10 Reasons Why my Facebook Life is Fake

We all are guilty of taking 51 shots on our iPhones in order to get that one selfie that makes us look incredibly skinny, pretty and oh so perfect! That is the lure of publishing our lives on social media, we are finally in control of our lives that in reality we have no control over what so ever. So here it is folks, the really bad selfie of me!

Alan and Ami's bdayI am imperfect.    We all are.  Yet I feel social media is the perfect medium to allow our imperfect beings to show a false reality of what we really want to be seen…I admit it, right here, right now I fall into this category.  In the depths of loving the selfie taking, word choice moments that may have formed an unrealistic vision of who I really am, I want to call myself out, to let you see a glimpse of true reality.

I’m sorry if you feel lied to but this is really who I am…

1.  A divorced woman.  Yup.  I failed at marriage the first go around.  Indeed, my ex and I are still friends, we chose kindness not hate.  But we are still not one.  We are left nothing but..painfully divorced as a couple.  Leaving my two older sons with a mom and dad who didn’t keep to our original marriage vows, who are scattered amongst the wreckage of the rest of the world.

2.  I am an author.  I get to tell amazing stories for a living.  Yet in order to do so, I have lived a lifetime of hardships that allow my words to flow from my ache-ridden heart the way that they so fluently do.

3.  I have lived with a painful eating disorder.  I have posted pictures of a skinny skeleton of myself from my past with a story of the torture that comes with being so thin.  There is always at least one in the crowd who tells me how “great” I looked.  Yes, it looks great to live on 400 calories a day and to succumb to the pain that comes with the pressures of perceived perfection.

4.  I have no clue what I want to be in this life…still.  I’m 41 years old and have no idea what I’m going to be when I grow up.  Most women at my age can identify with being a stay at home mom, or having a career.  I am still in-between and after a few unpredicted situations of having to take a late stand in life against abusive people, I am still finding out just who I am and where I am supposed to be.

5.  I have a child who is leaving and one who is just starting out.   My oldest son of four children is getting ready to go to college and I am so very proud, beyond belief!  Yet, accepting he is leaving my nest is more difficult than I could have ever imagined.  I want to chase after him every time he comes home this last year he is under my roof and give him one last hug, just in case he should forget what it feels to have my arms wrapped around his neck.  Yet…I have a baby girl who I have dreamed of having my whole life who is just three years old.  She is just starting out, the breath of life is fresh and every new discovery is a light in her eye.  As much as I embrace it, there are times I wonder what it would be like to be simply saying goodbye to the teenager who begs for freedom, not starting all over again.  A sign that we are never truly content with what we have, are we?

6.  Depression, it hunts me down when I least expect it.  Ins and outs.  Ebbs and flows.  It always finds me.  End of story.

7.  I’m a figure skater.  I always wanted to be on the ice, and made the dream come true at the age of 30.  But by choice not by recognition of simply wanting to be something I wasn’t.  And  I’ve fallen more than I’ve landed.  I have more bruises than pretty dresses.  Anything worth while comes with hard work that is unthinkable to most…

8.  I have a love-hate relationship with any form of alcohol.  Being an ultra-controlling Virgo, I absolutely hate the idea of anything controlling me.  Submersed in the freeing feeling of one too many martinis I have to ask myself, is this where I really want to be?  Numbing the difficult day away, or truly feeling it through good times and bad?  Scrolling along on social media all we see is ways “wine” is the only solution to a difficult day, yet is that really any kind of a solution?

9.  I don’t speak to my father.  Because it is healthy.  And that alone hurts.  Way more than I ever lead on.

10.  My husband and I aren’t perfect.
  We take date night selfies.  We post our dinner recipes for the night, and show you our children’s pretty faces, but please know that we do fight.  We clash.  We are at odds, more than we’ll ever let you know.  But if anything in my life that is imperfect, my marriage is the one thing I’m the most proud of because no matter how flawed I am, no matter how much I struggle to find balance, my husband chases that dream with me.  And he perfects my imperfections with his own struggle, and he forces me to see my beauty more than any single human being ever has.  Simply what we all truly need in this life is that one person who has our back.  And that is what I don’t say enough on social media, that I’m flawed, I hurt, but through it all, I have a partner who is too.  He holds my hand and says, “we will make it through the struggle…together.”

