Behind the Filter: Social Media Perfection vs. the Internal Monologue

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It’s a funny world we are living in right now. We all know we were tied to our phones and social media before the events of the past 18 months. But while in isolation, social media wasn’t just where your friends posted their kids’ back-to-school pictures; it was where you found out exactly how much everyone was accomplishing. That maybe you weren’t.

I have to say that I’m not an overachiever mom. I barely make it through the day sometimes, only to crash into my bed at night emotionally and physically exhausted. And this space is really the only place I share these emotions (well, here and with my therapist!).

But my personal social media page is “pretty.” It’s definitely a snapshot of everything happy going on in my life, with a filter that makes my vegan avocado pesto pasta look like perfection.

Typically though, all of those pictures were taken in a house that was too messy, with a mom who was too stressed, and with kids who I caught in the 30 seconds between bickering matches.

My page definitely looks like I’m the overachiever that I most definitely am not. Because what I put out to the world is the best version of myself. Some days, it might not even be me at all, but just the version I want to portray.

Why do we do this? Maybe I do it because I don’t want my social media to be a bummer. I don’t want people to think I complain all the time or that I’m not grateful for what I have. But we have to remember that the social media world is largely a fantasy. On a computer screen that shows perfect banana bread and play dates on a manicured lawn, it’s so hard to remember that everyone has their “stuff.”

Even when we have it pretty good in life, we still have those moments during the day when we want to scream, to have five minutes to ourselves, and not to have anyone touching us or asking us for a snack.

As I was pondering this thought about how authentic my page is, while I knew I would continue to take pictures of the “happy,” I would also think about the (sometimes intrusive) thoughts behind those scenes.

Here you have it…behind the filter: What I post on social media right next to my thoughts as I posted it.

Sometimes I do post the mess, although it’s usually in my stories. It’s ironic if you think about it. Stories last for 24 hours. I don’t ponder about my stories, but I carefully choose and filter my permanent posts.

Maybe it’s because I choose to keep the good stuff.

I know the hard stuff happened. I’m not going to forget when my kid cracked her head open and needed eight stitches. But after a day of work, and cooking, and screaming children, sometimes that reminder that some of the most content moments of my life were the ones I chose to share.

Maybe I’ll look back through my feed, and I won’t see the self-doubt, the worry, the fighting, or any other little problem that happened that day. Or maybe I will, and I’ll realize that all the not-so-great stuff was really overshadowed by so much good. I hope that’s what I’ll remember from these pictures. And as I continue to work on my mental health, I know that internal monologue will change.

We all need to keep positive, so I think I’ll keep sharing the good stuff. Those fleeting hard times can keep their place in my disappearing stories.

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Charity is originally from CT, but grew up in New Hampshire. She returned to CT in 2000 for college, and currently resides in Monroe with her husband (married in 2011) and three children (A son born in 2012 and identical twin daughters born in 2017). Charity works part time as a Speech-Language Pathologist for the CT Birth to Three system. She thinks it's the best of both worlds because she gets to work in a job she loves (and needs to pay off those hefty grad school loans!) and be home a few days a week with her children. Charity enjoys theatre, and brings her son often. She's also a big fan of coffee, reality TV, and essential oils. You can follow her personal blog at: www.coldfoodandcarpools.wordpress.com.

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