I AM NOT JENNIFER ANISTON
BY: TAMI HARPER WINN
Facebook is not my friend. There. I said it. It is just the window from which I can peer into the various worlds of others whether it is real or make believe. So why do I peer through the distorted window of social media then? That’s a good question. I am currently realizing my age these days. With so much loss recently, I have evaluated aspects of my life that I never thought about before. I am either in the middle of huge transformation, a mid-life crisis, or a complete meltdown. I can’t say which is getting ready to occur unfortunately. I just know that it will look completely different when I’m done. So why the incessant need to peer into others lives and compare my insides to their outsides?
I can’t help but notice that I am 47 and that so is Jennifer Aniston. I have friends I went to high school with that look the same if not better than they did when we went to school together. I mean it was the 80’s so I’ll cut us some slack there, but yet their physical beauty is alluring to me. I have friends who own big fancy homes, work big fancy jobs, taken exotic trips, and look like they have their stuff completely together. But, that’s just it. They look like they have it together. I need to remember that.
I know very little about their daily lives, or true struggles, what it took to get where they are, or who they really are when the camera isn’t on them. Yet, I find myself behind my computer screen comparing my insides to their outsides. What does that mean?
Well, for me and perhaps many alcoholics, it means that I begin to judge myself, compare myself, doubt myself, critique myself, have negative self dialogues, and what ever else I can do to personally attack who I am as an individual. No one else is doing this to me. This is completely self orchestrated. This betrayal is self induced. How sad. But it’s true. If left unchecked this can certainly lead me down the path to the bar once more.
Today, with a program of recovery I can see when this is occurring. I may not catch it right away, but I will catch it and that is so much better than before recovery. Before recovery I used these internal self harm tactics to drink and hurt others as well as myself with them. Now today, I can recognize them and accept them for what they are – non truths.
When I catch myself envying Ms. Aniston or Ms. Demi Moore, I remember that it took work and dedication and possibly good genes. I remember that it is part of their role as public icons and I can be thankful I do not live under such scrutiny. The scrutiny from myself is bad enough. I can’t imagine taking it from the whole world. When I see my friends doing well, I am genuinely happy for them and secretly send up well wishes for them. I also remember that I do not know what sacrifices they had to make to have certain things in their lives.
As the microscope of social media continues to magnify our differences I can either use it against myself or use it to celebrate our differences. I know the shoes I have walked in to get here and I know that I am truly a miracle. So, I give myself credit where credit is due. I get back to being kind to myself. I shut the computer and formulate my plan to be the best me I can possibly be. Stay tuned. I’m off to the gym.
~ Tami Harper Winn ~
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