Lisa Thompson

ALL OF US.

We all win! Congrats, high fives, fist bumps and general accolades to you and you and you.

Wait, let me clarify: ALL OF US as in “all of us who are Instagramming, Facebooking, tweeting, pinning and snapping our lives away.” Us social media people. We win Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Director, Best Editing, Best Special Effects, Best You Name It because we’ve become quite proficient at becoming socialmedialites (new word, I’m trademarking it, don’t steal it). We’ve perfected the art of putting our best selfies forward and showing the world how wonderful our lives are, including our children, our holidays, our vacations, our pets, our weather, last night’s home-cooked dinner and this morning’s killer workout.

Let me further clarify: I’m not being critical or cynical or anything of the sort. To be honest, I like the way we social media-ize things. I appreciate the positivity; the world needs it. I adore pictures of your little munchkins and sweet pets. I swoon over your engagement photos. I want to see delicious pictures of tacos and fancy foods I can’t pronounce. I love living vicariously through vacation shots. If you’re drinking the most perfect glass of Pinot, please—show me! And you can be damn sure I’m going to post the same stuff as well. This is coming from a girl who’s never posted a profile pic without running it through some kind of filter. After the past several months of polarizing political posts, fake news accusations and angry debates, I welcome all the beauty, good vibes and, yes, filters that social media has to offer.

But for some reason, I’m feeling the need for balance. Do you mind? Today I want to talk about The Other Stuff.

A few months ago I went to Europe. I posted lovely pictures and a few video montages of my trip. I’m sure it looked grand. What you didn’t see: I spent New Year’s Eve in my Barcelona hotel room alone in bed, crying and cussing like a drunken sailor (I wasn’t) because I was jet-lagged but couldn’t sleep thanks to the mediocre band two floors below playing covers of 90s pop hits. At 150 decibels. Till 4:30 a.m. You also didn’t see me fall up the stairs to the train between Florence and Milan, get shit on by a pigeon in San Marco Square, almost hurl during a food tour when I choked down squid ink pasta and feel pangs of loneliness when I watched adoring couples ride gondolas on the Grand Canal.

Like many parents, I like to post about my kids. Mine are mostly grown and doing well in their lives—but that’s true in spite of me and my flawed parenting, not because of me. Facebook didn’t exist when I let my two-year-old watch eight hours of Barney so I could binge watch Sex and the City in the computer room, or when I called my toddler twins “evil little weebles” and put them in their cribs for three hours after they poured leftover greasy spaghetti sauce on my cream-colored carpet. I didn’t Instagram the time my preschool son pulled a tampon out of my purse at the grocery store and I let him play with it (he thought it was a rocket) because it distracted him from the candy at checkout.

I check in at Golden State Warriors games. The handful of times I can go. And at the gym when I work out. At beautiful wineries in Sonoma. Or on gorgeous coastal hikes with breathtaking views. But you know what I did last Friday night? Laundry. Taxes. Scrubbed pet vomit stains out of my carpet (clearly I need wood floors). Put on my pajamas at 8:00 p.m., watched The Proposal for the 85th time and had a glass of cheap wine before I fell asleep on the couch at 9:30. The next day, I got out of bed at noon. Nothing to Instagram here, folks, but a middle-aged, worn-out, let’s-face-it lazy woman with bags under her eyes and raggedy house slippers.

As sexy as I’d like to make my life appear, the reality is, it’s often just, well, real life—messy relationships, embarrassing moments, minor frustrations and a lot of cleaning shit up. Why am I telling you this? Because if you’ve ever felt the same way, I just want you to know I get you. “You’ve got a friend in me,” as they say in Toy Story (which I’ve probably seen 86 times). Every once in a while, transparency is good for the soul, and being real is therapeutic.

The rest of the time? Let’s keep putting our best lives forward. I want your gorgeous vacation pics, your romantic couple shots, your sweet kid stories, your delicious food pictures and everything in between. I guarantee that’s what you’ll get from me if you’re in my social networks—along with a wink and a nod and the understanding that the imperfect and not-so-glamorous parts lie just below the surface.