Sunday, April 10, 2016

Social Media and Truth

A Madness Most Discreet by Nora Doyle
I am going to let you all in on a little secret that you might not infer from reading my posts; I can be a jerk. Yes, it's true! Sometimes I yell at my kids. They can frustrate me. Sometimes I bicker with my husband. No, he isn't perfect either, despite my rosy picture of him. I am prone to envy when I see the beautiful pictures of homes and vacations and clothing on social media. There are occasions at work (more than I would like to admit) that I am annoyed with circumstances or colleagues or administration. There are even days...wait for it...that I don't feel like doing speech therapy. <GASP> Worse, I have even done some really crappy speech therapy, with full on mistakes. There are days I tick people off. It's true, I can be defensive and I can behave like a victim. I can be triggered by something I read on social media, a look, a comment.

I've been thinking about how I represent myself in my blog and other social media platforms. Our perceptions of ourselves are deeply rooted in what we are viewing on social media and I want to be very clear, I am flawed. You know all those great photos you see on Instagram? Well, you should know that there may have been six before that were deleted. Photos that showed my belly and hips, the dirty dishes in the sink, the piles of stuff on my desk at work, or the dog and cat hair on the floor. After I post, I too, look to see how many people liked my post, commented on my post, shared my post, bought my product, or followed me. (Oh look, XYZ liked my post! It must be good, because he/she has 10 million followers or has been blogging for longer than me). Oh, and the comments. The comments that tell me I'm awesome, brilliant, creative, funny! I just love those and while they are all true :), they are not true all the time. I think it's important to be real and so to be real I am saying out loud, I can be very unfunny, very uncreative, very "unbrilliant." Here's the thing, I can be poopy, stuck, and dull. There I said it!

I was "talking" with my friend Pam, author of the blog Chit Chat and Small Talk, and we were discussing BrenĂ© Brown's TED Talk on vulnerability. I looked back on the notes I had taken and I came across this quote, "We perfect, but we are wired for struggle, we are imperfect, yet we are worthy of love and belonging." She further states, "We must believe we are enough." My being imperfect is okay! It makes me uniquely me. That I can wake up one day feeling blue and can wake up the next day restored is human. I want to FEEL everything I was designed to feel. I don't want to be, in the words of Pink Floyd, "comfortably numb." I am enough!

When did this happen? When did the number of likes, the number of followers become the standard by which we measure our value or our impact? When did whether we are invited to join this social media group or that social media group define our worth? Social media allows us to learn and share and connect in a very two-dimensional way, yet we are three-dimensional beings in a three-dimensional world.

My goal then, is to represent myself in a more three-dimensional, whole person sort of way. I am Annie Doyle. I am overweight, my hair is gray. I run really, really slowly. I went to an okay college 33 years ago. I don't know all there is to know in this field. I make mistakes and I learn from those mistakes. I can be hurtful and I know that. I will always be accountable and ask for forgiveness. Sometimes, I am all Jersey and I swear and I'm loud. My house can be messy and sometimes we have cereal for dinner. I drive a clunker and have no auto debt, yet I can be envious of those with nicer "things." I have anxiety and often have reactions that don't match the size of the problem. For better or worse, I wear my heart on my sleeve.

I also love God. I love my family. I love my friends, even those I have never met. I cherish the conversations we have together online. I will always do my utmost to be supportive. I love my chosen profession and strive to be awesome even when I fall short. I love to learn and exhaust myself with trying to remain current. I love old kitchen glass and spend far too much money on it. I think, a lot, and will always try to seek wisdom, understanding, and counsel. I am resilient and face hardships with fortitude. I am three-dimensional!

I do know that not everyone is comfortable with the soft, white underbelly exposed. Perhaps that is not everyone's goal with social media. I would simply leave you, dear readers, with this caveat, what you see on Instagram and Facebook and Twitter is only a small portion of the person posting. It is the piece they want you to see. Don't fret, don't compare. Call a three-dimensional friend and go for walk. Grab your kids and go for some three-dimensional ice cream. Grab your three-dimensional husband and snuggle on the couch with a crossword puzzle.

"Let yourself be seen, deeply seen, be vulnerably seen. To love with your whole heart, even though there is no guarantee; that is hard."
Brené Brown


  1. I often have reactions that don't match the size of the problem! Three-dimensional I am!

    1. Oh, and thank you for introducing me to three-dimensional orange ice cream!!!

  2. Love this post and sharing with my fellow slpeeps!

    1. Thank you Heidi! I appreciate that and you taking the time to comment!! :)

  3. What an honest post! I've really stepped away from social media lately and find that I'm a lot happier with myself because of it.
    You are amazing, and I'm very blessed to call you my friend! I think we're going to be dangerous when we actually do get to meet IRL!!! :)