my so-called-insta-life

Pictures are stories captured in moments. (Or so that’s what my Instagram blurb says.)

It IS true. The shutter opens and closes for less than a second and depending on how fancy shmancy your device is, you can have a 40 picture burst in a mere 2.5 seconds.

Then you crop and chop and filter and frame– and VOILA- out comes the image we pass on about our lives to how many ever followers or friends we have.

It’s so simple. But is it? What you didn’t see are all the mistakes and outtakes, all the before filter blemishes and lighting issues, or more importantly the emotions that no emoticon could quite convey.

So here’s the lowdown: my beautiful picture of the beach was amidst a heart full of worry and turmoil. The cute one with my teenagers had a prelude of not-so-nice sibling spats and concluded with complaints about “how ugly I look in every picture”. The one with my hubby (where we look so in love after 22 years) was taken after a couple days of exhausted tension in which countless conversations seemed to fall on deaf ears for us both.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not here to bash on social media pics or the evils of selfies or the perfectly coifed and highly filtered shots we post. (I always find it strangely ironic when people complain about that through the conduit of social media!)

Rather, I am simply reminded that life is like the photos we share, snapshots into a larger world- a moment in time that passes as quickly as our shutter speed. And often, it is not all it appears to be.

Maybe you’re going through hell right now, waiting with baited breath for this season to be over. The shutter can’t close quickly enough on life as you know it.

Perhaps, the picture you posed for is a moment you wish could last forever, hoping by the image captured, you will be able to conjure this blissful memory for years to come.

Whatever the case, good or bad, the moment will pass soon enough. If you look longingly into the snapshot of someone else’s life, it may appear glamorous, exciting, perfect even, but it’s not. It really isn’t. Remember that you can never know the “before filter or effects” version of their picture. You see what they want you to. The pixels on the screen only tell a fraction the story.

It is said that a picture is worth a thousand words. Let’s stop pretending that all those words are amazing, beautiful and stunning because they are not. In fact, some are downright ugly and painful. But some truly are magical and lovely, picture stories that will linger on for years to come.

Windows

We spend our lives looking in and out of windows.

Upon waking every day, the first thing I do is go turn on the coffee pot and open up my kitchen window’s blind. I look out and determine what kind of day it is: grey and foggy, cool or warm, bright and sunny. In that moment, I also assess the view in a purely metaphysical way. What kind of day lies ahead? Happy, melancholy, worrisome, carefree, over scheduled, relaxed, burdened, peaceful?

Windows are like snap shots- just a portion of a bigger picture.

If we look in the window of someone else’s life, it may appear picturesque- almost perfect. Envy arises because perhaps this view is so wholly unlike our own. But remember this: don’t be deceived. Just like the display widows at a department store, it shows the best, the prettiest, the coolest, the most alluring, the trendiest, the slickest, the most put together items to be found. It is a living mirage that doesn’t look like that outside the large plate glass.

It’s funny how, even looking out our own window, shows only a sliver what’s beyond. It may appear to be a beautiful day, but what I don’t know is that just a few houses down, an ambulance has arrived to take someone away in it.

Maybe it is time to change perspective, to remind yourself that the view from a window is just a snap shot, a still frame in the bigger picture of life and yours is never going to be just like anyone else’s. Or maybe your window has been far too long covered with filth, making the view of even a lovely day impossible to see.