Who Are You People?

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Dear World,

These are two photos of my family. We’re just as happy as the photos convey. We often take long autumn walks to rustle in the leaves. We’re about as middle-class as our use of a professional photographer suggests. I’m Alana, the mom, and my hair always looks that good, because I’ve added an extra hour to the day in order to curl it just-so. Alex is my husband, and when he’s not playfully wrestling our son in the afternoon sunshine at the weekend, he’s usually at the gym or volunteering at the local homeless shelter. He works hard during the week, but always takes time to give me a candle-lit back massage before bed, and afterwards his favorite thing to do is talk and talk and talk to me about the ways of the world. Alistair is our son. He was born after 24 hours of incredibly easy labor, and his toddler years have been a dream. He always does exactly what he’s told, he’s a child prodigy by all accounts, and his favorite food is green beans. Thanks for getting to know our family, world —

Oh, screw it.

*wrinkles up paper and throws it in the trash*

Dear World,

These are two photos of my family. But my not my whole family….there are many people missing from those photos. My parents have to live apart due to my mom’s illness, with my mom in a group home, my brother is dead, my sister lives on the other side of the country and all of my husband Alex’s family live on the other side of the world. We see them once a year, if we’re really lucky. Most of the time it’s just us and my dad, who lives 5 minutes away. We hardly ever take family walks, because our weekends are a chaotic juggling act of who-goes-where-when and we’re hardly ever together as a unit. My hair never looks that good, and it’s only now that the academic year started again that I’ve stopped wearing yoga pants every day. My husband works so hard during the week, supporting us on one income, that talking is one of the last things on his mind at 10 pm on a Thursday (and I love discussion). Our son Alistair is the most lovable boy in the entire world. He subsists on frozen fish sticks, fruit snacks, mac and cheese, and whatever else we can convince him to eat.

The pictures above tell many truths about us, world. We live in an area where autumn can be beautiful. My husband is super playful with our son. We love scarves.

But if I wanted to find that scarf again, I’d have to dig through a garage so packed with boxes our car won’t even fit in there.

Portrayal is one thing;  reality is another. And with social media becoming a main form of communication , the lines between portrayal and reality are becoming increasingly blurred.

I go on Facebook and Instagram, on my phone, in bed at night in the dark. Every night, I scroll through before I roll over and fall asleep. I mostly use Facebook and Messenger to keep in touch with friends all over the world. And I love it for that.

But I can’t keep up with the ideals you seem to expect from me, world. Twenty years ago, I would have been blissfully unaware of what society considers my inadequacies.

But I just can’t do it all.

I’m Alana, and I am pretty good at some things. But I’m woefully inadequate at others.

And I think a lot of people are the same, even if the internet would tell us otherwise.

Love,

Me.

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One thought on “Who Are You People?

  1. Thank you for writing this. I’ve never commented before (that I can recall), but I enjoy reading your writing. I’m sure being in the student ward in Boulder is a distant memory but I enjoyed your company. 🙂

    Like

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