You really have no idea.
Last weekend I posted a quote on my Instagram story…
I hate it when people assume your life is easy just because you don’t talk about the shit you go through.
This single sentence seemed to strike a nerve with many of the women who follow my account. “That is so me,” and “1,000,000%,” wrote a couple followers, “Amen,” said another. I guess many of us have people assuming a lot of things about our lives just because we choose not to air our dirty laundry.
I’m not one who normally broadcasts my heartaches to the masses or worse, posts vague captions fishing for attention or compliments. Believe me, I’m not afraid of being honest and talking about the stuff that knocks me down, but I usually save this kind of crazy for the ones who are part of my inner circle. Those lucky ducks had no idea what they were signing up for when they decided to befriend me.
And just because some of us don’t wear our hearts on our sleeve doesn’t mean there isn’t an invisible hive of chaos chasing us. Everyone has shit going on in their lives. Some people are just better artists and can paint what looks like a picture-perfect life. Here’s the issue – judgements are made based on outsider information. Just because someone looks put together, posts great photos, and manages to keep up the Joneses doesn’t mean life is easy breezy. You can assume all you want, but you never truly know what’s going on in someone else’s world.
In a life that looks like a dream there might be an ailing parent, a struggling child, or an internal battle whittling away at one’s core. I’m sure some people are hiding fears and fragility behind a façade, but maybe others are just being cautious with what they’re letting the world know because they’re still wrapping their heads around it.
Being told, “Your life looks like a fairytale,” always makes me laugh because I assure you; it isn’t. I have a great life, and I’ve had adventures in some cool places, but a fairytale it is not. I just happen to be living my mostly ordinary and sometimes mind-numbing adulthood in a place that’s picturesque. Believe me, the scenery from my window growing up in the suburbs outside of Detroit wasn’t a snowcapped mountain, but a standalone Pizza Hut restaurant. My parents did all the same stuff my husband and I do today; we just happen to have a better view and must use Google translate to figure out what the hell is going on.
Many consider our family’s lifestyle as atypical. Which is fine, but atypical doesn’t translate into glamorous and carefree. I work my butt off. I cook food that doesn’t get eaten, rage clean, taxi kids, walk dogs, pick up poop, and go to the grocery store what seems like every damn day. I’m the mother of daughters who are frenemies and deal with their teenage drama, all while trying to dodge raging hormones and ‘if looks could kill’ glares. I truly try to be a good wife, some days I’m better at it than others. (Sorry, honey.) I go to the gym for the sake of my sanity and everyone else’s security, carve out time to write, and stretch myself to learn something new every day. I try not to be a terrible daughter and forget to call my parents every week even though the time zone difference sometimes makes it difficult. Basically, I’m just trying to keep our crazy train from going off the rails, and when that doesn’t happen; I lose my shit just like everyone else.
Being overseas does add another layer of silent stress to life. I miss events like birthdays, holidays and special occasions with my family and friends back home. I grieve alone without the closeness of the ones I love. I have anxiety about impending emergencies and being two plane rides and an ocean away. I rarely feel like I truly belong. I long for feeling rooted in a place I call home. And, selfishly, I miss doing errands on Sunday. (If you know, you know.)
Life is hard – Yours, mine, and theirs. I think it’s safe to say we shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, though I know it’s hard not to when we aren’t in the best place ourselves. Life is complicated and stressful enough; we don’t need to add a kicker of judgement just for fun. Besides, we have no evidence to prove our postulations one way or another. And it’s doubtful any of us would enjoy people making wild guesses about us. So, let’s all try to be nice and not assume anything about others. Like Oscar Wilde said, “When you assume, it makes an ass out of u and me.”