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Calling all lemons! A home for those who look great but feel like absolute crap to make some lemonade out of lemons.

What I Didn't Instagram

What I Didn't Instagram

"Your summer looks AMAZING!" an acquaintance exclaimed on a rooftop in the West Village at a friend's birthday last month. I kind of stared at her, confused with an impervious look I hoped didn't reveal my bewilderment. "What makes you say that?" I asked innocently. "Your Instagram is literal goals." she said to me with a slight longing in her voice.

I told her her summer looked the same and we both remarked on how funny that was because each of us had been having a tough few months and our Instagram presence demonstrated the exact opposite.

I told her I'd been studying and hadn't felt well. She told me work had been insane and all she had energy to do at the end of the day was sit on her couch. Away from our second screens, we were honest and transparent. I couldn't help but leave the conversation concerned that the image I was giving off was so different than what I actually experience day to day, hidden behind chrome filters and VSCO settings.

I've said it before here and I'll say it now-no one wants to share a photo of you devouring a pizza on a Friday and binge watching Younger. No one is going to like a picture of you in the middle of a panic attack. You're not going to get a ton of comments on a boomerang of your daily commute. The popular quote is we're comparing our real lives to everyone else's highlight reel and it couldn't be more true. So, I wanted to take this post to show the stark contrast in what I post and what I don't. What isn't on that reel but what is real. Let's do this: 

What I Instagrammed: 

I had to go on medical leave from work after a 103 fever and a cough so bad I pulled my intercostal muscles. I couldn't eat, sleep, and was struggling to breathe. My doctor told me I either had to go to Philly where my mom could take care of me 24/7 or check into the hospital. She put me on round the clock breathing treatments and medication. I vividly remember not having my nebulizer for three hours in the car on the way to Philly and struggling to breath so much that the moment I walked through the door I sat on the floor to do a treatment ASAP. A few weeks into medical leave I was cleared to go to Santa Barbara with my family as long as I kept up my treatments. I chose to Instagram this photo of me in the pool. 

What I Didn't: 

Here's me that same day by the pool with my nebulizer. I was on breathing treatments six times a day and missed out on a lot of fun hikes and activities because my lungs weren't strong enough to do them and I was still exhausted. I'm not complaining, it was a beautiful place to heal. But most of the vacation was focused on rebuilding my strength and breathing capacity and not going through withdrawal from the steroids. 

What I Instagrammed: 

I went to the Cayman Islands with my mom on a girls trip. We had a lot of fun but I also was having a flare and anxiety attacks. I only made it through dinner one night and the rest was on the bathroom floor. My mom is incredible and we had a lot of fun during the day even though I wasn't feeling great. We had a lot of productive conversations about my anxiety and maximized the days since nights weren't great for me. Our second to last day we found an incredible beach where there were huge starfish all around us. I posted this: 

What I Didn't: 

This is me sending a snap to Nick (my eyes aren't this creepily large, it was a filter!). I had picked myself off the bathroom floor, showered, and got ready for dinner. I didn't make it through dinner but at least I made it there! 

What I Instagrammed: 

I had gone to Firefly Festival with a few friends which was a wonderful weekend. However long hours, a ton of walking, lots of dust, and not great food really wore my body down. I Instagrammed this picture of sunset right before I went back to the car. 

What I Didn't: 

I ended up with a nasty chest infection after Firefly that had me on steroids and antibiotics for a month. Here I am at the doctor's office with a mask to protect from other people's germs. 

What I Instagrammed: 

Nick and I went to Mexico our first year out of school for vacation. I instagrammed this picture:

What I Didn't: 

Isn't this beautiful? I came back from Mexico and broke out in this rash all over my body and a fever. The doctors couldn't figure out what it was but I wasn't allowed to come into work for a week until it went away and was put on antibiotics. On the plus side-it was right around Halloween so I had the scare factor. 

What I Instagrammed: 

The first morning of medical leave, I woke up because I needed my nebulizer. Took a picture of this beautiful sunrise and captioned it, "Technicolor sunrise this morning!"  

What I Didn't: 

Before I left for Philadelphia on medical leave, my mom had to pack my sister who was moving to Philly for school. I was not allowed to be left unsupervised so the night before the above picture was taken, while she was finishing helping my sister pack she made me send this photo to confirm that Nick and my best friend Hannah were watching me and making sure I stayed on my medication schedule. (shout out to these two who helped when I basically had the black lung-you guys rock)

What I Instagrammed: 

Nick and I in Miami for Spring Break going out for a night in Little Havana. 

What I Didn't: 

We are geniuses and decided the first day to wear SPF 15. I'm a redhead with freckles. Nick is Scottish. GENIUSES. We were so burnt we spent the majority of the vacation in the shade and went through three bottles of aloe in a weekend. We basically could only go out beyond the shade at night. Here's what I looked like: 

What I Instagrammed: 

 In high school when I was really sick, I had a feeding tube to ensure I was getting enough nutrition because I was throwing up so much and wasn't hungry. I vomited blood the day of my 16th birthday party and ended up in the emergency room. We needed to reschedule the day and I posted the below (on Facebook, before Instagram existed!) from the rescheduled party. 

What I Didn't: 

I think there's two pictures from the time I had my feeding tube. This one and one that's too embarrassing to share (I'm trying to look fly with a backwards hat and sixers jersey and look like a tool). Having a feeding tube when most girls are trying to look cute for boys and fit in was rough on my social life. I'm so grateful to my friends for celebrating my birthday with me (and celebrating feeling better!) and that smile is genuine in the picture. The below I shared in my first post and am sharing again because it is a time I was vulnerable and scared and sick and I want to share more of that with you mixed in with the pretty. 

Part of the reason I love working in digital is because I'm interested in staying so close to the digital world, the tech releases, the new studies to understand how technology is effecting the way we interact. Through filters and perfected captions and activities we choose just for their instagrammability- we show a version of ourselves to the world and look at versions of others that make us feel disconnected from reality, not normal because we are normal unfiltered humans. In our effort to join in and connect, we post and tag to link our digital selves to the rest of the digital realm which comes at the cost of alienating our real selves from the rest of the real world because we think the rest of the real world is their digital selves. How stupid is that?! 

I am 1000% guilty of this and am making an effort to show a more real version of me starting with this blog. Want to join in? Share a picture you didn't Instagram in the comments below or better yet-Instagram it! Tag me so I can see it with @thelemontribe!

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