Monday, May 20, 2013

Other people's lives

A few things have collided in my head.

1.  My coworker, Harvey, asked me why I'm so happy all the time.  I started to think about it.  Why am I happy most of the time? Am I not deep?  Is there something wrong with me?  But I happy most of the time, or does it just look like that?

2. Tad and I had a discussion on my reaction to him when he's in a bad mood.  It's not a good reaction. I don't like bad moods. 

3. I read an article about how Facebook is a breeding ground for envy and life comparisons with other people (often leading to the feeling of not measuring up--a feeling of loneliness).

So the other day, I went to Harvey and tried to explain why I'm happy most of the time...I wrote  A blog post about this recently.  I think I am mostly self-aware. So I'm not surprised by things about me, even bad things, when they come up, because I'm aware of them.  I know the truth about myself..and I think that helps me be self-satisfied.  But then I thought more. 

Tad sometimes gets in dark moods because he's a person who tries very hard on a daily basis to get into the minds and souls of others. And in his job he spends all day getting into the minds and souls of 28 others to be precise. And he dives deep.

So when we talked about it, I said to Tad. "Do I not dive deep? Maybe I'm just not diving deep enough."
"No." Tad had said. "You dive deep too. But you dive into a clear mountain stream."

Is that it? Do I just not have a lot of murk and darkness?  I mean, my answer to Harvey was a pretty trite and simple response. And besides, was I always like this?  I remember in college once, thinking something like wow, I'm in such a good mood today.  I hope I'm like this tomorrow. Wait! This is just how I AM! I WILL Be like this tomorrow. And then laughing at myself for having such a thought.  But you know, when I was a kid, I remember being so sad a lot of the time.  I would cry in my room and feel  so alone as a ten year old, eleven year old and on and on...  If you read my Hello Kitty Diary kept from ages 10-15, it is hilarious, but also really really sad. 

When I was in my twenties, I was prone to fits of rage.  I upset my roommates by smashing things and screaming and saying horrible things about myself. I. was. a. mess.

So I spent some time in therapy and then I got the heck out of dodge. And in my final college semester of study abroad and then in the Peace Corps, I started realizing that I was okay. That I was smart and likeable and capable.  My confidence rose, I got happier.  But even then, there was (and still is) sadness in me, however happy I am.  Isn't that how we all are...just some of us display one emotion more often than the other?  In truth, every song I've written, the good ones, the ones that come out naturally, are very very sad.  People have asked me, "Why don't you write some happy songs?" I try to. But the sad ones are just what comes out.  So there it is.  I'm NOT happy all the time.  But I enjoy living a daily life of that's just what I do.  I suppose.

I put on a happy face.  I like to smile and laugh and be light and silly.  And when I'm not, it comes out too.  I can't help it. I have said before that I don't wear my heart on my sleeve, but on a banner connected to a blimp, high above everyone.  So cheerful is what I do as often as I can.  Just like on Facebook.  We put pictures up and make comments and notes and status updates that are a story that WE want to tell. 

I don't write on Facebook that I feel insecure today. Or that I just saw a picture of a bunch of people  I know hanging out and am feeling sad and left out that I wasn't invited.  Or that I'm fighting with my husband and he's driving me completely insane.  I don't write that stuff. I post pictures of me smiling and doing funny things.   I post pictures of me hugging my husband or my children being silly or funny or interesting.  Most of us do that.  We capture moments...just that moments in time that are what we want to advertise about ourselves.  There are a million moments for each hilarious comment or witty remark or cheery picture that are not as rosy as those.

So you can look at your friends' feeds and know that we all are capturing what we want to capture and share.  And I too, sometimes look at people's pictures and think that maybe they are doing something right that I'm doing wrong.  That their lives are more interesting, more fun, more joy-filled, more artistic.... 

I think Modest Mouse said it pretty well.  "Other people's lives seem more interesting 'cause they ain't mine..."

But in the end, it doesn't matter.  What matters is the story we tell ourselves.  And remembering that other people's lives seem more interesting 'cause they're on Facebook. (or because of what they say on Facebook anyway).

1 comment:

  1. my closest friend and I talk sometimes about how people make a point to seem cheery or as though they have it all "together" on FB, even while we know they are struggling with things.

    I have to remember that. I don't like to misrepresent the truth. I assume others don't either so I believe they are living these fantastic lives... until I remember that they probably don't live those lives all the time.