The Daughters and Me

Recently, I went to a Christian woman’s conference hoping to make some new friends. Little did I know I’d end up spending the weekend with some pretty amazing millennials.

13131540_1767702466809038_6790292382361851216_oThe term daughter can bring an uncertain sting to a girl who has begged and pleaded for an eternity to be loved by the hand that created her.  At the feet of their own father they cry out, “love me, see me, want me.”  But when their cries are fruitless there is a question of validity and an intense breach of trust being forged and often the opening of a lifetime wound.

Recently I attended a women’s conference called Shine in which I was so excited to go to I could barely stand it.  Then as it approached I became more and more filled with the fear that haunts us when we least expect it.  The foreboding that can hold us back from greatness.

I found myself afraid because I was going to this mega celebration…alone.

My mother always taught me that going at something alone is brave, that it builds character.  I’ve tested this theory, this life lesson. I’ve gone to a movie alone, dinner party of one, Starbucks with yours truly, simply to see if anyone would actually see me.  And guess what, never once did anyone care that I was in fact, this huge big smile sitting at a table alone.  Nope, no one cares.  Because we are all so inside ourselves our own complicated mess of complications.

And this created an inner dialogue that was so intense.  God would say to me: why do you care that you are alone?  For you have me and I created this interestingly smart woman who has all the potential in the world.

Even when I didn’t want to hear it.  He was there telling me that I was enough.  That I do not need other people to validate me because I am well…in fact a Daughter.

That may be easy to accept when the people who are supposed to validate you, don’t do their jobs.

But often times they don’t.  Our fathers, mothers, sisters and brothers can leave us unloved and dry of life-sustaining water for years upon decades.  And when that happens waiting on God to provide at a huge women’s conference where everyone going is there with a stunning woman on their arm is somewhat…daunting.

I almost didn’t go.

God asked me, “Why are you doubting?”

I paused.  And He read my heart singing:

Seek Bravery, not Fear.

But I’m scared to be alone.  I hate not being accepted.  I’m insecure even though I may seem larger than life.  I am a facade.

No~you are greater than any comparison you will conclude and I will show you as long as you believe, have faith, and go at it alone.

Yet God knowing me, truly reading that I am not the “alone” girl I had been in the child of my past I received a text from an extraordinary young woman later that day.

She said she wanted to sit with me at Shine.

Twenty-three years my junior I wasn’t sure.  My inner insecurity said,
“Don’t ruin her fun.”
“You are old.”
“You aren’t, hip, yo.”
“You aren’t good enough.”
“You should be alone because no one really loves you.”

Against my inner demons I texted back,

I’d love that.

And so I embarked on a life-changing weekend sitting with the daughters of our future, the difference makers of the days ahead.  The future mothers, friends, wives, leaders, lovers of life that are about to embark on the truth they are being called into.

I can say there is a lot to be spoken of spending time with the generation that follows you.

Looking at the youth ready to face their own opportunities I relished in the excitement their eyes reflected back at me as they shared the call they felt were on their lives.

I met amazing young woman number one who has aspirations of becoming an author and public speaker.

Inspirational strong young woman number two wants to be a midwife specializing in women experiencing miscarriage or stillbirth.

Dynamite girl number three aspires to be a worship pastor, one of the most captivating ways to meet God.  And~has a calling on her life to write her life story which involves a broken relationship with her father.

Okay, for those of you who don’t know me, get ready for some provision…

I’m a best selling author and a national public speaker who has spoken in front of thirty thousand people.

