Monday, February 21, 2011

Perception Versus Reality

How many of you out there have that one friend who makes each aspect of their life seem downright perfect? And how many of you know differently? Just as I suspected (because I'm awesome like that) - we all have that friend. He or she has the perfect spouse, the two car garage, the 1.5 children, and they make an exorbitant amount of money. They take dream vacations and have absolutely nary a worry or concern in life. Sigh...if only my life could be that perfect, you say!

Well guess what, boys and girls? It ain't all happy puppies and kittens behind closed doors. Chances are there's debt, there's marital strife, and overall discontentment with life. I'm not calling anyone out here, so don't start thinking I'm pointing any fingers. Although, if you feel like this resonates personally (again, because I'm awesome like that), I encourage you to eat a big plate of humble pie and take control of your unhappiness.

I've had this concept of "perception versus reality" floating through my head for a week now - don't make any comments about the lack of particulate matter beyond that one errant thought - and it wasn't until yesterday that I figured out what it was all about. What we perceive as reality isn't always truth, and social media outlets and personal airs often prevent people from seeing what is truly taking place on the inside. What would happen if we all simply wore our own heart on our sleeve and told everyone exactly just how it is?

In short, we'd have chaos personified! Think Something To Talk About with Julia Roberts. Remember that one scene at the luncheon where Julia's character starts unravelling the long laundry list of indiscretions these ladies had been hiding? Well, what if we took a more modern approach and posted exactly what was on our minds to our Facebook account? Let's pursue that, shall we?

Imagine a sunny Tuesday morning, sitting at your desk, just catching up with friends and family over Facebook. All is perfect in the world. Birds are chirping outside, the cherry blossoms are blooming, and the maid is doing your laundry. Chocolate, donuts, and ice cream have now become calorie- and fat-free.

Friend #1 Status Message (In Happy, Perception Land) : My kids are beautiful little trinkets from heaven. I found it so funny that they colored me a picture today...and who cares if it was on my new duvet?
Your Response : Why yes, I'm so very jealous. You have the perfect children! So cute!

Now back to reality... Let's try this again. And with a bit more oomph!

Friend #1 Status Message (In Reality Land) : My bratty, undisciplined children just ruined my new duvet! If only I were a better parent, and hadn't been polishing off that last bottle of red, maybe I wouldn't have been so oblivious!
Your Response: Your children are truly undisciplined and I can't stand being in the same room as you because of it. You are a lush.

Ahhhh....Better! Okay, so truth hurts. And it's not always pretty (like me), but what's the harm in telling it how it is? I refer you to my Hallmark greeting card writing BFF, and the post entitled "I'm Sorry You're Pissed".

And that got me thinking. What happened if we did the same thing in the dating world? He he he he he....

Imagine a brisk Saturday night at the local date night restaurant. A blind date between a boy and a girl commences. Let's listen in on their conversation...

In Happy Land:
Girl: I haven't had a date in 18 months, but that's ok. I've really been working on me, and my career has been keeping me quite busy!
Guy: A little "me time" is good. How about we order some food and get on with the evening?

Meanwhile, back in Reality Land, things are a bit different.
Girl: I haven't had a date in 18 months. The aliens keep kidnapping me and my four cats for their experiments back on Glargon 4. Do you speak Vulcan? Because I'm an international Star Trek ambassador and I'll need you to be able to understand me during our mating rituals.
Guy: See ya!

Right. Okay, maybe hiding one or two parts of the crazy is a smart idea when you're dating someone new. Just don't hide the important stuff, like Star Trek memberships and alien invasions. We all put our best foot forward and try to make the best impression on our prospective match. And sometimes it takes a second look to really see the true beauty of another person. Other times, you can sense the "stranger danger" ahead of you!

So what's the moral of today's story, boys and girls? Well, besides the fact that I'm awesome. (Holla! ...or Challa, as a nod to my BFF when I make fabulous french toast out of the oh-so deliciously dense, eggy Jewish bread and smother it in macerated strawberries.)

Ahem...I digress.

The moral of the story is that we all have a little honesty that is lurking behind the shadows, just waiting to take the bloom off of our proverbial roses. Life isn't always that rosy, no matter what kind of spin we throw on it. Your friends have their own drama at home and they would love to hear how rotten your life is too, just to take their minds off of their own crap. Ever hear that misery loves company? Sure you have. So open that bottle of red, give your kids some crayons, and invite your best girlfriends over. It's reality time!

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