ARE WE ALL ‘GONE GIRLS’?

I don't care. I still hate this phrase.

I don’t care. I still hate this phrase.

By Lisa Huddleston

I just finished reading the much acclaimed novel, Gone Girl, by Gillian Flynn, and all I can say is “Wow!” Not that it ended just as I would have hoped, but still, could there be a better book to represent who we are as people in this image-driven moment in time?

Don’t worry—I don’t plan to discuss the carefully twisted plot of the book and possibly ruin it for anyone who hasn’t read it or seen the movie—but I would like to take a few paragraphs to consider how like that girl many of us actually are. How much time do we spend contriving our public personas, crafting our profiles, and posting pictures that flatter the image we want the world to see while all the time we feel as though we can never truly be known or at least not truly known AND still loved?

Whew! Heavy, heavy stuff.

I have to confess to being guilty of sometimes being a “Gone Girl.” I delete the ugly pictures. I omit the bad moments or thoughts or actions from my time line. I post the happy things, the cheery things, the thoughts and pictures that everyone can ‘like’ without fear.

But, of course, there is more to me than my profile, and a lot of it isn’t too likable. And, of course, those with whom I actually live know many of those unlikable traits and still manage to like and even love me. My friends, my family, even my husband are able to overlook the dark moments that sometimes break through my bright covering.

But I wonder how much darkness would be too much? I mean no one, no human being, can really love unconditionally. Sooner or later, there is a last straw that can drop—if one were to let all the straws fall.

And that’s why we can’t let all the ugly show. We need people in our lives and too much ugly is simply repellent. (Notice how I have switched to the pronoun “we”? I’m hoping you get this and that I’m not the only one who feels this way. I really do want you to like me. In a pitiable, Sally Field kind of way.)

Maybe that’s at least part of why this time of life is so difficult (the middle-age, post-children era). I don’t know what roles to play. Sure, I am still some of those people I have been in the past, but none of them feels like the real deal. And I just can’t tell you what that real deal is! So often I feel as though I, too, have “gone missing.” (What a stupid phrase!)

Just yesterday I exposed to my ever-patient husband that I feel another change in the air. I need a new wardrobe, a new set of costumes to wear, but I just don’t know what clothes fit me now. And I wasn’t just speaking metaphorically.

Well … if you haven’t read the book, do. Then we can talk without spoiling the plot, ok? Are we all “Gone Girls” in one way or another? Not sociopaths (I hope!) but people living out roles that make us acceptable to others for one reason or another and give us something we feel we need?

Let me know. It gets lonely out here waiting to be found.

SHRINKING THE CIRCLE

Overloaded.

Overloaded.

By Lisa Huddleston

The urge to leave Facebook has been building in me for some time; so yesterday, in a fit of dissatisfaction, I finally pulled the plugged. I say “finally,” but we all know that most people who deactivate their Facebook accounts usually return. Heck, this isn’t even the first time I’ve tried this–I will not declare any statement of finality in my decision. However, for now I am unplugged.

As I said, it was dissatisfaction that drove me to deactivate. Oddly I was not too dissatisfied with what I saw on other’s accounts, at least that wasn’t the final straw. It was a dissatisfaction with how I felt others were responding to my posts–and the totally creepy-odd fact that I even wanted to post them. Why did I feel compelled to document my life? Did filtered photos and pithy captions make it seem more real, more significant? Maybe so.

First, the response of others. From comments both in person and on Facebook, I was getting way too much applause. I know I’m nothing special. My talents are minimal at best so when I posted a picture of something I made or a recent blog post I was really saying, “Wow! Aren’t you as surprised as I am?” But, there were always those who responded, “I wish I could do something like that. You’re so fill in the blank.” Ugh. I felt like such a phony, such a hypocrite. Sure, I loved the praise, but I knew the truth. I am sincerely average. I’m just good at spinning it (my life) so that it looks better than it is.

Second, there was some sense of never being able to live up to the glorious events that are posted on social media–mine and other’s. Each time someone wrote about publishing a book, selling a painting, saving the world one grass-fed cow or chicken at a time, I died just a little. (It shames me to admit it, but it is true.) I would post a sweet comment congratulating them and then I would say ugly words to myself–not about them but about me and my general inadequacy.

So I am slowly shrinking my circle. LinkedIn was the first to go. I mean I don’t really want to start a new career at this stage in my life anyway–why was I wasting my time building an awesome resume? And yesterday, Facebook bit it. That still leaves my blog, Twitter, Instagram, Ravelry, and Pinterist. Man! I’ve been swimming in the deep end for too long!

Dissatifaction is miserable, but it doesn’t have to rule my life. There is a better way and I’m glad my morning’s reading reminded me of it:

I pray that you, being rooted and firmly established in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the length and width, height and depth of God’s love, and to know the Messiah’s love that surpasses knowledge, so you may be filled with all the fullness of God. Ephesians 3:17b-19

“Filled with all the fullness of God.” That means totally satisfied with God: rooted in love, comprehending God’s love, knowing the Messiah’s love. FILLED to overfull with love. Not self, not achievement, not worldly success. Amen.

(Disclaimer: This post is in NO way an endictment on those of you who can handle social media better than I.)