Want to see something I love?
It’s such a pretty memory – my handsome groom and I surrounded my friends, in a lovely hotel, enjoying a toast during our reception. I’ve always thought this photo is so classy and elegant. It was a beautiful reality!
You want to see something the embarrasses me?
That’s my thirteen year old minivan parked next to a brand new Mercedes. Another reality of my life.
You see, the hydraulic things that hold the door up don’t work when its really cold out. When I need to put the groceries in the car in freezing temperatures, I use this shovel to prop it open.
More than once I have been in the parking garage by Trader Joes and received a chuckle or stare by some person heading in to the fancy gym nearby.
Want to know why we don’t fix it?
Because my husband is a teacher at a small Catholic school. It provides what we need, but for extras we need to make decisions. We need to decide if a trunk that gets opened just once a week on a vehicle that we will likely be selling for next to nothing in the next year or two will get a costly repair so that for a few cold months we won’t need to prop it up… You can see what a no-brainer this is.
But it still embarrasses me.
Sometimes when I hit the publish button on a post I feel silly, too. Like my smoothie recipe last week… I see all of these talented food bloggers who post gorgeous, brightly lit photos of staged ingredients, and the best I had was this shadowy photo with a cheap blender.
It’s not that I don’t care… I just am doing the best I can with the time and tools I have. I have a poorly lit kitchen. I did this while the girls were by my side, both refusing to nap that afternoon.
Not only do I not have essentially any natural skill for design and staging, but I have to relegate our time carefully. So while I want to learn more about photography… a cool close up shot of various ingredients wistfully scattered across a hunk of marble isn’t happening at this time in my life. (Maybe one day I’ll get there!)
I Still Have It Good (And I Bet You Do Too)
I love social media. (Probably way too much…) But sometimes everything is so beautiful it makes me feel embarrassed at my humbler reality. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not begrudging those who have more/nicer/prettier/better things or more talent than I do. People work hard and if they’re able to have the Instaperfect house I’m honestly happy for them! But sometimes I let comparison steal my joy, and I shouldn’t.
The nicer house, better clothes, newer car, more skillfully executed photos, or anything else others have don’t need to be considered unauthentic, either. If those things are part of someone’s reality how wonderful for them! I can enjoy that beauty and be inspired by it, while still owning the reality of my own life for all that it is, and being grateful for my own beauty. (And I also remind myself that no one’s entire life is perfect… we just are seeing snapshots of the good usually!)
Being authentic online is going to look different for everyone because we all have something different going on. Someone could look at my professional wedding, maternity, and newborn photos online and think things are always far more glamorous around here than they really are. They might not know about the shovel propping up the van door…
But I am still so blessed.
That old mini-van of mine is loaded with a spread of delicious, nourishing food that millions of impoverished and starving people only dream about.
That shadowy kitchen is in an apartment that someone who is homeless would be proud to hold the keys to.
And the steady teaching job of many years that pays for all of this I am sure would be the envy of many an unemployed person who would give anything to have stable work in a profession they love.
I still feel embarrassed when I prop that shovel up in the van on grocery shopping day, but sharing it here makes me feel better. I am owning it, being authentic!
Now if you would excuse me, I think I need to go pray my Litany of Humility and thank God for my blessings.