At some point in the recent past, the collective realms of social media grew tired of the perfectly posed pristine posts that filled it and as a whole began to beg for real. Suddenly people claiming to be “the real deal” began cropping up, giving us unfettered access into their lives, even if their lives were messy and imperfect. It was no longer just celebrities with hundreds of thousands of followers, but regular men and women who were simply sharing their stories. Hashtags like #thisisme #perfectlyimperfect #therealdeal and #nofilter began to show up at the end of posts as people bragged about the fact that they didn’t need to hide behind a filter or a photo to be accepted. Daily we feed our eyes with images and our minds with blogs of people’s messy reality and we gorge ourselves on it like starving pigs at feed trough.
We praise the model who shares an unedited, untouched, make up free photo of her skin saying “No retouching for me, from now on, I’m showing it like it is!”
We defend the young actress who takes to the red carpet with unshaven legs saying “I didn’t feel like shaving today, and if men don’t have to, why should I?”
We celebrate the mom who shares a picture of her living room covered in toys as she holds her kids in her arms saying “The mess can wait until tomorrow, right now my hands (and heart) are full.”
We encourage the girl who shares her too big before pictures in her too small bathing suit saying “Weight loss challenge starts today! I’m not proud of where I am, but I am proud of where I’m going!”
We share these stories and photos because they seem real. They cut through the crap and show the not so glamourous aspects of living life, even if they aren’t living it so well. We see these behind the scene moments and say “YES! Finally someone telling it like it is and not sugarcoating it!” We no longer feel like the peasants looking up at glamourous kings, instead we feel like peasants among peasants in all our messed up reality.
After all, you can’t have reality without the word real in it…can you?
I think you can. I think the world has reality without real every day. Maybe it shouldn’t even be called reality anymore. Maybe drop the real and just call it ity. Because the truth is, even at our realest, none of us are really being real.
Because we fear that if we are really, really, real people will reject us.
The model who shared an unedited, untouched, make up free photo of her skin didn’t share that she gets expensive facials every single week to make sure her skin looks good without a filter.
The young actress who takes to the red carpet with unshaven legs didn’t share that the only reason she wore crop pants instead of a gown was because she didn’t shave and she was mortified that a photographer noticed and she just tried to make the best of it.
The mom who shared a picture of her living room covered in toys as she holds her kids in her arms didn’t share that she was only holding her kids because fifteen minutes before that she had a full blown meltdown and screamed at her kids because of the messy living room and they cried, so now she’s holding them because she feels guilty.
The girl who shared her too big before pictures in her too small bathing suit didn’t share that moments before she took the picture she puked up her lunch and then sucked in her stomach as much as possible.
I really wish those people would have shared those parts of their story.
I wish I shared more of mine. Each day someone messages me to say “I love you! You’re so real!” and though I am thankful, I laugh, because if they only knew how little of the real I really share, they probably wouldn’t message me or love me. Because my real is rough. I am willing to bet that yours is too. I bet that so many times you wanted to share your really real, and you got scared that you would be criticized and rejected, so you didn’t. Social media sucks sometimes, so you probably would have been criticized and rejected, but for every one person who condemns you, two sit and stare at their screens, tears falling down their face, because for once they don’t feel so alone.
Your broken pieces and their broken pieces are more alike than you know and when you share the really real, you become relatable and your heart connects with theirs. In that moment, your really real and their really real meet and in that moment they stand together, broken and on the way to healing.
Keep sharing your reality. Not the reality you think people want to see, but the reality you really live in. Share more and more. Share the ups and the wins, but also share the hard, the sick, the messed up, and the broken. Lay your cards out on the table and say “this is me, I am all in, take it or leave it” and while many will leave it, many more will take it and the world will be stronger for it. I believe in you. The real you. The really real you will change lives that the real you never could.