I have a love/hate relationship with the Beautiful People. I follow several BP on Instagram, and I love love love their pictures. There's the hippy awesome chick who free-ranges both her kids and her chickens. Her home is full of touchable textures and bright colors and creativity. There's the photographer mom of three under three (two adopted, one bio) who is so beautifully stylish and hip you'd hate her if she wasn't so sweet and positive. Her kids wear stylish, boutique-y clothes and her home is worldly and minimalistic. There's the yogi who posts amazing, strong, perfectly lit pictures of herself in insanely difficult poses, flanked by her adorable daughter. There's the 20 something who travels and reads and creates and posts pictures of herself that get picked up by Gap, just because she's just that adorable.
I know. Social media most often is the best of ourselves. Honestly, I love that. Coming from a small town full of gossips, I love having control over how much people see, and I love finding the "perfect" to showcase. Sometimes though, it hits me sideways. The other day, a running friend posted pictures from an informal race we all did together. It was pirate themed and I rocked my striped compression socks and bandanna. It was far from my best race, but I loved being out there with a bunch of other moms who have nothing in common excepts kids and racing and who are the biggest cheerleaders I've ever met. This is a group of women that I sought out and became one of in my quest to actually be better, stronger, more. For an introvert, seeking out groups like this is a BFD.
So the picture pops up. I have a HUGE grin on my face as we're walking toward the starting line. But what I see in the picture is not the smile on my face. I see the stretch marks on my arms. I see how much shorter I am than everyone else. I see how the bandanna resulted in an awful lot of face that could have used at least a little make-up. I see my stupid running belt and my mom-capris and my thick legs. I see chub and flab and flaws. It knocked me for a loop and literally took my breath away. I am proud that if I had to, I could walk out my door right now and run 10 miles. It might be slow, but I could do it. But this picture, it brought on nothing but self-hatred. Which in turn led to self-hatred about being so vain and self-centered that I ignored all the awesome and focused solely on the size of my arms, legs, stomach, face...As I tried to explain to C, being so caught up in a less-than-flattering picture made me hate myself even more. Because I know, logically, that I'm pretty rad. I made three awesome babies. I married an insanely cool guy. My job is boring, but it's also pretty badass. But those arms.
Fast forward to today. I stumble out of my bedroom that somehow evades all efforts to clean, organize, or decorate into my house. My very real, very lived in house. There's a Costco pack of toilet paper in the entryway that's been there for a week. There's a pile of laundry two feet high in the living room. There are the carcasses of at least ten plastic toys that the dog has tried to eat scattered on various surfaces. Dishes. Dust. Life. And I pull up Instagram to see these beautiful, perfect, not styled by Target rooms with beautiful, perfect, not styled by Target kids. And I almost went there. I almost went to that dark place where what is mine is not good enough. I was on the verge of throwing everything away and trying to recreate this minimalist, monochromatic life that looks so pretty in dainty square pictures.
Then I got bored of trying to figure out where to start. My kids distracted me with construction paper and Popsicle stick football helmets. My dog picked up a toy and had to be chased down to avoid further casualties. Instead of trying to figure out where to begin in changing my life, I had to actually live it. And in doing that, I realized that I really kind of love this. I love the din and the chaos and the mess. It's us, and I think that if I was honest, it's probably a lot of the beautiful people too. I censor what I post. Syd painting a beautiful sunset for her dad? Posting. Completely un-flattering running picture? Notsomuch. Why would I post the not pretty? But that doesn't mean it doesn't exist.
I haven't settled on a resolution yet for the year, but I think this is something I'm going to work on. I can try to create some of the ambiance that I admire in the Beautiful People. Simplicity. Creativity. Calm. But I'm going to incorporate it into MY life, which means that there are also going to be parts that are dirty or messy or styled by Target. And that's okay. In fact it might even be beautiful :)
But I'm still going to the gym to work on those arms.