We’re light on the ranchy stuff this week, since we have been mostly inside with sick babes! But, you know, in addition to being ranchy, I’m also a mama and a person and all those things, and so I don’t think every post on here is going to be related directly to ranching, since that’s not my entire life.
Does everyone have a “Social Media Reality Check” awakening? I think it’s not just me, but I’m unsure whether or not it’s a widespread phenomenon or is limited to those of us who are slow on the uptake. I mean, we all see the “Don’t compare your life to someone else’s highlight reel,” “comparison is the thief of joy,” “you are fearfully and wonderfully made so be yourself”-type things, and the exposés about how much effort the big Instagrammers use to get those oh-so-candid shots, and the ridiculous lengths people go to in order to look good and “on” all the time.
But darn if it hasn’t just started to sink in for me. I don’t know if it’s because I’ve given up Facebook for Lent (maybe forever? Except the groups? How does one do that?), or the fact that it finally rained here last week and it woke up something in my soul because man that dust and wind will get you down, or a Bible verse or a new book or what, but I think I’m finally starting to understand.
Granted, it’s been a rough…half a year? Whole year? I don’t know. I’ve had a hard time with this move, as I’ve mentioned before, and finding my worth and getting into the swing of things (something that is a big part of my mental state) has felt so hard in this new place that I don’t love yet. Making new friends (friend dating gives me fits, btw. Why am I so awkward? Why can’t we just look at a gal and say “Hey, I’m hip to your jive, let’s be friends?” Or can I do that?), learning where things are, trying to feel sort of at home…it’s worn me out.
But you know, it’s okay that I don’t love it. I don’t have to love it. I don’t have to want to live here my entire life and sing with gusto about it from the rooftops (barntops?). Just because I don’t love it doesn’t mean I can’t like it, and grow here, nor does it lessen the love that others have for it. I do, however, have to appreciate and be thankful for what I can about it (the sunsets! No nosy neighbors! Wonderful people! Lower car insurance rates! Being able to be outside playing in the winter without being freezing!), and use my time here to help my future self, which for me means setting up or getting involved in some sort of business that I can take with us, since losing my job in the move was a big contributor to my feelings of inadequacy. I like to have a purpose outside of our family, and for me, raising children and being a wife is my best job, but it can’t be my only job.
Social media, though, has also contributed to those feelings, and I’m ashamed it’s gotten so far. I realized, with the help of the app I talked about a few weeks past on IG, how much time I have really been spending on social media and y’all, it’s not pretty. And I realized how damaging that’s been in this season.
So, in addition to adios-ing Facebook, lately I’ve spent time unfollowing. That feels strange, considering I want to grow my own following on IG, and it feels sort of like a breakup because there are accounts that I’ve followed on IG or on their blog for years. I feel like I know them, which is the magic of social media, but they no longer make me feel good, and sometimes they make me feel, well, bad, and it’s obvious that I’m not really part of the community they’ve built. Which is not on them, of course. Just because it works for someone else (hi, BBG and “clean eating” and those weird studded Valentino pointy shoes and overalls and overly opulent lifestyles and weird 90s bucket hats and cleanses) doesn’t mean it works for me, and that’s okay. Maybe in the future we can meet again but not right now. Unfollow, unfollow, unfollow.
Instead, I’m focusing on accounts that lift me up, or make me laugh, or make me think, or have great Bible verses, or feel aspirational in a way that’s inspirational instead of disheartening or completely unreasonable.
I’ve already felt a change, though. I’ve noticed it in how I’ve reacted to the boys being sick (I’m not stressed, I’m oddly zen about it), and how my mindset has changed about my side hustle (“I’m worth it, I’m qualified, it’s a good idea, it has a place, and it will take time to get off the ground but it’s worth it and I can do a really, really good job and make some money”). I think it’s also helped me react better to a situation in which someone was being little silly and unkind, and where I would have been angry or offended before, I chose not to take it personally, because the way someone reacts to a situation is a reflection of them, not me.
I’m not sure why I wrote this other than this is the sort of thing that speaks to me when I see it. Like yeah, I’m a ranch wife and a mama and a (budding) business owner, and I spend so much time raising my boys and trying to be the best wife I can and cooking and sweeping and cleaning and sweeping and also sweeping. But I’m also a person, an autonomous unit unto myself with interests and worries and hopes and dreams. And juggling all of those roles in this uber-connected world we live in can be so hard, especially when you see the gals who seem like everything is perfect. Or the ones that show a “real life” shot every now and then that feels so token it’s not even funny. Really, totally, unfunny.
Also, Brene Brown (and Jen Hatmaker and Tsh Oxenreider and Jamie Ivey and all those other amazing women I look up to) tells me I need to be more vulnerable, which is a word that actually gives me the shivers (like “moist” does for a lot of people), but when I hear her talk about it, she’s got a point. I mean, heck, even IG and Facebook have changed their algorithms to foster “community” and the only community I want to be part of is a real one, and I believe that can exist online if we let it.
And can we please let it? Because my closest friend live like a power of ten miles away.
Happy Thursday! Both of my children are napping, the sun is shining, and I’m spending some time on work and the Word before the chaos of dinner ensues, while also praying that we don’t have to go back to the doctor tomorrow.