My current profile picture. Risky right?

I feel like I really put myself out there on social media. I write to you all from dark corners of a closet and share things with you that I don’t even talk to my friends about. I put pictures of my family out there to total strangers. I bring my kids to events in the public, they sit in the audience at events I speak at and sometimes even join me on stage. I’m approachable at ISF events and give out my personal email and sometimes cell phone to anyone who has questions or concerns. I feel like I’m pretty out there.

But on the other hand, I consider myself a very private person. I have a Facebook account and Instagram account that are pretty locked down. Facebook is a little more open because it’s also another stream to get my ISF message out there. I get friend requests quite a bit, and honestly if I don’t know your friend request is coming or if I don’t seek you out myself, it usually piles up in my request folder. The number of friends I have on FB is uncomfortable for me and I’m sure it’s nowhere near the amount that most of you have. I’m unsure about sharing every day stories out there because often times I’m not as PC in my day to day life as a President of a children’s cancer foundation should be. (Ask my Board of Directors.)

I’ve also made the mistake of assuming that my Facebook account is my own account. I have found that the image of who I am is being built from this page. Why does she not have more pictures of her family on it? Why is her profile picture a picture of herself and not like Stuart’s who is holding Isabella? What is the profile picture she selected saying about her life? Wait. What?

I guess this is where social media has me spinning. I understand some people use their Facebook accounts to communicate what is going on with their family. Some of my friends even have FB handles that are for both the husband and wife together. I know when I go to their pages I will be able to catch up on all things with their family. But I already put my family out there… A LOT. My kids are completely comfortable being on the ISF communications and my husband has a Facebook page, so if you want to see what he is up to – go check out his page. I’m lost on what my personal profile is supposed to show you. Here I thought my own personal social media would profile me and what I’m doing, what I think is funny, etc.. But apparently not showcasing my family (again) is causing a stir.

I also get comments about how great my life is. I guess I save posting for when I’m actually doing something fun. I don’t post every day about sitting on the couch emailing potential sponsors for the race or having cereal for dinner because my husband is traveling or that I’m doing homework with my kids or I’m packing lunches or going to the grocery store. I don’t post these things because who gives a funk? But if I head to the beach for a girls weekend and post a picture, then the comments come about how much I’m away or how often I’m going out or having a drink. Really?

I guess I find myself wanting to just shut down social media entirely. The image that social media is creating of each of us is so distorted. Just last week I went out to try and shut down my Facebook page because I had enough. Unfortunately, if I shut down my page I lose administrative privileges to the ISF FB page and all the communication under the Dream Team. Crap. So instead I have started posting nothing. I’m also having to tell friends of mine to stop tagging me on their FB page. I want to go back to the old days of people around me learning about me by actually talking to me. If you see me somewhere, then you will know I was there and who I was with. Seems so old school right?

Also, who pays attention to what you like and don’t like on social media? Apparently a lot of people. This seems like something only 13 year olds are concerned with but it’s crossing over. Sometimes I’m actually off social media so if you post something I don’t see or for some reason I don’t click the like button – there is not always something behind this action. Is this really what our days are coming to?

These things seem so silly to me but are oddly becoming daily conversation in my life.

“You sure do go out a lot.”

“I counted and one week you went out 4 days.”

“You like to drink, don’t you?!”

“Can you post more pictures of your kids?”

“Why didn’t you like that picture I posted yesterday?”

“(Insert name) thinks your profile picture is really saying (x) about your life.”

BTW.. any profile picture I put of myself only has one meaning. I don’t think I look like dog shit in that picture. Sorry guys… that’s it.

Seriously. WTF?

I’m sure I do it too. If you tell me you are having trouble losing weight but I see on Facebook every time you take a picture of a big plate of tacos with a margarita or a massive eggs benedict brunch every weekend – I assume your diet is an issue. So I understand how it’s easy to make some assumptions.

And let’s not even talk about Instagram. You want to talk about something that is shut down. Let’s talk about Instagram.

Facebook is where I get my news, where I post about ISF events or how I see pictures of my nephew. Instagram is where I felt like I could really just be me. There are zero pictures of my family. Because I thought for a second that this was REALLY my own account. Nope. Turns out that is not true either. The thing I like about Instagram is there aren’t a ton of people on it so I’m not getting that request from my Grandma, or another cancer mom or some stranger. I should be able to put anything I want out there since it’s just close personal friends, right?

You know where this is going…

It turns out, the only place you can really be you is in a diary – that is locked in your house with a key that only you have. Even then I would like I would have to scotch tape a picture of me with my children in the dedication just in case someone found it when I died.  I would never want to be remembered as a selfish person who didn’t think her family was important.  GASP!  There is no place that you can put yourself out there without being judged or evaluated. Maybe I just see social media differently? I don’t scour a profile page to build an opinion of someone or read too much into what they put out there, but maybe I should start? I often times find that the people that are building these images of you through your social media don’t post much about themselves. Maybe they are smart in that way because they can sit back in the wings and make assumptions without really putting themselves out there…similar to snipers.

It’s a hard thing for me because I feel like I have gone over and above to share personal pieces of myself out in the world. I allow myself to be judged on the Foundation because I feel it is important for people to know what is going on behind the curtain. I want you to know how hard marriage is, or that I go through depression and anxiety. I’m okay with you knowing how my kids are or how they are handling life. But there are times when I want that curtain to close because my every day person is just a normal person trying to get through life. When you try to put together the puzzle piece that is Erin by what you see on ISF and my personal social media – it must seem like a big mess of a person. Which it probably is – but really – who isn’t a mess of a person?

I can only hope to get to know someone by actually getting to know them, like we once did, not by what I see on their social media pages. If you want to know what I’m thinking, ask me. If you want to know what I did this weekend, ask me. You might be surprised what you can learn about somebody by talking to them.

So now I’m going to try to do a 30 day break from posting. I know it’s scary. I could be in a hole for 30 days and no one would know. It gives me total comfort to know that people close to me who really know me won’t be nervous about this move at all. But those who put me together by my social media puzzle might not have a piece to play for awhile.

Thank God I’m not on Twitter. 🙂