I remember when I was in college and I was asked to write a paper in my Philosophy class on a picture or painting that was important to us. I chose the oil painting of my father. He was in his colorful dashiki while he was in the Navy. My father looked invincible in that painting. He looked so strong, confident and fearless in that exact moment. The painting is hanging in my home office and I have the pleasure of looking at it on a daily basis. I find myself smiling with an overwhelming sense of pride for my father. On the days I can manage to look at it without crying, I can’t help but wonder what was really going on in his life at that time. He was young, handsome and in the Navy. What could he possibly have to worry about right? Wrong! He was away from home, he missed his family and the Navy was not all glitz and glamour. He was human and he never claimed to have the perfect life. I often times wish I would have discussed this painting with him before he passed away. Unfortunately I did not know it existed until after he was gone.
I really get enjoyment out of looking at photos. I stare at them and wonder what the person was going through at that time in their life or what they were thinking at the exact moment the photo was taken. As I reflect on some of the pictures I have taken throughout the years, I laugh because although I may have looked as if I had it all together, it was a completely different story before and after it was taken. I am looking at a picture my friends and I took while we were in graduate school. We were at Pappadeux’s laughing and smiling as if we did not have a care in the world. Quite the contrary, life was coming at me from all directions. There were days I did not know how I was going to finish all the tasks I had to get done. During this time in my life, I had a lot going on. I was working full time while attending graduate school full time. It was hard to balance home, work and graduate school. I was feeling home sick because my father was alive during that time and I missed him so much. I called home daily just to hear his voice. I was even dealing with HS, but I did not have a diagnosis at that time. I had these cysts that would appear out of nowhere. I was in pain daily. I was not able to share it with anyone because I did not think they would understand. You could not tell any of these things just by looking at my snapshot.
With the popularity of social media, it is easy for people to get caught up in envy when it comes to other people. When you look at Facebook , Instagram or any other media platform, you see people always on vacation, going out with friends or shopping. I have heard people say how it makes their lives look boring and they find themselves depressed after being on social media. The pictures we see are but a snapshot of their lives. Rarely do we get to see the crying children, overdue bills, break-ups or the other imperfect moments we have daily. Life was going on before the snapshot and will continue after it as well. All we do is capture moments in time. Each and every one of us have a different journey. It is important we follow our own journey and not envy or compare our lives to someone else’s snapshot.