I have lost two baby boys, one at eighteen weeks gestation and one at twenty-three both due to chromosomal abnormalities.

And lastly, my oldest son leads worship, touching thousands with his passion and fervor for both music and well…God.  And I also have a horribly broken relationship with my father that guts me every day.

Wait…What?!?!

And I thought I was going to this thing by myself?!  Are we ever truly alone in this life as long as God is in charge? Resoundingly NO!  Our life story runs through and through with a beautiful symphony of a song that weaves in and out past the years of pain and conclusion.  It is beauty.  It is God.  It is a community of women.  It breaks barriers of age, judgment, and class.  Yet only if we let it.  These girls welcomed me and we soaked each other up like precious water after a hundred year drought.

We can learn a little from the youth, can’t we ladies who have lived a little life?

My weekend ended on a high.  After I left my girls I paused and decided that I needed to get a few “selfies” with my date for the weekend.  Me.

In that, I met two amazing women (a little closer in age to me this time) who had attended the conference together and then an amazing conversation took place.  I told them that I came alone. But am leaving knowing I’m never alone, that no matter the demographic or the anticipation, God gives you what you need and what is needed from you.

I told them that it doesn’t matter who I am or what I’ve done that without togetherness it doesn’t work.
I shared with them that I wrote a little book called, The Return to Happiness.

One of the girls said she knows several women who have suffered pregnancy loss and would love to connect them with a resource such as my book.

I cried out, knowing I had been alone losing my babies yet when women unite, it is always better together, stronger, and far more powerful.

I made new friends in that moment and left the weekend behind filled to the rim with love, community, and possibility.

Yet I left with the youth deeply embedded on my heart.

The daughters and I worshiped, loved, and learned from one another far from fear of lost trust, abandonment or pain.  Yet gave us more than we could have ever anticipated.  Leaving us with an overwhelming joy and praise blanketing us all, knowing that we are in fact better together.  Forever.

The Roadmap

Recently after being offered a “great” job at a cosmetic surgery and medical spa my eyes were left wide open to an array of disturbing things that women (and men) do to try and hide the appearance of aging. This is my short lived experience in this world…

12299291_1706064462972839_7662594365277638010_nHaving no clue whatsoever that I’ve gotten older physically, mostly because, I’ve rejuvenated myself on the inside, turned the clocks back and have found a new me…I was recently in for the shock of my middle-aged life.

Oddly, it was brought to my attention that I have what they term as, “laugh lines”.  The complete and total joke of the name ‘laugh lines’ is the interpretation of that catch phrase.  Because apparently “laugh lines” are a bad thing!  Who freaking knew that a laugh could be negative?  Only our society, right?

Recently after being offered a “great” job at a cosmetic surgery and medical spa my eyes were left wide open to an array of disturbing things that women (and men) do to try and hide the appearance of aging.

…This is my short lived experience in this world:

Innocent cosmetic surgery worker after studying my face: “You can have those filled in, you know?”

Me:  “Um, what?”

“The lines around your mouth.  It’s what makes you look older.  They are called laugh lines”

Me:  “Um, what?  I’m older?”  My mind is spinning.  What just happened??  I think I look fine, I mean I did my makeup really good today AND actually combed my hair!

Innocent cosmetic surgery worker:  “You may have some prominent frown lines too.”

Me: Um what?

“Yeah, the lines on your forehead, they completely show your age.”

Me: “And what exactly is my age?”

(Yeah, she didn’t answer that one.)

And for a second or two, I can’t answer that one too because I don’t live a life obsessed with numbers.

Innocent cosmetic surgery worker:  “Your eyes look tired and you have the lines on the side of them.  They’re called ‘crow’s feet and It ages you, but you are really ‘pretty’.”

Me: Okay this is getting “old”.

~Am I the only person who laughed yet cried a little at that joke?

“An injection can fill it up quick, then BAM you look younger!”

Me:  And you have had all this stuff done?  (Having no clue how old this person is by her picture perfect face.)

