Hi. My name is Hilary and I have a pretty instagram feed.
I also live in a house with three children under the age of four whose primary mission in life is to fill my heart so full it could burst and to never nap at the same time. A man also lives here, for added effect. My days include toys and tantrums and toilets, endless coffee, loads of diapers and laundry.
Most days I don’t put on skinny jeans or bronzer. My hair is tied backed (shout out to my nine month old) and not in effortless waves that, you know, take effort. Last week I actually told my husband I couldn’t remember when I last showered. (His response: “Why don’t you go take a shower?” This is why I need him, folks. Such a wise man.)
Because I want to find the beauty in each day, and I want to hold tightly to that beauty.
Beauty is big sister and little brother holding hands, the way she understands his babble better than anyone else and the way he will do anything (anything) she tells him to do.
Beauty is the bowl of lemons on a clean counter, a giant jar of eucalyptus, a lit candle, Ed Sheeran’s “photograph” on repeat.
Beauty is a quiet house, the first sip of strong & creamy coffee and reading a chapter uninterrupted.
Beauty is the way my littlest looks wrapped up in a towel after his bath: pudgy toes poking out the bottom, skin smelling of warm honey and lavender.
Beauty is the time I put on extra mascara and a dress and enjoyed woodfire pizza and icy beer with my husband, ALONE.
You might see my picture, but I feel the moment: smells, sights, tastes, textures. And I don’t want those moments to disengrate in the busyness and botheredness of this season. I want to store these scenes in my heart and my phone — easily accessed at trying times. After a particularly difficult bedtime battle, I scroll through the memories (sometimes mentally, sometimes literally) and I remember the good and I grow grateful and peaceful.
There seems to be a general sense of angst towards social media among women, moms, milllenials. A sense that my house and body and children are not perfect like everyone else’s–and their perfection is ruining and running my life.
I think, maybe, if we are finding unrest in another’s beauty, it says more about us than it does about the other person.
Let me be clear here: no one has the perfect house, body, closet, child, job. There is no such thing, and even if you achieve your standard of perfection in one area, you want more in another area. That’s just one wonderful feature of being human.
I’m not saying I haven’t struggled against these forces either. It is why I am rarely on pinterest, constantly delete social media apps from my phone and recently took a one-month break from all social media. But now, when I see “perfect” pictures in my feed, I remember that a single square moment could not possibly represent all the dimensions of a person’s life. And most of those dimensions, frankly, are not my business. And you know what? I actually love those pretty pictures. They calm my brain, inspire my soul & create connectedness. That’s how I am wired: to be energized by aesthetically pleasing any and every things.
I have also learned that if there is a certain person I am following that seems to bring out feelings of angst (usually in one of the following categories: always perfect, always selling or always messy) — guess what I do? One click, folks, and you are free. However, I give most people grace, because I assume that just maybe their life is messy and mundane and amazing too? That they live in this same broken and beautiful and complicated world and that cannot be accurately represented in a square inch. Ever.
And, to be honest, scrolling through my feed would be a little depressing if it was full of everyone else’s dirty dishes, laundry piles, kids crying and sweaty selfies. Yes, this is real life. But I have enough “real life” going on over here and I love seeing the moments of beauty and connection that others find in their tough and tired and terrific days.
And you know what? When you started “following” me, you didn’t take a vow to put up with my WHOLE ENTIRE MESS AT ALL TIMES, right? I mean, my husband vowed to love my make-up free selfie for life, but my IG & FB friends don’t need that much information on a constant basis, or the privelege of knowing all my struggles, insecurities or that I have been sweeping our bathroom floor into the closet since we moved in, yet to bring a dustpan upstairs. (shock and awe emoji, y’all) I am all for authenticity, but also for knowing that some things are meant to be private, exclusive, ours. And that is okay.
And maybe we need to give each other more permission to filter out the noise, the disappointments, the dirty piles, the tired eyes. We all have them. Let’s focus on the beauty. And let’s not forget real life, real relationship & THE HUMANS WE LIVE WITH in all of our scrolling, pinning, liking.
So, beauty on, folks! No shame in creating, collecting and curating the things that make our heart happy.
Someone had to say it.