My daughter loves to look at old videos of herself and often scrolls through my albums on Facebook while laughing with her head back, “Mom, look at how silly I was when I was a little baby!” Last week she turned the phone to me and I was awash in memories. I started clicking back to old status updates to remind myself of the flurry of activity surrounding her arrival. In the middle of posts of my baby bump and cravings I came across something unexpected: a snarky, sardonic post in which I made fun of Angelina Jolie’s “chicken legs” and her relationship with Brad Pitt.
Oh my God, what is this?
I felt like I was reading someone else’s words. My nose wrinkled and I felt embarrassed. Who was this girl with all this meanness? I started scrolling back to the days when my world was US Weekly and weekends drinking margaritas at the pool with my girlfriends while we discussed other people. Not ourselves. Not our goals, not our love of anything within, but that which had no meaning to anyone outside a mirror or a selfie. We had entire conversations about lip gloss.
Then Olivia wanted my phone back and that was that.
A few days later I read a positive quote on Twitter that made me smile and clicked on it. I love words. Love them. Of course this makes sense for a writer. If you can string along a sentence to make my heart soar I fall in love for just a minute. The happenings of the world fall away from me as I crash into the weight of your vernacular. It is like a high. Right under the quote was a response from a woman that said something along the lines of, “Girl, all your money is making you lose touch with reality.”
Suddenly Twitter became a study in human behavior. I clicked on the woman’s profile and within short time I found a very angry woman who trolled celebrity accounts. She’d seen all their shows, she had opinions about their lives and sometimes she asked them for things. Like shoes for her birthday. After about ten posts in I was sad that she couldn’t see what I could so easily. She was miserable in her own life so she needed to live someone else’s. If they were rich she asked them to share, “you have enough.” If they were lovelorn she bashed their ex. If they were positive she made fun of them.
If they weren’t miserable she didn’t like them.
I thought back to who I was when I posted my snarky celebrity-centric posts. I certainly didn’t ask anyone for anything or follow their lives, but I thought I was funny, biting wit and such. I finished my days with Chelsea Lately, read magazines that had nothing to do with being fit, being healthy, being anything other than interested in someone’s thigh gap and marital status. Not only was I miserable, but I was incapable at looking at myself, within myself, past the baubles I wore as twinkling distractions and the MAC liners I hid behind. My “biting wit” was simply a disguise for my own unhappiness.
I felt compassion for the little troll girl. Not pity, mind you, but an awareness of work. Work that she needs to do within that may never happen, her life, her path, bless.
I found it interesting that I didn’t even realize I’d been on such a journey until a piece of the past, granted a status update, smacked me. I noticed I’ve hidden posts from friends who are unhappy because I don’t want that in my day. I don’t read magazines that glorify beauty over soul or the inner workings of someone’s personal life over their right to privacy, family and respect. I cringe that we cover people the way we do.
Maybe we should cover ourselves first.
Dig in (do the work).
Dig out (of what is holding you back).
Shine (without the lip gloss).