What is pictured on my Facebook wall? Or Instagram feed? Or blog? These locations often present the highlight reels of my life. The best and most fun moments. I love my hashtag: #DoctoralStudentPlayTime and I’ve used it liberally! In the midst of a very full season in life, I’ve sought to make room for play time. And for that I have been thankful. I believe adding playtime to my already bursting schedule has kept me more sane!
However, this hashtag alone does not define the last three years. There have been many down moments. Many listless nights. Many fears about the future. Here’s a small summary of what is not pictured. The behind the scenes, gag reel, and goofs of my life instead of the highlight reel.
*Not Pictured #1
The pile of tissues I used while fighting a monster of a cold, lying awake at night and calculating the exact time I can take another cough suppressant just to try to get to sleep.
*Not Pictured #2
The three foot high pile of research papers all binder clipped together that now constitute a side table at my desk. I’ve read every one, highlighted what I thought helpful. And piled them up in hopes that I’d be able to find the right one when I needed it to complete my paper.
*Not Pictured #3
The dusty corners and hairballs that blow like tumbleweeds in need continual wrangling. Yet, because of the ever-present paper deadline, these tumbleweeds are allowed to roam freely, quietly mocking my once clean room.
*Not Pictured #4
Digestive Distress. And its after effects. Enough said.
*Not Pictured #5
Self medicating with chocolate and chips when life was demanding. I’ve had more candy in the past year than I can count. I went trick or treating at Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party… and ate all of it.
*Not Pictured #6
Sleepless nights. Anxiety. And time spent wondering what my future holds. How I will survive this degree. And how I will fill my time after graduation. Or wondering if the money, time, and effort will all be worth it.
This is just a small sampling of the real life that seemingly has no outlet. No one wants to see or “like” a picture of my pile of used tissues. Gross! And yet, what we don’t picture is just as real as what we do. I long to be honest about my life and to give a balanced picture. Yes, I have lots of playtime. I got to the theater and Disney and on vacation. And I sit at home. A lot. And type pages and pages on my computer. And lie awake at night unable to sleep. And have lots of questions that just don’t have answers yet. I refuse to only show my highlight reel online. These scenes might be on the cutting room floor, but they happened. They shaped me. The influenced my future performance. My *Not Pictured vignettes are just as important and a part of my life as what is pictured. And I’m choosing to be brave to share the less-than-instagrammable-moments.