Given how my day went today it is fitting that I wrote this post a few days ago and now have 2 parts to share with you all.
Facebook fools us all into thinking others lives are perfect, some people even think my life is always smiles and fun times…..Let’s open that door and start with……
The story behind my most liked Facebook photo ever.
When you are not sure where to start, start with what makes the most sense. Authenticity.
Marathon Weekend 2016 in Disneyworld. My greatest and most successful moment in my Heart Attack Recovery, finishing the Goofy Challenge.
Great moment, right ? I will agree, in fact over 200 likes, 2400 views on blog Facebook page, a few shares and many positive encouraging comments.
Yay, yay for me right ? Sure. Let’s go with that. I made it look easy of according to some.
This is where most of us make a mistake on social media and I am not immune to it.
Now, I have definitely shared highs and lows and some not so great life posts but most of my Facebook shows more of the great life moments than the struggles. Authenticity of life is thrown out the window because who wants to show how they are struggling behind the photos?.
Comparison, it’s what we do but we shouldn’t. I had one message from someone who, while congratulating me also told me seeing my photo collage made them feel inadequate because they could never do what I did. My response, you can do it but I promise you it is not easy.
Let’s look behind the photo. Rewind a bit shall we ?
January 2013, Walt Disney World. I attempted my first Goofy Challenge. I failed. I got pulled at mile 22, put on a bus and taken to the finish where they gave me 2 medals which to this day, I still think I did not deserve. Those medals stay in a box. My first thought was embarrassment, shame. I had spent time on social media sharing my excitement for the event upcoming. How the hell do I now tell people that I was pulled from the course, not fast enough.? I wanted to be alone, I was ashamed, hurt, crying, angry. After some time, I shared my failure on Facebook. That was so fucking hard, so Hard that I turned my phone off right after to avoid any ridicule or mean comments. None came. People were encouraging and supportive. It took a long time to get over that failure. 2013 became one of my worst years overall. Life sucks a lot sometimes.
Continuing on. Aug 2013, Hear Attack. Starting over physically. I knew exactly what goal I needed to set but I also knew I could not rush it. So behind my successful photo in 2016, here is what you didn’t see.
- My first time back on a treadmill where I couldn’t even walk for 8 minutes and had to accept that defeat.
- The moments when I walked away from those who said, you shouldn’t do this, maybe you just can’t anymore.
- Injuries that I never spoke of. Spraining my knee twice, slipped discs in my lower back and neck, angina attacks ( thankfully only a couple.)
- My feet and legs that bruise and swell from running, every single time.
- The days I awoke in so much physical pain I struggled to just get through the day knowing it would eventually go away.
- The training miles. When you commit to a marathon you commit a lot of time, time you could spend with family and friends.
- Sleepless nights where I would go to the gym just to get out of my head.
- Did I mention daily pain?
- The training runs that I had to stop because I was vomiting profusely
- The moments of doubt, so many times I thought “maybe you shouldn’t go for this.” I lacked confidence.
- The moments of reaching out to people who rejected my pleas to talk, some of whom I no longer speak with.
- The moments when you are trying to share but others make it about them or compare.
- Friendships that have suffered because I made myself so focused that I failed at maintaining some important relationships. Some may never recover.
- The times I stopped training to help others but received not so much as a thank you which made me question my importance to others. Who thought I was worth their time, love.
- Wanting it so bad, the “win” that I got into some stupid situations that could have cause more injury harm than success.
- The many times I questioned my own self worth.
I could on and on. The point here is this. Behind most every smiling photo or “doctored” Facebook status is someone’s pain, someone’s sacrifice, someone who is looking for a win so bad so that they don’t feel like the loser they think they are.
Most importantly behind the success at the end may just be someone looking for authentic connection, a talk, a hug, someone just to let that person be themselves so that they can pull that mask off, be vulnerable.
Comparing ourselves to others social media life is unfair because it is rare that you will see the authenticity or vulnerability of someone and usually when we do, we cower and say nothing or think, gee that person is just looking for attention.
Comparison is something I see a lot of in the support groups I am a part of and daily on my personal FB page and it can be so sad to see how people beat themselves up outside of Facebook because thier life is not like someone else who posted a great experience or photo.
One of my goals is to be way more authentic in the coming 6 months. My one promise is this….. I will not “out” anyone but I will share stories. I will talk about what is actually happening and share the wins and the challenges because I believe now that there are no failures, just challenges.
I have failed or faced challenges leading up to finally completing my first Marathon and as of this writing, I have been challenged once again by having my first Did Not Finish on my second Marathon due to injury. I shared this on social media and although I got support, I know there are many who would not. Being that vulnerable was scary but worth it. Sometimes you just have to open up but also listen to those who may need you to step up for them.
Part 2 coming in a couple days.