I'm 34 years old. I have been in a relationship for the past six years. I am also unmarried, and I have no kids. Too often, I scroll through Instagram and look at the endless women who are pregnant or who already have beautiful families. After trying to conceive for over two years, seeing other people's "haves" on the internet often makes me feel my "have nots" to an extreme. Every time I see a pregnancy announcement, or even an engagement—even though I am in no rush to get married—it makes me feel lesser. I get suck in a "Why not me?" mentality.
The Grass Is Always Greener
With this being said, it is important for me, and for all of us, to realize that many of the same people we are envious of may scroll through our own accounts and feel the same way. As though they are "not enough" because of things we do or have in our lives right now.
I have had many of those same women that I have been envious of, who are married with kids and/or pregnant, message me and tell me how they aspire to be like me. They wish they had more time to pursue their own dreams, as I have mine. Or better yet, they message me after I announced my battle with infertility and told me how long and how hard they struggled with infertility, too. Had I not shared my own struggles, I would have never known.People often paint a facade and a life of perfection on their social media. but I have found that gone are the days of people wanting to see a perfectly poised Instagram post—a contrived photo of woman sitting at a cafe in Paris sipping her latte accompanied by some vapid quote. These accounts ooze a lack of authenticity, and we can all see right through them. We've seen it a thousand times over and we are bored of it.
Life Is Messy
Real life is hard, and people are gravitating more towards the type of authentic accounts that show the good, the bad, and the ugly of it all—accounts where we can truly learn from and be inspired by.
This is why I have chosen to be more vulnerable in my posts over the last couple of years. Bringing vulnerability into my everyday life has helped me to create the most beautiful connections and the most incredible friendships. When I open up, my friends and followers end up sharing similar situations they have gone through. Opening myself up has helped me to realize that we all have something we are dealing with. We are not alone.
View this post on InstagramWhy do I see a photo of myself and my beauty is blurred by the unrealistic expectations of society today. I know I am attractive and I do love the way that I look, but even still, the first instinct I have when I see a photo of myself is to want to whiten my eyes and blur out the bags under my skin and hide any wrinkle and age spot and essentially, any sign of life and joy I have experienced that is written on my face. I think, I need to shrink my nose, just a smidge... is it normal to have a shadow between my nose and cheek? Are my eyebrows too light? Why are we expected to have the skin of a child, impossibly tiny noses, and hopelessly plump lips...? This photo was taken of me at the @fridakahlo exhibit this weekend in Mexico City and Frida's beauty was so real and raw that it took my breath away. Frida had a unibrow and hair on her upper lip. Her nose was striking and pronounced and her body perfectly imperfect, as she had uneven legs from both polio and surgery from an accident. But not only with her “flaws", but because of these “flaws", her beauty was so real that seeing a photo of her sent shivers down my spine. It made me want to be as real and raw and beautiful as she.
A post shared by Jaclyn Genovese
(@jaclyngenovese) on Jan 29, 2020 at 12:01pm PST
Being vulnerable can be scary. But at the end of the day, everyone wants to feel connected. At first, it might make us feel like we are going to be judged, but if you push past that vulnerability can bring a real connection to others and a love for ourselves. Being vulnerable is ridding yourself of who you should be and simply being who you are. Isn't that what we are all aiming for in life? To confidently be our true selves?
Instead of concentrating on the negatives, those unmet goals, in my life, I have made a decision to celebrate what I do have and work on moving forward with the things that I want.
I was never the problem; it's comparison that is the true thief of joy!
This article was originally published February 2, 2020.