I got my fourth tattoo the other day. It's a tree on the back side of my left arm about an inch or so above my elbow. It's beautiful and simple and exactly what I wanted. It's been so long since I got my last tattoo that when I laid down in the chair and gave the artist reign over my arm I was suddenly reminded of the not so pretty parts of it all..
When you look up tattoo designs and ideas you don't read a lot about the pain. It's not often that you come across the beautiful pictures and creative pieces accompanied by an outlined article about the sting of the instrument and the often not so pretty healing process.
I think social media is often like that. It's a portrait into the beauty, the whole and the healed places of people's lives. It's a snapshot of their joy, insight into their most happy places but very rarely is it a reflection of their pain in the process or the healing that comes before the joy.
I'm definitely guilty of this. In the past I've posted photo after photo of my time traveling and working abroad. I shared with my friends the time I met the Pope and traveled to the Dead sea and to Cuba, without hesitation. What I didn't share was the time I cried myself to sleep from loneliness or all of the priceless and irreplaceable moments I missed being away from home or the experiences that broke my heart and rocked my core.
I follow people on Instagram that seemingly have the perfect life. They seem to be debt and problem free, in perfect relationships and without fail always on cloud 9. A trip through my timeline and feed, I've come to find, would unfortunately portray the same false reality to onlookers.
I think that despite our access to information and timelines and photo feeds we as a social media community are often more disconnected than connected. Disconnected from the vulnerability and freedom that comes from being open about the messiness of life. We're living in a world where we're bombarded with mostly smiles, planned pictures and the perfect snapshots of our friends lives.
I want to see your Sunday morning brunch and your sparkly smiles but I also long to see what your eyes look like after you cry and what it's like to walk through an imperfect moment in your shoes.
I recently wadded in a bit of the messiness of life. At the time I was fully immersed in filth and mud but a glance at the life I shared and promoted online didn't reflect that at all. As a blogger I want my platform to be authenticity. I want the life that I show online to be honest and genuine. Even if I'm not always comfortable sharing every detail of my situation I want to be open about times when I'm swimming with sea turtles and times when I'm barely staying a float.
It's been 10 days since I got my tree tattoo. 10 days worth of soreness and itchy skin. 10 days of excitement over a new piece of body art and annoyance over having to keep it moisturized and out of the sun.
Today, my lovely tree is almost completely healed. The scabbing has ceased and the tree that I was so eager to spend the rest of my life with is almost completely settled into my skin. Life, I think, is kind of like the process of a healing tattoo. It's not always pretty, there's some pain and impatience involved but in the end if you lean in to the process you end up with a work of art.
May we never lose sight of the process and the pain that often comes with it by only focusing on the pretty, on the destination. So here's step one of me saying and trying to implement in my life, that I want to see it all, not just the glitter but all of it