Through the Insta-Glass, and What Manda Found There

What’s up docs? It’s been awhile, I know, I know…I could lie and tell you that I’ve been super busy and productive and just haven’t had time to pop out a quick post, but that would be untrue, and I’ll be damned if I’ll lie to you my people…unless it’s about where I was last Thursday at 2:37pm. I was not in the conservatory with the candlestick – or was I?? I’ll never tell.

For reals though, I haven’t really been that busy the last couple of weeks. I (mostly) kept my promise to clean up my Hoarding Room, binge-watched five and a half seasons of Scandal, did some laundry, played some Candy Crush, and managed to catch myself a seriously killer cold – it’s like Michael Myers in flu-form; that shit just will not die! I realize that while having a psychopathic-murderer-cold may be a perfectly good reason not to vlog, it doesn’t excuse my serious lack of blogging. So my apologies.

Actually, me feeling like death warmed over was my inspiration for this post. Here’s the 411: the hubs and I had a social function to attend on Saturday night. Social functions naturally being an instant cause for panic, being sick on top of it made me feel like I would rather stick needles filled with acid in my eyeballs than hit that shit. (Which, incidentally, I kinda did last Saturday which was the last day I felt passably healthy – fast food straws and moving vehicles don’t mix. You can find the pic on Instagram, if you’re so inclined.) This; however, was no ordinary social function that I could beg off at the last minute. It was a one year memorial Celebration of Life party for my hubby’s BFF. So kind of a big deal. Throw in a hundred or so people who I haven’t seen in all of that time and a possible hey-how-are-ya with the ex-wife (hubby’s not mine; that’s one thing I didn’t experiment with in college, pity) and you have yourself a serious case of Lorazepam withdrawal.

So what do I do? I decide that Friday night is the time to experiment with another thing I never tried in college – rag rolling. For those of you out there mouthing “WTF” at your screens right now, it’s not some oddly elaborate way to smoke weed. Not that I know of anyway. Try Google. The idea of rag rolling is basically just rolling your hair up in strips of fabric (I knew I kept all those mismatched pillowcases for a reason!) before you go to bed and waking up the next day with fabulously perfect curls. That’s in a perfect world. In my world, test driving a new hairstyle 18 hours before a big-deal soirée is a fine example of a fucking terrible idea. Let me just add here that I also decided to put in tape extensions, on Friday, which means I couldn’t wash my hair if it didn’t turn out. If you don’t know what the hell I’m talking about, I repeat; Google.

I’m taking awhile here but I do have a destination I’m chugging towards; it’s 5am right now and I’m slightly delirious but just hear me out, ok? So it’s Saturday afternoon, an hour before I have to leave, and I unroll my fabulously perfect curls. They’re like six fat sausages; I’m channeling Shirley Temple like a Long Island medium. And then I make the fatal mistake. I brush them. Because at the end of the day, I don’t want to look like Shirley-freaking-Temple, I want to look like Mila-freaking-Kunis. What I end up looking like instead is Sideshow Bob. It was bad. It was horrible. It was EPIC. Right away, of course, I snap a pic of this catastrophe and send it to my Mom, because I know I can go to her for comfort and she won’t laugh at me. Shyeah, and monkeys might fly outta my butt. Several laughing-so-hard-I’m-crying emojis and a tentative “Can you try to wet it?” later, I’m feeling utterly DIY-defective but I have to roll with it. Long-story-not-short, my hair turned out fine (seriously peeps, Google!) and after a couple ‘pams and a beer or two (seven?) I mostly forgot that I started the night looking like I stuck my finger in an electric socket.

So where am I going with all of this? The next day, as I scrolled through my photos, I saw that my cringe-worthy “before” pic was followed by a fantabulous “after” pic, taken for perspective after I had tamed the beast and painted my face because the sun was shining on the bathroom mirror and I wasn’t sure if I had on too much blush. I didn’t. I looked picture perfect. I instantly opened Instagram to document this moment, when I hesitated. I try to be somewhat sparing with the selfies. No Kim-K up in here; plus, I don’t like setting standards I may have to live up to on a regular basis when it comes to my appearance. FALSE ADVERTISING, say it with me kids.

