It’s been twelve days, and still no cable or internet.
Because I have the attention span of a four-year-old, I’ve been flipping through my old journal while at church. I sort of love doing this every so often, and I usually find some gems in there. Yesterday I found a journal entry from a Bible study with some dear Young Life friends, and it was centered around images. Or more precisely, image management. It really focused on the idea of images we project into the world, what they say about us, and what they say about God. Often, how we see others is a reflection of how we think God sees us. And it sort of goes both ways. We work super hard to carefully craft and maintain a given image – whether it’s that of a working professional, or perfect housewife, or easygoing athlete. We take on personas that appeal to us – we aim to appear like who we want to be. We spend time on social media maintaining these images, and time clothing ourselves in respective hipster glasses or ugg boots. We become walking billboards for a certain image – that of a runner, or mom, or academic. The pressure to maintain a certain image is hard to escape from, if not impossible.
And I’m completely guilty of it. I’m sitting at a cafe, with my macbook (the universal computer of bloggers) and a re-useable tumbler, suggesting that while I am willing to spend an unreasonable amount of money on technology, I still ‘care’ about the environment. With these props in front of me, I send a clear message to those who walk by about who I am, while simultaneously isolating myself and making it difficult for a stranger to approach me or get to know me. Another example? This photo I posted to instagram last week. My caption was something to the effect of “the only finished area of the apartment”. Which is true – the rest of the apartment was a jumble of boxes, those cabinets were empty, and all of the plates were still packed. But hey, look how cute it is, and gosh, isn’t my life the greatest? That’s what I projected, whether I meant to or not. (In my defense, it took me an entire hour to assemble the confusing Ikea rod system, and Joe wouldn’t even help me. He mentioned something like ‘character building’. I was darn proud of it when I finally finished the installation.) So I broadcasted to my fellow instagrammers that my kitchen sink is perfect. And because they can’t see the rest of the apartment mess, they can infer that the rest of my life is that beautifully organized. Which is totally and completely false.
I sometimes struggle with this blog and my feelings on image management, because I want to be authentic, and I never want to project of false sense of perfection in my life. There’s a difficult balance between protecting myself and being an open book. I don’t always get it right, and I often lean too much on the side of projecting only the pretty images of my life. What I want to focus on more is sharing the good with the bad, the beauty and the beast. Because at the end of the day, we’re all just doing our best, and I’m still trying to figure out how to keep plants alive.