I’ll be the first to say I read too deeply into things. I over analyze with the very best of them. I painstakingly try to even out the dissonance in my brain, to account for unspoken intentions and hidden truths. Within the confines of a concrete way of looking at situations, there is little room for overlap, for the gray. Angry feelings percolate in my belly, anxiety creeps up my spine and I make a sweeping conclusion. But these polarizing opinions are provocative, and well nothing considerable was ever accomplished from being too neutral… So let’s delve into being #blessed.
Social media likely originated with the purpose of connecting people. By that connectedness meaningful dialogue might be born, relationships nurtured, and useful information shared. That or some really bright people were just bored and wanted to stir up the social fabric of our society as we know it. Since then though social media has deviated from this once noble path. It’s become a playground for airing what is wonderful and discarding what is fallible. We carefully curate a version of ourselves that is deemed acceptable for others to witness, and we discard or conceal the elements that make us most human. Affirmation is sought from people we may not even know mindlessly scrolling and tapping, scrolling and tapping.
Enter the blessings and the squad goals. This concept of being #blessed is tossed around, and a set of criteria exists to alert the general population when you have been inducted into this desirable club. Some conditions for admission include a house in the Hamptons, a healthy, beautiful child, a prestigious career, a storybook romance. Do not misunderstand me, these are swell things to have and likely many people covet them. I do in one way or another, but not even because I want to. I feel like I should, because it is desirable in the social sphere’s collective eye. I admire from afar the little family that appears to have it all together. I tell others who have what seems to be a fruitful, happy life that they are so blessed. When my own family is gathered around the table, and things are going right, then I feel like we are blessed. I might even envy others who make it look easy. I post manicured images of food such that people might find them beautiful and think me capable, and talented. Dear world, tell me I am worthwhile, confirm for me that I am #blessed. I promise I will work diligently to maintain the illusion of togetherness.
But it is all nonsense, plain and simple. Straight bullshit.
(from atop my soapbox)
Is not our mere existence a blessing? Is the child in the inner city who struggles to learn and lacks any familial support not blessed? How about the individual who cannot verbalize his or her preferences? The refugee, the single parent, the victim of abuse or bullying. The person who conceals his or her innermost self so as not to alienate loved ones. The child with visible differences who is not represented in mainstream media. The rejected, the cast aside, those whose bodies have betrayed them, riddled with illness.
We yearn to be deserving of the status of being blessed, of being the chosen ones. In a book I read recently this entire line of reasoning was debunked in that from the moment we are conceived of we are already enough, without ever having to prove anything. With this in mind can we collectively find the courage to share what is not likable, or pretty? Can we acknowledge that the suffering that marks our human condition is itself a blessing albeit wrought with struggle and pain? What will it take to cast feelings of resentment and inadequacy aside?
Here is where the seas part. Some of you will say what is this chick even talking about? She should just scroll and like yet another picture like the rest of us, and then cast judgment the next moment, or start dieting, or talk behind that girl’s back.
The others among you might acknowledge that deep down you feel something like what I feel. Not necessarily the exact same sentiment because I take introspection to a devastating level. Or maybe this vulnerability is more common than I envision but it’s the world’s best kept secret. People are hesitant to share what is realistic about their lives unless it is to garner attention or pity as the spectrum in the social sphere spans between narcissism and self loathing. If gloating serves to erect a fortress around this exclusive club that not everyone can join, then pity is not helpful either. Progress and connectedness happen somewhere in the middle. To me that would be a place void of overt #blessings and #goals.
If I have offended you, I encourage you to get back to a routine that is comfortable. I would not want to disrupt anything you have grown accustomed to. This discussion is not meant to shame or judge either although I admit this reasoning gets close to feeling like a judgment. We are all susceptible to the desire to be perceived as noble, or somehow enlightened it seems.
But if somewhere in the pit of your stomach you feel the same way, I hope you might know that you are as blessed as the next person. I promise to do my part by thinking twice before concealing my burnt scones and dirty dishes. I will try to encourage and empower others. I will use discomfort as an opportunity for personal growth. I will try not to judge for fear of being judged equally harshly.