I didn’t grow up with social media and sometimes my own fascination with it drives me crazy. I love to hop on Facebook and see what other people are up to and gawk at the pretty pictures on Instagram. But sometimes I miss the good old days before the highlight reel. When people lived their lives unapologetically. When people did what brought them joy just for the sake of doing something, and not just for the photo op. When we didn’t have Face Tune or Photoshop to cover up our flaws, and just wore them like a badge of honor instead.
Don’t get me wrong…I’ve definitely been guilty of sharing my best moments. But my real life is flawed. I often feel inadequate compared to those around me.
Everyone else is sharing their new $2,000 bag, and I’m looking at the $97 balance in my bank account until pay day.
Everyone else is sharing tours of their beautiful homes, and most of the walls in our home have been barren since we moved here.
Everyone else is posting their newest outfit, and I’m budgeting for back to school clothes for my kids and my husband’s new job, because there isn’t always wardrobe money left for the person who works from home.
Everyone else is sharing vacation photos, and I’m wondering how we’ll ever pay off the remainder of my student loans, and how we’ll ever save for a better future.
When we only share the good things, it’s isolating. Real life isn’t perfect. The moment you think you have it all figured out, it bitch slaps you back into reality. I love that we drive two paid off vehicles that have relatively few issues. I’m proud of our hard work and our savings account.
Before I sound too cocky, let me regale you with what happened to my van last week. I put $700 into a repair to keep it kickin’ (power steering something or another) and literally days later the door fell off. Yep, you read that right. I opened the sliding door, and it fell off the hinges onto the ground. I wish I was joking.
Four beers and some work with the angle grinder later, my hubby had it back on the frame. We just can’t open the van anymore on that side. God help me if I ever forget. I noticed we have paint peeling on the hood too, and I remarked how lucky we were because at least it’s not cracking off in the shape of a dick or something. For a second there, I thought Mike was going to start shaping it into one! (Maybe that would’ve happened if he was 5 beers in.)
I have to laugh about this so I don’t cry. Sometimes I feel like the only one who goes through hard things. But you know what? We’ve come so far.
Back when Mike was in school and I was teaching, we had no money. There were no special treats in our budget. Culver’s had a deal one summer where you could bring in one canned food item in exchange for a free frozen custard. We bought a whole stash of tuna cans for 10 cents each and we did the deal every damn day they had it.
I used to coupon for everything because we had to. It was time consuming and the food we bought was unhealthy crap because that’s the only thing that’s ever on sale.
It took us 8 years to have any kind of savings account at all.
I’m not saying this all to make you feel sorry for me. I’m a hard worker and although some parts of my life right now seem hard, it’ll all come out in the wash. I haven’t been posting as much on Instagram in the past few months because I feel like a fraud posting a beautifully curated feed, whereas my real life is full of ANNOYING financial surprises that drain our savings that we worked forever to have.
So many of the people who post fabulous feeds on Instagram are hard workers who do this for a living (like me) and I admire the hustle. But hell if it isn’t hard to feel like you’re the only one living that broke life.
So…next time you are watching someone’s shopping haul video and the stuff they bought TODAY is more money than you make in a month…imagine my husband peeling the paint off of our 2003 Honda Odyssey into the shape of a ball sack. Because that’s what my life is like at the moment. Let’s just be real.
Do you have a love/hate relationship with social media like I do? What’s your Instagram handle? Post in the comments so I can follow you!