Tonight I was browsing Instagram and before I knew it I found myself coveting the closet of a my college roommate's cousin's ex-husband's sister's mother-in-law. Okay, maybe it wasn't quite that far removed, but it was the closet of someone I don't know. After I had drooled over the closet for a while, I scrolled through the rest of the feed (being careful not to double tap from way back, 'cuz I know that's where the trouble's at #namethatsong) and felt myself getting more and more jealous with each passing photo. Creamy white walls, rustic open shelving, interesting and unique light fixtures, and pops of color placed more perfectly than anything I'd ever seen! It looked perfect, and I thought, why can't my life be that perfect?
On Sunday I went to church with my in-laws and we sat behind the most perfect family. A mom, a dad, a daughter, and a son. Dressed nicely and well groomed, the children sat quietly through the whole service, seeming to hang on every word of the sermon. Every time I see this family they're smiling and laughing and so put together, and every time I see a post by their mother on Instagram or Facebook it's beautiful, uplifting, and inspiring. And I think, why can't I be that perfect?
At lunchtime I was catching up on the Snapchat stories I'd been missing and I watched a blogger do an "unboxing." She had been set boxes of makeup, clothes, accessories, clothes, and fun kitchen gadgets for free! As she pulled out tubes of mascara and bottles of perfume I thought of my faded yellow mascara tube that I haven't gotten around to changing out, and how the only perfume I wear are little sample perfumes that come as a free gift every so often at Sephora. I watched her pull out shirts in a tiny sample size and pants that came in a single digit. I thought of that girl and how perfect her life must be to be given such beautiful things. And I thought, Why am I not that perfect?
When I'm scrolling social media it's so hard to remember that nobody's life is perfect, even though some of them seem pretty close. It's hard to remember that the people behind these perfect, beautiful pictures have struggles you don't know about. When I see that living room with the high ceilings and the flowy curtains and the shiny floor, I don't know what's going on behind the lens. I forget how easy it is to curate your social media and only show the good things. I forget how easy it is to buy white posterboard for fifty cents and use it as a background to cover up the dirty dishes in your kitchen sink, the chair in your bedroom that is covered in laundry, or the floor in your dining room that is covered in paw prints. I forget how easy it is to use a filter to cover every blemish, scar, and stain.
On the flip side, I think showing the beauty in your life can be a good thing. Here's why: because even when life gets messy, it's still beautiful. When you're going through something hard or painful, it's important to focus on the good things. If you only focus on the stains and the mess and the heartache you'll never be happy.
So, there's a balance. Life gets messy and difficult, but it's also beautiful. Sure, there's sickness and hurt and some seriously ugly stuff, but there's also beauty and joy and happiness. It's like a symphony: there are high notes meshed with low notes, quick tempos followed by lingering stretches, times of rest followed by frantic staccatos, and it takes everything meshing together to create something so beautiful that you're moved to tears. Showing beauty doesn't necessarily mean you're covering up the pain or the mess; sometimes it just means you're choosing to focus on the good instead of the heartbreak.