Cats Out of the Status.
My sister is getting married.
Bam. There it is. The cat is out of the fricken bag. And I gotta say, kudos to her now fi·an·cé for the epic New Years surprise. It looks like this new year has already decided to get interesting. The story is not mine to tell, but I will divulge that there was a gazebo, an asher cut ring, and zero makeup. Which satisfies my romantic comedy sweet tooth pretty damn well. I'm not much of a diamond gal myself, but for some people it just looks right. My sister is one of those people. She has the manicured fingers fit for a rock. I have tiny ambidextrous paws that rarely see anything but an opal ring or white nail polish. Needless to say, the hand was ready for the ring. And so was my mother. As any traditional mother would be, my mother enthusiastically and relievingly was the one to FaceTime announce the engagement to me.
Pause for head shaking. I am beyond blessed to know my mother will have every detail of our weddings well looked after, but to anyone with an outgoing ITALIAN mother, I trust you understand what is to come. That said, with all the Dom Perignon flowing and the obligatory ring photos being taken, something happened amongst all the celebration that struck me.
My father posted the photo to FaceBook.
Seems harmless right? Apparently not. In short, the announcement had not yet been published to the internet, and though the intent was purely parental praise and adoration, the flood of comments and texts that bombarded my sister was enough to cause a little reaction. Voices were raised, feelings were hurt, and just like that, the twinkly bubble of the marital bliss was popped. Long story short, apologies were made. All was forgiven. The leak encouraged the flood, and the flood was enough for my sister to accept that someone else breaking the news was actually a small blessing. So following suit, we all were given the ok to post away.
Now here's why this struck me. It wasn't the primal gathering of sharing happy news or the flare up of a family members mishap, it was the effect that POSTING had on the people involved. This notion has stuck with me for quite some time. It is why I deleted all my social media outlets for the past few months. No, I did not deactivate, mostly for the sake of work, but the release and freedom of not wanting to know what everyone else is doing, let alone needing to share what I am doing, is AMAZING. The fact that the majority of our lives are public and shared. The fact that we don't consider something in our lives to be official until it's staring back from a screen. Look, I am not about to preach and condemn anyone who has a strong or even mild online presence, but I am going to point out a little truth that I feel has been diluted with the ongoing App additions. The truth is this:
The internet does not validate the experiences that we post about.
Let me break it down:
Up until about nine years ago, social media with all its bells and whistles, merely existed as a departure from our daily lives and as a means to connect. Now, it is our daily lives and seemingly the only way to really connect. Sure we use our cell phones and emails, but aren't we all guilty of SnapChatting, direct messaging, and status posting simultaneously to most likely recurring people in one sitting? [Guilty as charged.] The quality and content is pretty much moot at this point. But this isn't a rant about the quality and quantity of our posting lives. This is merely to point out my original observation. There was once a time where we didn't post everything. There was a time where our experiences were reserved for us and the ones in the proximity of our choosing. There was even a time when the looming anxiety of the likes/comments/reactions/and followup messages had no affect over the creation of our memories. But these are apart of our memories now: The experience, then the post.
I hugged my sister good night and offered my final congrats of the night. When she looked at me and mentioned the incident, I told her to brush it off. I reminded her what I am attempting to remind you of right now:
Enjoy your experiences as they are happening. Reveal yourself in the way you feel the best about. And don't worry about the opinions, judgments, or timing of your explorations because at some point or another, because of this day and age, it will be documented. So take charge and enjoy the documentation, do not let the documentation take charge of you.
...Because there's a little computer programming asshole (ok, a bazillionaire mega asshole) who is sitting on a beach somewhere living his fabulous life, as we all sit here staring at our screens. And though I offer my kudos to the creators of these wicked portals, there is an importance in remembering that special moments are special because we are living them. The validation and the experience does not grow from the likes and comments, but from the feelings and sensations of the present. Isn't that why they call the present a gift or something...? (Ba-da-cha.)
My sister had the right idea all along. And it wasn't until the post that this notion was realized. The high of the post is fleeting, but the high of the experience buries itself in our souls. And isn't a tangible timeline much more fabulous than one you have to have a password for?