“Yup, I have!”  She proudly declares.

Me:  And how exactly old are you?

She blushes, “Twenty-Six.  But, I hope I look as good as you at your age. “

Yeah right, you think I look old and tired!

Me:  Running for the door-busting through it so hard it shatters into a million microcosmic pieces that I’m sure are still floating somewhere in the confines of space.

Let me be clear, crystal clear.  Unrefined, flawless diamond clear, because my rebuttal to twenty-six year old cosmetic surgery worker is:

*Laugh lines say I’ve found joy in my life.  So much accounted for overwhelming sunshine has blanketed me that I would never trade a laugh line in exchange for one of those giggles that escaped me as the exuberance of rejoicing evolved into a song such as laughter.

*Frown lines tell me I’ve met sorrow in my life-journey.  I’ve embraced it, not abolished it.  Welcomed its cry in the dark of the night, because that is how beguiling sadness is.  It gets you when you least expect it.  But it has the ability to work even more powerfully than the elation found in life, because if you don’t know what it is like to weep how can you truly find the return to happiness?

*Crows feet indicate to me that I have actually listened to the people I love in this life.  Are you familiar with the contortion your face makes when you are intently listening to a beautiful and heartbreaking story a dear friend is telling you?  Then you hug her neck so hard it hurts.  Isn’t this what life all about, reacting in the moment that we are presented with?  It is for me, as none of us are guaranteed a tomorrow and I chose to seize the day.  Unfortunately, life does not come with a warranty and if said life calls for me to ugly cry with a friend,  I’ll take the crows feet with honor and pride.

I vowed long ago that a mirror would never dictate to me my true reflection to the world.  So why would an aging me be sold into the world of seeking something I’m not any longer: twenty-five.

And trust me that isn’t a bad thing.  That is what is SO wrong with our society!?  Why do we not embrace aging?  Why don’t we hug it tight like a gift we’ve been given after precedence in the dark yearning to taste freedom after living in a prison of self-doubt and body shaming?

Why do we desire so deeply to look like we did when we were 25 at age 41?

How many women who have gone before us didn’t get to blow out those 41 candles on their birthday because they were taken too soon?  How many mothers left their babies unexpectedly and didn’t get to see them grow older?  How many people tragically weren’t able to embrace the beauty of aging due to an abrupt end of their life?  Tell their souls you feel “old” because you don’t look like you did twenty years ago and feel the universe shudder in response.

I want to be remembered for how I made people feel not how I look.

I want to leave the footprint of my perfect imperfections for they ultimately are my beginning and my end.

Our flaws make us who we are and I think that is why they are so sought after to cover up at any cost.  NO one wants to stand naked in front of the world stating, “I’m messed up!”  In the super crazy social media, mass information age we have the choice now to portray what we want to the world, not necessarily what we truly are.  Yet, our missteps, our disparage is what has the stronger ability to make us more relatable.  More real, more human.  It is in imperfection that others can find our true self.  Not in a false beauty we chose to show, it has never worked that way, why would it now?

I love the lines that are apparently spread all over my face.  After this recent revelation I cherish them more, try to hide them less and shout from the rooftops that “I am so blessed in this life!”  I have lived four decades of love, loss, beauty, heartache, and a great big mixture of it all!

My face will show you that each roadmap of fine lines lead you to a different destination I was meant to arrive at.  And every smooth patch will be taking me on a new adventure that I have yet to go on.

I am striving to be authentic.  A life free of fillers and Botox, the fake precedence some feel is needed to survive as a woman in this life.  I’m fine with taking my chances on what it real, for I find more beauty in the fine lines of life more than the smooth ones.  The jagged times have taught me how to navigate heartache, earn resilience, and flourish.

Smooth is easy.  Youth is bliss, yet aging is a brilliant and stunning gift.  And I accept that precious treasure as if it were the reflections of pure gold at the bottom of a river chasing the sea.