I took a break from Instagram because my head space was unhealthy. I was constantly comparing myself to other people, putting myself and others on a ladder where I was at the bottom.
But what I was pining for was not real. In our hands, we can curate our profiles in a polished, filtered way. I am guilty of this too (unfortunately, one of my friends will dig through my old pictures and unearth a document that would compromise my reputation. But that’s what friends do). It’s so easy– we can delete, edit after we post, and filter our pictures.
So what you and I see daily are just galleries. Pictures frozen in time, edited with contrast, shading, brightness, cropping, and the right angle. We’re trying to make our lives into art pleasing to the eye, appealing to the senses. 75% of what we take in is not visual; it’s mostly our thoughts of what this image means (we’re on the fringes of art history territory here).
“Who are these other people?” and “where are they?” are the quick, common questions, but social networks won’t let these questions exist for long. 9 times out of 10, people are tagged and the location is posted. But the most important question is, “How does this make me feel?” And to be honest, most of the time I think, “I wish I could have that.”
It’s hard to admit. I try to put up this front that I’m perfectly fine. We all do. Our walking, physical forms too, are art. If you’re like me, you might spend too much time caring about your hair and clothes, even what bag you carry because you know 75% of what people see when they look at you is their perception. How you make them feel.
Why am I trying so hard to put up this facade, just so someone can think highly of me?
I am just like these people whose lives I pine after.
We’re obsessed with something unattainable. We want everything to be good, just fine, amazing, #goals.
After a week-long break from Instagram, I’ve learned that life is messy. And that’s art too.
I will never post a selfie of my face in tears, the aftermath of a long fight with my mom, which made me doubt my future and God’s provision. Even though it isn’t visually public, I will never forget that night and that week. But God still wrung my heart of its soaking bitterness and frustration that cloaked my eyes from seeing his goodness. And in the end, reconciliation– of my heart and our relationship– mended everything. Life was so, so messy at the time, and I couldn’t fix it, but this showed me how much more adequate God is than I am.
We are scars etched upon flesh, eyes ringed with tears, hearts singed with rejection. While these remain, our flesh and hands shield them from view.
We’re storing both beauty and brokenness– at least that’s how I think we see them, in opposition to each other. But beauty arises from brokenness. It’s buried within the cracks and fragments, and we’re blind to it at first glance.
I’m thankful for these moments of brokenness because they have taught me that beauty is not just confined to physicality and aesthetics.
These oppositions should co-exist, and not fight against one another. Let us embrace brokenness. You don’t have to share your brokenness in a picture, or a post, but express it in words. On paper or to a friend. The process of brokenness is art itself.