A Post for Melancholy Social Media Mavens (#31writenow, #nablopomo)
by P. Braithwaite
I’m writing this the night before my vacation. I’m going to a beautiful island. I’m staying at a nice resort. I’ll be spending my birthday with my brother and sister-in-law. I’m predicting a spa day and a black girl tan. These are all very good things. When I was 10, I would never have thought that I’d be vacationing with my brother and his wife. My brother and I went years without any real relationship.
It’s amazing what time and maturity can do.
So I’m excited, but I’m also a little sad.
In the age of Facebook and Instagram or Twitter and 4square, there’s a tendency to lead with the most appealing face. There’s a tendency to only meet the world with smiles. There’s temptation to construct an identity with an air of “I’m so cool.” Today, I’m choosing to keep it real.
I’ll resist the urge to Instagram pictures in a pink bikini. I’m actively resisting the urge to drown out my less flattering feelings with an obscene barrage hashtags, smiley faces, and rap lyrics (#teambirthday #teamtravel #teamimonvacation) I resist the urge to use my outward location as symbol or statement of some deeper inner state.
Because the truth is, it’s not.
So yes. I’m excited to be spending my birthday on an island. Three months ago I said “all I wanna do is spend my birthday on a beach,” and with very little planning and the wave of my magic wand…I will do exactly as I planned (weather permitting). Trust me, I appreciate my blessings. So today, I’m grateful and happy, but I’d be lying if I didn’t say I’m also nostalgic, disillusioned and even a little sad. And writing this makes me feel a little silly.
It’s amazing what a difference a year makes.
My point? We’re allowed to feel everything inside of us. I’m not saying we should wallow, nor am I saying we should splatter all our sadness on social media (no one wants to read all that). But We’re allowed to be conflicted and complex. We’re allowed to have peaks and valleys. Feeling a little sad doesn’t make us ungrateful, and feeling grateful doesn’t mean we can’t feel sad. There’s more to any of us than meets the eye (or blog or tweet). There’s magnificence in the complexities, nuances of what we feel.
So today, as I prepare for the birthday gifts the universe has granted me, I give myself another gift: I humbly accept myself just as I am. I give myself room to feel everything I’m feeling — and give those emotions space to breathe.
If you’re feeling something a little bit uncomfortable, don’t resist it. Make peace. It’ll pass. I promise. It’ll be carried out to sea and wash up on a distant shore.
Hopefully a different one from where I plan to get my birthday tan.