There are days when I simply love Facebook.
I know people often complain, and there have been numerous articles on the subject, about how unhappy they become from witnessing other people’s online happiness. Their glamorous dresses, their new cars, their paradise beach photos with bare toes and cocktails in front of endless white sands and turquoise blue seas…
However, there also are occasions when Facebook can make you feel better about yourself.
Like the other day.
I saw a few photos posted by some guy I (barely) knew years ago. One of those Facebook friends who wasn’t really your friend in real life, you know. He was on holiday somewhere pretty. The whole thing looked perfect. The sea water was turquoise. The mountains in the background were green. The sand was white. Beach. Cocktails. You know, the whole lot.
I saw a photo of him with his very young children and thought he looked well. I knew the guy was roughly my age. The kids looked cute. And then, in another photo, I saw a picture of an older lady kissing one of his children. How nice, I thought. That’s sweet. He obviously took his mother on holiday. A proud thought crossed my mind, along the lines of Azeris looking after their parents, taking them on expensive holidays, and all that.
There were a few other photos, with the old lady alone with the kids…and then suddenly, there was the last photo that looked a bit….strange. The guy was standing in the middle, kids on each side, with his arm wrapped around his mother’s waist. Proudly.
Wait a moment, I thought. Something is wrong here. This is a bit strange, even for an Azeri family. This is perhaps slightly, you know, incestuous.
And then, and I swear to you only then, it hit me. It was not his mother. It was his wife.
I checked and double-checked. I looked at his profile.
Bloody Nora! As my father in law would say.
Turquoise sea water….Beautiful beach…and a wife that looks like your mother.
I thought it would be a good idea to make an A1 size print of this photo and hang it on my wall. Maybe in the bathroom, where I stumble into in the morning feeling depressed about the dark circles under my eyes and that aging face…Just at that precise moment all I need to do is glance at this photo, and it surely will put things into perspective. It might be a better idea to have a few copies. And when the visitors ask me why I have a large portrait of some strangers on my wall, I will just smile and tell them that those people mean a lot to me.
I am sorry that I cannot share those photos here, with all of you, so that you could benefit from them too. Could be wonderfully therapeutic for some of you.
So what is the bottom line of this, you might ask. Besides me being a bitch, of course.
Well…The guy looked so happy in those photos. I mean, maybe he truly is. Maybe, as my husband would point out, she is a wonderful person and the guy loves her a lot. OK. I will try and believe that. Yet, it made me think about what we see on Facebook verses real life. And it made me think of all those people I know who looked so blissfully happy on Facebook. Or rich. Or beautiful. Or just perfect in all those ways. It made me think of the roses and hearts and bunnies and white kittens…and the reality that was often so different. So really, if you do get upset by or jealous of something you have seen on Facebook, just remember…Most of it is just a pretty facade. You know, a bit like those buildings in Baku that are all cleaned up on the outside, but falling apart inside, with the lifts that stink of urine.