Sometimes life feels like a high school cafeteria. Sometimes I feel like a 16 year old girl, standing alone with her lunch tray, trying to figure out where I fit in. Except I’m a grown woman and the cafeteria has become my Instagram feed, my Facebook feed, my Pinterest boards.
I take it all in and start trying to put myself together – this shirt, that new album, this set of values, that set of dishes. I become a misplaced Frankenstein of an identity that doesn’t really belong anywhere; in the process I lose any semblance of myself.
I flit from profile to profile, wondering how I can get to the cool girl’s table. How many likes? Not that many. How do I get more? Maybe I didn’t word it right? People don’t want to know about this? Don’t care about my cat? How do I craft my personality for more filled-in little hearts? But I don’t like selfies. So more pictures of my cat. But people don’t care about my cat.
Anxiety, anxiety, anxiety.
Forget about paying attention to what I’m doing. Forget about being thankful for right now. I’ll mentally chew my nails as I go about my day trying to figure out witty somethings to share, how to frame a shot of my coffee. I’ll ignore the person right in front of me as I try to find the magical secret to becoming homecoming queen, never mind that it’s all virtual.
But what happens to the person that peaks in high school and wins all the votes and is defined by being a cool girl? Honestly, they’re the ones that look tired, distracted, puffy at the high school reunion 10 years down the road. Sometimes they drink a little too much, get a little too rowdy at the reunion as they relive their glory days.
What happens if my life peaks on the internet? Is my in-real-life existence fulfilled, complete, interesting….joyful? Or is it tired, distracted, puffy, disconnected, lonely….
Maybe I should go outside, find a space, sit down, and enjoy my lunch. Gather and welcome a good group that like sitting outside too and swap snacks, plan sleepovers.
One thing I’ve realized is that to have anything worthwhile to share on the internet, I have to live a worthwhile life; I have to pay attention to and be thankful for my worthwhile life. The more I do that, the less I feel the need to be validated because the adventure and goodness of life itself is validation enough. Funny how things work.
When we find out who we are aside from the pressure of what we think others want us to be – we all become the cool girl. When we can be our fearfully, wonderfully made selves and thrive in our gifts, speak the truth in love, and encourage others in their journeys – that is really, really cool. Foreal cool.
When we find out who we are aside from the pressure of what we think others want us to be – we’ve really made it. Welcome to the club.