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Reading Between the Pines: The misconception of perfection


By Stacie Chadwick

I’ve always been a glass half full kind of person with a world view that skews toward the brighter side of life. Now, thanks to the northern light-like glow of filters, editing, and effects, that perspective is exponentially enhanced. Sort of.

Too often, we present our perfectly angled poses to the world and broadcast them on a social media stage that allows us to tell our story in our voice to our audience. The beautiful vacation. The accomplished children. The enviable life. And yet, so much of it is fiction.

So, I’m gonna get real.

Last summer, my husband and I took our three children to dinner to celebrate our 30th wedding anniversary. I was tired, (what brilliant mind paired teenagers with menopause?) and as argumentative voices grew louder from the back seat, my fuse shortened in the front.

As we pulled up to the restaurant, my husband frustrated, me exhausted, and the kids oblivious, I lost it. In a full-on meltdown no filter could fix, I told the kids to walk two blocks to McDonald’s for dinner, and I refused to go into the restaurant. For reasons both inside and outside our car, ones that had everything and nothing to do with its occupants, I completely shut down.

I questioned the decision to bring the kids at all. I mean, they weren’t even there when we got married and really? Why did we feel the need to have so many of them?

As I cried, my husband began to put the pieces of our celebration back together. He pulled the kids aside and whispered threatening words of wisdom that changed their course. He wiped away my tears and reminded me why, 30 years ago, we decided to start this journey together in the first place. We made our way to the table, started creating memories instead of ruining them, and the night ended on a high note.

And that’s the point in time I showed the world, via Facebook, the next day. Our best side. The happy family. The ideal minus the real.

No one’s perfect. Not you. Not me. I love meaningful moments, yet I wonder how much deeper life could be if we shared the backstory behind the fairytale ending. If we sometimes connected through our misses, not just our hits, and removed our carefully placed filters to expose our messy and complicated, yet beautiful selves.

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