Yay to the high-school sweethearts who celebrated their 83rd anniversary, and the Obamas with their “we’re-just-your-average-everyday-power-couple”.
Yay to the BFFs with a split photo of them both all cheeky at 9-years-old and all giggly at 60, and the mum-besties who take exotic holidays together.
Yay to the profile photos, hazy filters and status updates that celebrate these relationships.
I’m very private about my relationships, and I’m not here to reflect on them. This is not a rant either, it’s an observation. Of sorts.
(I warned you about the dark side.)
There’s a Lawrence Durrell quote that goes: “A diary is the last place to go if you wish to seek the truth about a person. Nobody dares to make the final confession to themselves on paper: or at least, not about love.”
Swap diary for Internet and paper for social media, and bam! You’ve got our whole over-sharing generation.
My facebook and instagram feeds poureth over with mush and goo. But when I put my phone down and look around, I see more toxic relationships and lonely people.
Geez. That sentence left a skid mark in my brain.
Hope is dope, yo!
To escape from all the negativity we see around us, we run back online. In fact, I think going online for a hit of hope is our current international pastime and/ or addiction.
And I do hope all of the relationships – platonic, romantic or confuse-ic – that are professed and flaunted online are true. I sincerely hope they are, for the sake of honesty and goodness.
Objects in the browser are not always how they appear
But see, I’m prone to the occasional stab of cynicism. And some of these 237-Like-photos cause entry and exit stab wounds, the size of my fist. It’s only a few seconds before the cynicism ferments into judgement. And then I curl up internally from the guilt and shame of being so petty.
Truth is, it’s 2016 and everyone knows not to take what we see online at face value. We’ve even been in some of those photos! But try as we may, we can’t help but let a bit of the negativity seep into our thoughts.
Move over, body-shaming. Hello, relationship-shaming.
Which is why, we need to start talking about relationship-image issues in the same vein as body-image issues. I bet it causes just as much depression, social anxiety and binge-eating/ crash-dieting.
Social media is the new Photoshop.
Conceal broken hearts and bruised egos, airbrush out emotional luggage, contour around any sign of disagreement. Post.
Except, we’re thrilled when models and celebrities say that what we see on magazine covers isn’t real. But when we share our lows, we have a volley of advice thrown at us or we’re shunned for being negative.
Don’t worry, be sad-dy.
Maybe we don’t need you to show us the light just yet, but just agree that sometimes relationships are more hard than hard-work. More All By Myself than Lean On Me.
Let’s always extol the virtues of being positive and happy, but let’s not demonise loneliness and sadness. We need to normalise them.
There is no prescribed happiness, only your version of it. There is no perfect relationship (even pizza will let you down), only precious moments. Accept the highs and expect the lows. Be gracious or be ugly with it, it’s your call.
Like we’re taking ownership of our bodies, let’s take ownership of our relationships. Flaws and all.
And let’s also accept that sometimes, seeing friends or partners with their arms intertwined is more nauseating than heart-achingly cute.