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Untouched by Noreen Heffernan

I’m sitting here in my peace sign pajama pants watching everyone else live their life. That is how I feel sometimes. Or at least, this is the mindset of the people who are scrolling through Facebook and Instagram. Everyone is living their life and I’m here with a bun in my hair and pajama pants that belong on a 14 year old girl from the Midwest. CHEESE!

I think I’ve been watching too many episodes of “Keeping up with the Karadashians.” Or maybe I’m on social media too much. Tweeting, streaming, blogging, posting…it is all too much….and then not enough. What did we do before it?

Let’s scale it down. Can we?

I find myself looking at pictures on Facebook and Instagram and I think to myself, would they do that if they weren’t going to post it? Would they stand at the edge of a mountain with arms outstretched for themselves; to feel the wind on their face in an innocent moment of peace? Or do they do it for the world to see them do it after they post it on social media? Look at me, “I’m so peaceful,” as they stress for those 100+ likes.

At what point does this all become inauthentic? At what point does what some see as authenticity become bogus? At what point does this all become imitation? I’m standing on a mountain tomorrow. Just wait. And then she will stand on a mountain. Let’s all stand on a mountain with our arms out like in the Titanic. Let’s all be free. Click. Cheese. Post.

“The true test of a man’s character is what he does when no one is watching” –John Wooden

When did it all change?

This is why I love watching children play. There is nothing inauthentic about it. They live their life for themselves. They do what makes them feel good in the moment and they don’t give a flying hoot about who is watching. They can find happiness in the kitchen with a doll. They can have the best day ever with that doll. My daughter said that the other day. We cut out princesses with construction paper and then she played with them. At the end of the day, I always ask her what her favorite part of the day was. She responded, “When we cut out princesses. This was the best day ever.” I was actually taken aback. Jeez. This is all we have to do? I mean, I can do this every day. No problem-o.

So innocent. So easy.

They can have this amazing day in the solitude of their own home without a camera, a phone, or a lick of social media. Nobody else needs to see it. They are true to their nature. Please don’t let them change! Please, can we find a way to hide them from all of this nonsense?!

Obviously, I am thinking like a mother. I am not thinking like the 20 year old girl that danced on bars. Thank the good Lord that Facebook didn’t exist when I was in college. Or if it did, it wasn’t big yet. We just made fools of ourselves in the privacy of our town bars and frat houses. We took pictures with disposable cameras that never got developed. The only way my mom could track me down is if I happened to be in my dorm room when she called. We walked around disconnected. It was wonderful.

I miss it.

I hope for it for my children; to stay anonymously innocent. Untouched.

Look, I am not against social media. I think it is a great way to stay connected with people who you would never have if it didn’t exist. I love seeing my friend’s babies grow up. I love being in “the know.” I think I just tire quickly of people living their life for the validation. This isn’t about “the Selfie” anymore. To me, this is about the self, the person’s need to perform, a person’s character. Where does real begin and exhibition end? Where and what is the line? As a society, have we crossed it?

So anyway, I’m going to cross my pajama-clad legs. Tighten my messy bun. Do the dishes. Tuck my girls in bed. And watch my little one move her lips like she is still sucking on a pacifier as she sleeps. That is my Instagram moment. But, I won’t post it, because that one is just for me. I’ll snap a picture in my mind and hold it dear to my heart.

~Noreen Heffernan,Writer, MA in Public and Corporate Communications, Certified in PR Writer, Growing Ladies


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