For so long, we’ve been pointing to social media as one of the main culprits behind these “appearances” that aren’t realistic, that we as a society are comparing ourselves to, but we can’t possibly live up to.
The truth is, while social media contributes, our fascination, starting as little kids, with the “spectacular” way in which we perceive things, is a pretty enormous factor as well.
I chose this pic bc it reminds me of the point above. My late grandmother used to love things like the Opera & the Ballet. Though not a wealthy woman, any way she could get tickets, she’s go – even alone, into her late years.
Since my brothers & I were far from fans of these arts, the one thing she could get us to agree to come w her to, was the Radio City Xmas Spectacular – which featured the toy soldiers and the Rockettes. It became an annual tradition & admittedly, tho part of it was “grin & bear it,” part of it was also pretty, spectacular – albeit from one of the top rows in the balcony.
I was amazed by the big costumes, the choreography, the set designs. As a kid everything looked FLAWLESS. The Rockettes all looked like twins – the same size. Their legs moved without any mistakes, in synchronicity. They spun in perfect lines. It all made sense then – they were “pros.”
Fast forward to having nieces now, & our family will take them to the same show around holidays. Maybe it’s bc you grow skeptical, maybe it’s bc your eyesight gets better (def not the case w me 😂), but I notice things now I never did before: the lines in tape on the floor of stage so that everyone can find their place, the one dancer who is out of sync, the piece of wardrobe that a character forgot to put on. It’s imperfectly perfect.
And the same goes for so much of what we used to think as kids, was exactly – perfect: the “perfectly straight” lines sprayed on a baseball field, the awards shows where the winners were announced flawlessly (boy has that ship sailed ;), the way a band never missed a note or chord, the company that always has a spokesperson say the “right thing” or come out w the “right campaign.”
When we’re young we think the “big companies & brands & celebs” are perfect – flawless. But they’re not. They’re well practiced…but they’re just like us. They make mistakes. They struggle w their confidence between gigs, miss shots during practice, question their decisions, daily.
There’s something special to being a kid & believing in Santa & Hanukkah Harry. Wouldn’t ever want to take away the joy that comes with that innocence. However, I do think we have a responsibility, as kids get older, to not allow appearances that are choreographed, be the only stories they get to see.
It’s important they know there is much failure on the way to success. That there are a lot more bumps & bruises than there are perfect landings, & that the joy in sticking the landings on the big stage – comes in a big part from the perspective gained from all the failed attempts.
If we can communicate that – then we get the best of both worlds – the joy of the spectacular but the realization that not every moment is gold & that’s not something anyone can live up to!