Janet Sumner Johnson
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The Hidden Reality

Jun 19, 2017 Uncategorized 2 comments

Last day of school.cropLast Thursday was my kids’ last day of school. I somehow managed to remember to take a picture, AND send a teacher gift. But I have words.

Because writing a sentence like that, everyone fills in all the blanks I left. Everyone tells their own story of my morning, without even realizing it, I would bet.

Maybe people will read that and think, “she has got it all together.”

Maybe they will imagine that it means I got up early enough to be dressed and showered and  make-upped.

Maybe they will imagine I made my kids a big ‘last-day-of-school’ breakfast consisting of bacon and scrambled eggs with spinach and other veggies, not to mention cut fruit (because that would be healthy of me, and I am clearly that kind of miracle-working mom).

Maybe they imagine I had those teacher gifts wrapped up in beautiful packaging and ready a week in advance.

Maybe they will imagine my kids smiling all morning and giving me plentiful hugs because I’m just such an amazing mom.

And maybe they might compare themselves to all that, and feel a little like a failure. Not quite good enough. And that is why I wanted to write this.

TriathlonCrop

I’m the one in the hot pink. Don’t I look lovely?

Because of course, none of those images would be right. Well, I did get up early to go jogging. But yeah, that shower? It never happened. So fix that showered, dressed, make-upped picture of me. I was in sweaty workout clothes that showed all my lumps. My face was red and blotchy (yeah, I totally get that way when I exercise), and boy, did I ever stink! My kids wouldn’t come anywhere near me, let alone give me a hug. (In fact, I may have threatened one of them with a hug if they didn’t hurry up and get dressed. Maybe. I can neither confirm nor deny this story).

And then there was the whining. Oh, the whining!! For the love of all that is cereal!!! Can we just stop!!!! (Yes, my exclamations increase with each iteration.)

Truth: the whining has been going on for years

Truth: the whining has been going on for years

And of course that frantic moment when I remembered. “TEACHER GIFTS!!! I forgot teacher gifts, AGAIN! Quick, write this card! Aren’t you done yet?? Now move people, we have to get to the store before school!”

And those leisurely pictures?

Oh yes, it was all quite lovely. Parenting at its finest. All the stuff we hide away from our super cute Facebook and Instagram posts. The beautiful packaging we put on for the world, so they don’t think less of us.

I’ve been thinking about this for a long time. I’ve listened to countless women compare themselves to what they perceive as reality.

And it’s not right. We all deserve better.

Which is why I decided to start a project this summer. It is an Instagram project that I am calling “The Hidden Reality.” (@the_hidden_reality). It is my attempt to share my own hidden reality with all of you. It is my way of telling you that you are good enough. That you are smart enough. And doggonit, people like you! (They do!)

For now, I just have the picture of my ridiculously messy desk (and yeah, it’s pretty much always that messy), but more are on their way!

And in the mean time, have an awesomely wonderful summer, secure in the knowledge that you are good enough!

P.S. I wrote this with mom’s in mind, but in truth, it applies to everyone. Any kids out there reading this, trust me . . . all your friends (and all those who are not your friends) are looking at others and comparing themselves. Sometimes people are mean because they don’t feel like they are good enough when they compare themselves to others–both adult-people and kid-people. I hope you are not one of them, because you know what? You don’t need to compare. You are good enough just being you. You can be nice to others without being any less of a person. In fact, it’s just the opposite . . . you are more of a person.

 

2 comments

2 Responses to “The Hidden Reality”

  1. Janet,
    I totally get what you are saying. I see photos of people on Facebook that seem to have a perfect life. And they always have beautiful selfies! My photos always look like someone just swiped a dirty diaper under my nose. UGH! I have not yet mastered the art of the selfie.

    I tend to not post anything when I get down or things go wrong. I guess I’ve always kept that kind of stuff to myself. Some people post everything.It’s just not how I cope with life.

    • janet says:

      Exactly! And I don’t mean to make anyone feel bad who does post only the good. It makes sense because it’s kind of like a scrap book. And I don’t really like sharing my dirty laundry with others, so I know I’m guilty of this, too. And I don’t even think we should all be sharing the worst of our lives all the time, anyway. But maybe I can lift a few people who are feeling like they’re not enough by laughing at all my hidden realities. So that is my goal.

      And haha about your selfies! It’s truly an art! (It usually takes me quite a few to get a good one, so I’m with you.)

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