You want real life?
No filters and curated photos?
No smiles and scenic backdrops?
This is real life.
It is not pretty.
It’s far from perfect.
It is riddled with just as much pain as pleasure.
And I’m pretty sure that’s universal for each human reading this.
For those of you who see my normal posts, with full HD makeup, under professional television lighting, and cropped intentionally … you should also see this.
Or for those of you who scroll past my posts, make your assessment, and decide my life “looks easy or fun,” and then judge me based on those assumptions … you should also include this in your evaluation.
This picture was taken yesterday after work.
It’s my 10,477th x-ray.
And although that number is not exact, it’s not far from reality.
Doctors started studying my legs at 4 years old after I was run over by a drunk driver while sleeping in my bed. I’m 43 so that should give you a feel for how many times I have been poked and prodded, examined and evaluated, x-rayed, and cut open. Too many to count really.
In this snapshot, you can see the deep scars, especially on my left leg.
But they cover both.
The deformity of my left knee is visible even to those with bad vision.
And you may notice my left leg a bit shorter than my right leg – or how it bows out at the top.
What you can’t see in this picture is the scar on my hip.
Or the slight limp when I walk.
Or trauma-induced arthritis.
Or the swelling that happens when I stand for too many hours at a time.
Or the mile-high medical chart doctors add to each year around this time.
What you can’t see in this picture are the thoughts that occasionally cross my mind – wondering how it would feel just to have normal legs. I was too young to even remember those days.
Or how it would feel, just once, to be excited about swimsuit season as an adult.
And eventually, my left knee will far apart. I will need a full replacement.
Another surgery. Another scar.
So to track any changes, once a year, I strip down to next to nothing and stand in a cold room, holding sidebars while strangers document every angle of these broken legs.
Then I sit down with a brilliant orthopedic surgeon who tells me the imperfect truth.
I’m still not strong enough.
I need to stretch more.
I will never have perfect legs, or a perfect walk, or be able to run much.
And so this is real life.
I post this as a reminder that social media is a thief and a liar.
You see too many pretty pictures and not enough raw ones.
You scroll through hundreds of images a day and out of those, only a handful highlight the uncomfortable parts of life. We don’t show off the scars and the pain, because society tells us to only promote the fun – the fashionable – the fancy – and the fabulous.
So for those who care and for those reading this – just know I am showing the raw because there is no reason to be ashamed.
If you are following accounts that make you feel bad about yourself – unfollow them, including mine. If you find yourself feeling sad when you look at someone else’s feed – remember this picture.
Social media is a liar and thief.
It will tell you the grass is greener.
It is not.
It will steal your confidence and joy because it will tell you that you’re not good enough.
And when you step back and remind yourself of the liar and thief in the room – you will look at those perfectly posed pictures so differently.
Because you will know the truth.
Real-life looks like this …