When I was (much) younger, my parents would always listen to a segment on the radio by a gentleman named Paul Harvey. He always ended his piece by saying “and now you know the rest of the story”…his tag line. As a child, it was his voice that engaged me. With maturity, I paid more attention to the story details…and became interested in how you would be captured initially, but caught up in the twist at the end. It left you thinking.
You thought you knew what was going on until you realized you really didn’t.
I’ve been thinking lately about the prevalence of this concept…especially given the instaneous nature of communication in these times. Social media is at the heart of so much of our day…and also the reason we are becoming so caught up in other people’s lives and less rooted in our own. Our judgement of ourselves and others, many times, is on overdrive. We are comparing and examining and ruminating and wondering because of snapshots in time that are captured and posted.
I am so guilty of this. I cannot log onto Facebook without a thought popping into my head because of what I’m reading or seeing. I often log off a little too preoccupied with the fact that I’m in my pyjamas at 8pm on a Friday evening. Or that my supper of intense Dorito dill pickle chips may not have been the wisest choice after seeing the healthy quinoa salad that my friend Binky has made for her and 30 of her closest friends (one of which is NOT me).
Or I will begin to judge my parenting. Or my ability to do yoga. Or how the shrubs in the front of my house are looking pretty sickly and not at all like the beautiful fall foliage in some backyards.
And by then the train has left the station with me on it and it’s a WILD ride of self judgement and criticism. It’s so easy to go there…effortless. One button.
Then I clue in. Awareness hits and I’m seeing how ridiculous I am. I’ve let everything about my world get mangled up in what I’m “thinking” things “should” be like because of some input I’m getting from a news feed. I realize I don’t know what’s going on behind everyone else’s closed doors. And I realize no one does.
That a snap shot of time is exactly that. One moment. And we truly have no idea what the other 99% is like. We are seeing a sliver.
I posted a photo a few months ago and received many wonderful comments on it. It’s a sweet photo. It’s a moment in time.
“She’s looking at me…she picked my flower I wanted, she touched my flower, I’m hot, I’m tired, I want water, tell her to stop touching me, a bug just bit me”
And, in a moment, I just happened to catch this second of silence where my older daughter reached out to my little one and held her hand.
I remember that day well. I was tired. My life was in a little chaos. My children were going at each other like Donald and Hilary. Yet I wonder how many people on my Facebook feed looked at that photo and thought:
“She’s got her shit together. Out walking with her sweet little kids holding hands and picking flowers. She’s probably got an organic free range chicken in the oven for supper”
Now I just try to be aware. I love social media for its connection. I’ll continue to use it and watch it be used. Yet I am becoming quicker at stopping my own train of silly thought because I realize that I don’t know the rest of the story when I see a moment in time. None of us do.