#Reallife: Why what we choose NOT to reveal online says so much more than what we do

Me and my dad in the early 80s--He really rocked that Magnum PI stache! Choices. We face them each day. What to wear? What to eat? What to post on Facebook?

I don’t know about you, but I certainly pick and choose what parts of myself I share with the world. I’ll check in at Nobu faster than you can say cucumber martini, but I’ve never publicly declared my love for Jack in the Box’s tacos. (How are they SO good?)  I’ll post the video of my son’s homerun at his baseball game, but omit his strike out and depression in the backseat on the way home. And I’ll send over the perfect selfie I captured with my girlfriends at our GNO but skip the bloated hangover pics the next morning. And it’s made me realize: what we don’t post online is almost as telling as what we do.

Recently, my father fell ill. And while I’d been quick to document my own trip to the ER the year before (I cut off part of my finger slicing cheese, long story!), it didn’t even cross my mind to share my location or state of mind as I sat with him at the hospital. The next day, I posted about a skirt that didn’t quite fit me right, and left out what was really going on in my life—that I was heading back to the hospital for another long day at my father’s bedside. And the next day, as fought back tears when I was called to fill out his DNR paperwork just in case, I bantered with my online peeps about how upset I was about the venti iced Americano I’d dropped on the sidewalk earlier that morning.

It probably isn’t surprising to anyone who knows me well that I would lament publicly about my lack of caffeination rather than the acute descent of my father’s health. But it got me thinking how our online interactions define us. How I tended not to post things that might make me appear weak. Or worse, have others pity me.

God forbid, I pull back the curtain to show you my real weaknesses (I’m horribly stubborn! Emotionally unavailable! Distracted to a fault!), not the cute, self-deprecating ones. (I’m a bad driver! I have a Starbucks addiction! I’m clumsy and cut off parts of my fingers on occasion!)

Not that there's anything wrong with doing that—but we all develop a social media persona and then go out of our way to stick within the boundaries we set to be that person. And I discovered when my father passed away where mine was. I had no problem revealing seemingly personal details as long as they never scratched further below the surface than I wanted people to see. I went on and on about the death of my iPhone on my daughter’s 4th grade trip (dropped in the toilet while panning for gold, in case you were wondering), but declined to reveal how I was in denial of the very real death of my father just two weeks prior, and that I still couldn’t even bring myself to open the pile of sympathy cards that were sitting on my desk at home. In short, I wanted your LOLs, not your sympathy. I wanted your comments, your likes, your approval to distract me. (And it did, thank you very much!)

To celebrate the release of The Status of All Things, we’ve challenged y’all to post about your #reallife. Admittedly, for the reasons detailed above, I’ve struggled with it. Just a few days ago, I rear-ended a very annoyed man on a freeway off ramp, then stepped in dog poop while wearing my favorite pair of Uggs an hour later. I yelled at my son and made him cry, and then I cried a little bit myself after forcing myself to open one of those sympathy cards on my desk. And I didn’t post a damn thing about any of it. Until now. Because even though my #reallife isn’t always pretty, it’s still mine, and in good or bad times, I’m thankful for that.

Tell us—what does your #reallife look like? Because we all know that you can’t always look that good. (And if you can, you need to hand over your beauty secrets ASAP!)