This is what I looked like for one night. The hideous “before” picture that my mother laughed at is what I look like all the time. And I feel like that’s a lot of the problem. Social media is a bitch. I mean, seriously…all we see are the picture perfect moments that everyone posts. Nobody posts the before. All we see is the after. Do you ever scroll through Instagram or Facebook and think “Where did I go wrong? Why is everybody else’s life so goddamn perfect??” Well peeps, I’m about to let you in on possibly the worst-kept secret since Brangelina: it’s actually probably not.

Flawlessly filtered selfies, yoga on tropical beaches, table settings and holiday decorations that would make Martha Stewart herself hurl politely into her designer handbag. DIY everything, no fails allowed. Perfect husbands, perfect children, perfect jobs, perfect pets for fucks sake! No wonder we’re all depressed – who can live up to that?? Or maybe a better question, who actually lives like that? Not this girl, I can tell you that much, but it never occurred to me to post the before; Christ on a camel-toe, who does that? Who wants everyone to see the real deal? The daily grind? Nobody’s posting when the shit hits the fan; when the angelic toddler you’re so accustomed to seeing on Instagram making “I Love Mommy” art is laughing with maniacal glee as they flush the wedding rings down the toilet, when the hair doesn’t turn out perfectly, when the boss says “So long, and thanks for all the fish” because a robot does it better, when asses go over teakettles on the beach doing yoga because sand, because-okay, now I’m just raving.

But why would we post that stuff? We’re given a perfect platform to showcase the very best our lives have to offer to everyone we’ve ever known – why would we not? What could possibly go wrong? How about trying to live up to to not only everyone else’s expectations, but the ridiculous expectations you yourself have now given everybody about your life? I can’t even really talk because, according to my very own social media pages, everything’s comin’ up Manda. And let’s face it, if all everyone posted about was the mundane, soul-crushing tedium of this hellride called “life”, we’d all get bored pretty damn quick. Eeyore might get invited on all the adventures, but nobody’s lurking his Facebook page, amirite?

Maybe that’s why we do it…to show that life is not a constant hellride. That our souls are alive and kicking. That we’re actually having FUN. Maybe I’m looking too much into it; some people probably do it to be uppity dicks but whatevs – if being dickish floats your boat then who am I to sink it with my righteous indignation?

A dick. I’m probably a dick if I do that.

All dicking aside, if you ever start beating yourself up or wondering if the grass is really greener on the other side of the Insta-glass, try to remind yourself that it almost definitely isn’t. Is your life truly what you portray on the World Wide Web? I know mine isn’t. So “like” that perfectly iced cake, knowing that there are probably at least 10 not-so-perfect cakes in the past that never made it to Instagram. “Love” that flawless family photo, knowing that there are probably hundreds of unposted photos buried forever in the cloud that are definitely not flawless. Comment “So cute!” on the meticulously trained puppy who probably pissed on the rug five minutes ago…am I venturing into dick territory again? I feel like I am. I blame Mercury, this retrograde nonsense is making me a tad snippy. Plus I’m hangry.

You get the drift. Saying the life that most of us portray on social media is freely adapted would be like saying that an acid-filled needle to the eyeball may cause some slight discomfort.

Here is my destination: Don’t let the ‘gram get you down peeps – it’s a rabbit hole with no bottom. Don’t fall in.

M

*Note* I’m glad I waited until I slept for an hour or two to review this. I feel like maybe I’m being overly venomous with my opinion; some people probably do have close-to-perfect lives. And that’s ok. I’m not going to not post this though. I know people who have actually suffered from depression and anxiety caused by looking too hard in the social media mirror. This post is for them. To those of you living up to your social media profiles – I salute you. To those of you beating yourself up for not “living the dream”, know that you are not alone.

The ever-quotable Dr. Suess himself once said:

Today you are you, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is your than you.

And we all know better than to argue with doctors 😉

Be well peeps, xo