You know, that person has really disordered eating. Look at what she posts on Instagram. I think she might be anorexic.
I can’t believe they are getting divorced. I am friends with her on Facebook and she always acted like everything was fine.
That person is such a jerkface. Did you see what he posted about X?
For months, I’ve seen articles that say Facebook makes people depressed because people post happy things and then it makes other people feel bad that they don’t have the same happy things.
This is silly. Know why? Every person curates their life to some degree on social media. Unless you have a 24-hour web cam monitor and you are reciting all of your thoughts, there are some things that you decide to share and some things you don’t.
This shouldn’t surprise people because this happens in our offline lives too. I do not tell complete strangers all of the personal details of my life [most of the time]. Remember social graces? Most people use them to some degree in offline life, so it shouldn’t surprise us when they are used online too. Some people complain nonstop online and they likely do it offline too. Some people paint a really positive picture of their lives, but they might have issues that they are struggling with and don’t talk about publicly. Then the people who complain a lot can grumble about the really positive people and studies about Facebook are completed and shared on Facebook.
For reasons that I don’t fully understand, when people live even a piece of their lives online, others often expect that they can know every detail and to offer opinions and unfettered judgments.
I self-censor and curate. A lot. Easy example: Here’s a not-so-secret – I curse. A lot. I don’t curse much online though for a number of reasons.
- Most important, I was getting a lot of really weird searches that made me kind of uncomfortable from the curses. Things that I don’t think are legal. Because certain words would appear in blog posts together, google was all, yeah, this works. And I was all, no google, this is not what they were looking for. Ew.
- It offends some people. I know who I am talking to offline and can determine the appropriate word selections. Here, I don’t know who is reading. I would prefer to startle you with cat photos than PG-13 language.
- I don’t want to give clients and contractors the wrong impression. Yup, I know that people I work with read here on occasion and I don’t want people to form opinions about the company based on my ramblings.
- Have I mentioned the searches? Because, for real, some of that stuff was not cool. (You may notice that I never refer to the cats as nudists anymore. Again, things got weird with the searches.)
Some people curse with zeal online. To a point where, like I feel about Detective Debra Morgan, I appreciate their fine wordplay and creative combinations.
I photoshop my pics because I am self-conscious about wrinkles or, occasionally, a zit. I carefully select which pics I like from about 25 before you see a bump pic. I try to use the ones where I look pleasant and nice, even if I am miserable and exhausted. I don’t talk about my husband much and there are a lot of people who have no idea that I have stepkids. All on purpose. All part of the curation process.
I’ve also written about how I don’t intend to write much about the baby on this blog. You’ll still get posts about parenting from my perspective, I’m sure, but I want him to have the opportunity to decide what his online story is going to be. He can be his own online curator, not me.
But there are other aspects of my life that I stopped talking about out of fear. Fear of judgment. Fear of criticism. Fear of being called out by people who don’t like me. The number one area is food.
I work in a very specific niche that involves a whole lot of very healthy people who don’t touch sugar or gluten or anything processed. For them, if they are happy with it, awesome. For me, not my thing. Here’s another not-secret – I like junk food. I like candy. I like ice cream. I like cool ranch doritos. I like the spicy chicken sandwich at Wendy’s. I like In-N-Out. I also like fish. And veggies. And eggs. My eating, like a lot of people’s, runs the full spectrum of options.
But, sometimes, if I mentioned, in my carefully curated online streams, that I was eating certain things, I would get lectures. From other grown ups. Who apparently don’t approve of what I’m eating and feel the need to tell me about what I’m doing wrong. Sometimes, emails. On how people could help me improve what I was doing. When I didn’t seek out help.
This is probably due to a couple of things. When I was having gallbladder issues and they weren’t yet diagnosed, I had massive GI issues and tried everything. Gluten-free, dairy-free, you name it. I asked for help in all sorts of places, so people probably got used to giving me advice when I was seeking it. Then, I was fine after the surgery and the food intolerances were no longer an issue. For the most part, I started eating “normal” food again. Also, it’s simply the area in which I work. People have found all different paths to their own success and they want to help other people achieve the same things. I applaud them for it, but there are times when things can cross a line.
Today, I saw this blog post about how we have to stop with the food police. I read it and said, bravo. I shared it on Facebook and loved the responses.
I’m going to continue carefully curating my life online. (Please don’t ask me my bra size while pregnant. The answer is huge. Utterly giant. That’s all I want to say about it.) But I am done with the food police. I encourage everyone to be willing to talk about it a little more and maybe we can move past thinking that everyone should eat do exactly the same thing when it comes to food, diet and exercise.
[This is random and scattered. But I have been thinking about it and wanted to get the words out of my head. Plus, there is a new issue of Real Simple waiting, so I can write the greatest post ever OR I can read the greatest magazine on earth. It's all about balance, my friends.]