Something’s been nudging me to reveal some truths about our honeymoon ever since I posted a picture from it for our two-year anniversary this past February. I wish I could ignore the prodding and just leave people to assume that we enjoyed the most perfect honeymoon full of only romance and carefree bliss. However, leaving people under those assumptions wouldn’t just be boring and unbeneficial; it would be downright deceptive.
Instead, I’m going to use our honeymoon as an example of how misleading social media can be because in all likelihood, if I came across some of the images we managed to get of ourselves on someone else’s account, I’d likely get sucked into the comparison game, wasting precious time convinced that her life, marriage and emotional state are all superior to mine and so somehow, her worth as a person outweighs my own. It’s all a dirty little mind trick that social media can expertly execute by allowing us to conceal our flaws and vulnerability behind a screen.
It might seem that by allowing us to exhibit only the aspects of our lives that we’re proud of, social media serves to increase our self confidence or even acceptance of and respect for one another. However, as I’ve been learning more and more recently, it’s through admitting our vulnerability, faults and failures that we are united with one another and reassured that, “we’re all broken but we’re all in this together,” as Matt Maher reminds us.
Social media, however, encourages the sharing of anything but our brokenness. For example, a struggling new mom will likely post darling pictures of her brand new bundle and insist-agram that motherhood fits her like a glove. Meanwhile, behind the screen, she’s so exhausted she can barely hold the cereal box to pour herself some dinner; she’s in tears every time she nurses her baby because breastfeeding feels like nipple crucifixion; and she’s struggling to distinguish the faint line between baby blues (hang in there, lady) and postpartum depression (you need help).
Don’t get me wrong: I melt over newborn pictures just as quickly as the next girl (or adorably sensitive guy) and keeping friends and family members connected is one of the major pros of social media. The problem is when these carefully selected glimpses into other people’s lives tempt us to question our own worth and abilities.
As blogger Cheryl Zelenka explains, “Suffering unites us all. Each person has experienced pain. Therefore, we can compassionately connect with others through this common bond.” Of course, times of joy can also serve to bring us closer to one another and should absolutely not be discounted as meaningless. We were created for joy, which is why we find ourselves constantly chasing and grasping at those things we believe will bring it to us.
The tough times, however, are what ultimately give way to our experiences of happiness. If all our days were joyful, none of them would be. The deeper our capacity for pain, the more expansive our experience of joy.
So in light of putting an end to pretending that everything is always picture perfect, and with the permission of my exceptionally easygoing spouse, here are some untold truths about our honeymoon. Although it was an absolutely phenomenal nine days, like everything else in this life, it fell short of perfection.
We spent an entire afternoon fighting.
Looking back, it’s funny but, like most fights, it was deeply painful at the time. We ignored each other for hours, both refusing to swallow our own pride and approach one another in openness to hear the other’s version of what had happened. When we did finally speak to each other, we used cruel words, intentionally cutting one another down because like many newlyweds, we hadn’t yet learned how to argue productively. Like I said, deeply painful. But you don’t see the remnants of that pain in the picture.
We spent lots of futile hours looking for a lost necklace we never found.
My husband’s grandmother had given him a gold chain and we tore our room apart looking for it. To make things more complicated, we both possessed extremely amateur Spanish skills and since we were honeymooning in the Dominican Republic, communicating the situation to the hotel staff and asking for help was no easy undertaking.
This picture is posed. I know. Shocking.
Justin case you were thinking we spent hours upon hours in these Disney prince and princess poses and some admiring, peeping Tom happened to snap a pic and send it to us for keepsake purposes, think again. It was more like, “Excuse me, senior? Can you, um, photo, por favor? Gracias! Okay, what are we going to do? We have too many of us just smiling…”
I got in the pool once the entire trip.
I’m not a pool person. Call me crazy but the idea of submerging myself into water harvesting strangers’ urine, perspiration, and any other bodily fluid they choose to discard just doesn’t sit well with me. Saying that chlorine kills it is, to me, like putting antibacterial gel on a turd. It still a turd, my friend. It’s still a turd.
On top of that, I hate being cold so needless to say, pools and I generally agree to disagree. The pool at our resort was fantasy fabulous, complete with a swim up bar. Still I managed to get in only once the entire time and that was only after my husband spent the morning patronizing my repugnance of pools.
So there you have it… proof that one romantic picture of a couple honeymooners can be pretty deceptive. Next time you find yourself scrolling through your newsfeed feeling like other people are undoubtedly happier than you, remember that a single picture shows you less than a second of their life. There are countless other, far less glamorous seconds that don’t get posted, and those are what make us so beautifully human.