There are two things that make me feel uneasy when I see them on Social Media (aside from hatred, violence, abuse, intolerance, and things that would rightfully make one feel uneasy). The first is 100 day challenges. 30 day challenges. One day challenges. Any challenge whatsoever. The second is posts about how people try to make everything look picture perfect on Social Media.
Challenges make me squirm. I don't like being told what to do and I don't like recurring commitments. Admittedly, not my best qualities. If I were my therapist, I would guess that taking on challenges translates as yet another way to let myself (or others) down and I hate letting people down, so no challenges. Easy peasy.
I hold authenticity with such high esteem that it sometimes gets me in trouble. Sometimes, a girl doesn't need to say what's on her mind, you know? Sometimes she does. Sometimes it's a fine line. When I see a post about how "we" try so hard to show our best angles on Facebook or Instagram, I feel prickly. I consciously try to be real with what I share (I even wrote a rather raw book about GRIEF, of all things!), and choosing to acknowledge and celebrate the brighter moments in my life doesn't feel like curating to me, but I get it.
I know posts about trying to make things look perfect make me uneasy because they cause me to wonder about the stories I'm telling about my life on Social Media. And, I get that when I'm having a bad day or just a day, and I see all the "life is perfect" posts on Facebook, I can feel like a complete loser because my life is not perfect. I love my life. It has taken me a long time to feel safe admitting that. It is a lovely life and it is far from perfect. I know nobody's life is truly perfect, but there is this sense that maybe somebody has it all figured out when she posts a photo of all her people smiling like angels at the camera and my people scowl at me when I ask them to smile.
Theodore Roosevelt said, "Comparison is the thief of joy."
He is right and most of us are quick to compare, especially when someone else appears to have the answers we are seeking.
With that, I give you 100 Days of Light.
Yep, I am taking on a 100 day challenge. And the intention behind it is to share the story behind the story. The real story, not just the one you see in the picture.
Choosing the light - the sunshine, the rainbows, the smiles, or the celebrations - doesn't always come easy to me. When I was a little girl I read a lot. I had an active imagination. I more or less lived with one foot in reality and the rest of me in a daydream. I preferred the daydreams - the Secret Gardens and the doors to Narnia. I'd take fairies and angels and portals to other lands over my everyday reality any chance I had. I was shy, but mostly smiley and happy as a kid. Around the end of eighth grade the portals closed. People had become accustomed to me being happy so I kept wearing that smile. It was more of a mask though. I was often dying on the inside. Navigating life was hard for me. My feelers are hardwired for maximum feeling capacity. I was born to feel the feels and that's cool, except I didn't know how to feel them when I was younger. I did know how to smile and to pretend that everything was okay.
Much later, in the last several years or so, I found that everything could only be okay for me, if I stopped pretending. I learned to feel. It's still not easy! I am committed to being true to myself though and to do that I must feel. Sometimes it's a struggle, like a wrestling match kind of struggle, and sometimes it's not. It varies. It can be SCARY! But when the feelings have bubbled up and out of me, I can make a choice about where to go from there.
I try to choose the light.
Since I've begun to feel, I can honestly say that I appreciate the sunshine and rainbow moments in a much different way. I find them in places that were previously hidden. Since I am being honest though, I will share that lately the sunshine and rainbow moments have been less clear to me. The air is heavy with election drama and trauma, with hate, with fear, and dread. I can feel it all around me and my kids are feeling it too. Even if you don't watch the news and do unfollow unsavory posts on Facebook, the reality that we are living in trying times is hard to avoid. It's challenging for a big feeler girl like me. I want to choose the light and yet the space between feels is getting smaller. So, this is my challenge: to find the light. To share the light. Ultimately, to be the light I want to see in the world.
Be the change you want to see in the world - Mahatma Gandhi
Will you join me? Again, I'm not advocating for avoiding the darkness altogether. I'm saying: GO THERE. But let's not stay there. Let's not stew there. Let's feel all of it, hold it, wrestle it, and turn it around and around, and THEN make a choice about what to do next. Maybe sit with it a little longer? Maybe integrate it into action? Maybe let that shit go.
I'll be posting on Instagram for 100 days (seriously? holy crap!). I may use filters because they are so fun. Actually, I'm not going to make a lot of rules because rules...make me squirm. My practice will be to share a moment in my day that feels like light to me and in the caption I will talk about why. Almost as simple as avoiding a challenge altogether.
I think I'm going to appreciate the breath of fresh air in all this heaviness I've been feeling. Please jump in if you feel called.
OH! Also, this idea was inspired by the fabulous Christianne Squires at Bookwifery She has been celebrating her launch with 100 Days of Love Notes for Writers! She sheds such beautiful light on the process of writing. I love her words and her work. Check her out.
With loving kindness, xo
#100daysoflight #gowherethelightis #bethechange #bethelight