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My so-called (Facebook) life

Here’s what a few of my friends were up to today (via Facebook): Taking a dip in the Blue Lagoon in southwestern Iceland; eating brunch at a café in an impossibly picturesque French village; signing advance copies of her brilliant new book at BEA in New York; celebrating 18 years of marriage so perfect that its participants still swoon over each other.

Here’s what I did: Climbed a 12-foor ladder with a broom and a dust rag to bat at spider webs and sweep up dead insect carcasses in the vaulted entryway of my unkempt home. Cleaned the cat litter box because apparently I am the only one with a sense of smell in this household. Drank 4 cups of tea and chain-chewed most of a pack of Orbit Sweet Mint gum while sweating my way through the writing of a chapter of my new book, the book that for six months it seemed that no publisher wanted.

All this might lead me to suffer from the now well established Facebook-fueled FoMO phenomenon (Fear of Missing Out), that feeling that all your peers are doing, in the know about or in possession of a something better than you. Disturbingly but not surprisingly, “FoMO” was added to the Oxford English Dictionary in 2013. But, actually FoMO is not where this leads me. Or at least not all the time.

Where it leads me is to a deep sadness about our insistent (and it seems to me increasing) lack of authenticity. (I do NOT mean the  happy and successful FB friends I referenced above are inauthentic! I mean the FB world can be and can encourage us to be.)

Facebook is an easy target – too easy. It is, literally, the face we want to show to the world, and most of us want to show our best face. Most of us don’t leave the house without “putting on our face” (and I’m not talking foundation and blush here). Many of us have a “game face” we use when we believe it is warranted, or to our advantage. We all, at one time or another, employ a façade – that is, an outward appearance that is maintained to conceal a less pleasant or creditable reality.

I think the more we do this, and the more circumstances during which we do it – Facebook being only one — the farther away we get from who we are. And over time, creating and perfecting that façade, training ourselves to conceal, walking that talk, we deepen and strengthen those particular neural pathways. And we forget who we are.

I mean we really forget.

2 comments

1 Lara { 06.07.17 at 11:33 pm }

Thank you once again Lauren,
I am always in awe of the way you are able to express your thoughts.

I recently found myself wanting artwork to put in my little laundry room. I hopped on Pinterest and found a whole bunch of examples of laundry art, and without even realizing it was happening, started imagining and planning for said “laundry art”. Then all of a sudden I stopped, and asked myself, when did I become someone who put up clipart pictures of a washing machine and tumble dryer?
It wasn’t the true me, but I had become caught up in the “perfect world” so elegantly displayed on social media.

Instead I ordered some Salvador Dali prints, a much truer representation of me and my ever messy laundry.

2 Lauren { 06.08.17 at 4:19 pm }

Oh god, Pinterest. Don’t get me started. A great way to feel completely inadequate about your baking abilities, interior design talents and fashion sense. I LOVE Dali on the laundry room!

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