This past week we were talking a little about social media and the ways it interferes with our idea of our sense of self. How through it, we can often create these really false images of ourselves that we might then feel required to live up (or in some cases down) to–so we’re literally setting ourselves up for failure. And scrolling through everyone else’s perfectly edited life can add to the feelings of not being enough. It’s 365 days of the dreaded Christmas Letter.
In the picture above, Hurricane is standing next to the statue at Lincoln’s Cottage, which had been on our “fun things to do” list for weeks. A few Saturdays ago, after I had gone to yoga and Hurricane and I had an argument that started with toothbrushing and went all the way to I wish you weren’t my mom, we finally got ourselves together and drove out there. By the time we arrived, the last tour had already started and we weren’t allowed to just walk around the cottage by ourselves. So our trip to Lincoln’s Cottage was visiting the gift shop to buy Abe Lincoln playing cards and taking this picture that we maybe weren’t technically supposed to take. I could have posted this picture and my status would have been: “Seema is having so much fun at Lincoln’s Cottage, best way to spend a Saturday with my wonderful kids in this great city of hidden gems!!!” But I think I’d feel like shit if I did that. Because the real status would be: “Seema is glad that she didn’t kill her younger son today and feels a little like a failure for wasting a Saturday and a bit like a martyr for taking him anywhere ever.”
I shaped the poem below, a series of potential honest Facebook statuses, after Mahogany L. Browne’s poem, Facebook Status: Mahogany, pictured at the bottom of the post. The poem is from Destroy, Rebuild & Other Reconstructions of the Human Muscle, which I couldn’t find on the site (perhaps I have a rare edition…), but you can buy Dear Twitter and lots of other great books on Penmanship’s website here.
You know what to do. And you know where to send it.
after Mahogany L. Browne
went to bed at seven pm to avoid making dinner
woke and ate shredded wheat at 2 am
is talking into the mirror, scripting a response to a conversation
that ended long ago
or never happened
or hasn’t happened yet
or she won’t have the courage to start
is trying not to scar her kids
is in the doorway of their bedroom watching them sleep
feels guilty for snapping at them
is being careful not to wake them so she can get more done, be alone
is consumed with self-doubt
is drinking coffee she found in the microwave
is afraid everything is her fault
hasn’t cried enough for her father
is not at all sorry she missed your call
ps: Matt, I know I totally missed a week here. Forgive me, and send me a poem.