Maybe eighty percent of the time, Facebook will lie to you.
It’ll make you feel like everyone in your news feed has it figured out. And by everyone, I mean only the people you want to stalk at 2 a.m. when you’re starting to wonder where they are now: the people you haven’t seen since high school, the ones you shared a class with once, the ones you met when you were old enough to get excited about the ice cream truck.
Those people will make you think you’ve got nothing in common. You’ve got enough insecurities to stack up a wall between yourself and the rest of the world and they? They have the world in their hands and they’re just molding it.
I promise that’s not true.
Our generation is getting a whole lot of heat for writing our lives onto the pages of the Internet, cluttering it with status updates about last weekend’s bar hop or Happy Hour downtown on Tuesday or the vacation we just went on. We’re blogging our lives in real time, including those moments when we’re unsure and those when we’re virtually pounding each others’ fists for those awesome nights we just had.
I get that. There is a line between telling you what I ate for breakfast and using that same knowledge to connect over comments and Likes and re-tweets.
It’s a line I don’t know how to walk. I’ve been here three months and don’t know where to find the bars. I’ve never been to Happy Hour—ever. Never smoked a cigarette or gotten high. Never thought about sleeping with someone I’d just met.
I’ve got a dating history that probably looks pathetic compared to some of my friends whose arms are always covered with leather motorcycle jackets or big zip-up sweatshirts from boys who think she’s the world.
And that’s OK. I’m just not that kind of wild.
But I understand, even if I can’t read those blogs that seem to center around trivial matters, issues that won’t even exist in the morning, that we do it for the same reason: to connect.
And why wouldn’t we?
If, 20 years ago, Facebook and WordPress and Tumblr existed, would our parents be writing their lives onto the Internet? Would they be connecting over cups of coffee and barstools or hash tags that pinned their collective statuses to each other and made them feel like yes, this is growing up?
This is growing up.
It’s the pain you need to remember if you want to parent your children. The elation you should hold for as long as you possibly can. It’s the last thing you want to lose and the first thing you’re willing to ditch.
And my experience versus yours versus someone else’s will be vastly different.
I’m the kind of girl who waits for sleepovers because she doesn’t have stories like that. The kind of girl who listens in the passenger seat because she might have an objective opinion to offer. The kind of girl who prays the sunroof in her car never stops retracting and the wind never stops blowing and the radio never stops streaming.
And if I write those small moments down for you, a few people might say, “Yes, I get it. Yes, I’m painfully normal, painfully quiet, painfully safe too.”
A few people might feel like their Facebook news feed doesn’t matter. That they don’t have to search for someone worse off to make the night a little better. That this game we’re playing isn’t Us vs. Them, but Us vs. Ourselves. Us vs. Our Brains.
It’s the reason Taylor Swift is a millionaire.
So those of us who write our brains down on the Internet do so because we want someone else to match brainwaves, to light bulb at our insecurities, to nod at our fears, to fist pump at our accomplishments.
We just want to grow together and be understood.
That’s all, dear critics. That’s all.
By the way, every month I send out a short + sweet newsletter brimming with cool finds related to the monthly theme. It'd be stellar if you subscribed. If it's not worthy, it doesn't go in the newsletter. That. Simple.