things we’re going to do when the new year rolls around. Sometimes we acknowledge them, sometimes we don’t. But the truth is, somewhere in our minds is a little voice saying we should or shouldn’t do something new in the new year.

My list of things this year is very realistic, I think. But I wanted to share them anyway, because it’s easier to stay accountable to things if people know they’re there. So, here is my list for 2014:

1. Read more. I want to spend, at a minimum, 20 minutes a day reading.

2. Facebook less. I don’t need to spend the entire evening on Facebook. There are so many other things I could be doing. (See #1, #3, #4, etc.)

3. Write more. Whether that means a fanfiction I’ve been working on, a blog post, or just journaling, I need to do more of it.

4. Learn more. I’ve wanted to take a photography class, a pottery class, and some other kind of class fora while. I need to do it….

5. Put more money in my savings account. This needs to be one of the first things I do each time I get paid. It needs to be on par with the car payment.

6. Start going for more walks. Okay, this probably will wait until the weather warms up a bit. I live in a great neighborhood for walking though, so I need to just do it. I enjoy it, so I have no excuses.

7. Stop going out for lunch as often at work. This kind of goes hand in hand with putting more money in my savings account, but this is something that is easy to fix. I just need to buckle down and do it.

8. Finish my knitting projects. Really. No starting any new ones until I polish off at least two or three of the current works in progress.

That’s it! I know, they’re not exciting, but they are realistic. What are some of your goals for 2014??

Take pictures. Hang them on the fridge next to the spelling test.

Tonight, and, on average, three times a year, I make the pilgrimage to the school my husband teaches band at to see and hear their concerts. I don’t really know any of the kids in the band or the chorus, but my husband has been teaching at the same school for over 10 years, so it’s always fun to visit and see how the different groups perform.

These kids are really talented, and they’ve worked really hard to put out quality performances. The teachers have worked really hard with the students to teach them both proper performance technique and music skills (which, as an aside, has been shown to improve scores in the rest of their education). No, it’s not going to be a professional caliber performance by any means – they are kids, after all. They are showcasing all they have learned, all they know how, and quite possibly learning how to overcome stage fright, anxiety, peer pressure, and so on.

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