I was woken up by a natural 6am call of blazing cold air whistling through the window and the blinds I was sleeping parallel to, in a bed that was not my own, with the biggest desire of needing to go potty but my body was not quite ready to race to the bathroom because it was freezing. So I lay there for several minutes staring up at the white ceilings trying to regain consciousness before sleepily turning over to grab my mobile device, and finally powering it on to find a batch of new message notifications tumble in. A couple from Connecticut, one from Europe, one from Texas, one from Hawaii, and a few from back home—all from friends that were old and new; numbers I had just saved into my contacts this past week and ones I have had for over a decade.
Mornings like these fill my heart with so much warmth and gratitude, where I am able to erase and call out all the little white lies about feeling like friends are non-existent because you’re out on the road and all the other humans in your life are off gallivanting around the universe doing their own things as well. I really do appreciate the little texts—the ones that come all inclusive with laughter, dumb comments, and petite bits of wit and sarcasm intentionally reaching out and saying, “Hey, I want to see you. I do see you. I am wanting to chat with you because I appreciate your friendship and care about your well being.” And then proceed to laugh together at our crazy selves and life, because sometimes it’s exhausting to take our days so seriously.
Anything done through a screen is not a substitute for the real thing.
I have a love-hate relationship with technology.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m all about staying on trends, chillin’s with BAE dressed in outfits on fleek so lovely so free dancing around pursuing pretty chasing light and sunsets because #liveunscripted. Because #belovedlife. Because #socalityJuliann. I am grateful for the ability to pay credit card balances and check bank statements at the touch of the fingers. And I’m sure all the introverts are internally jumping for joy, raising glasses to whoever invented online food ordering with free delivery service. I’m even glad that plans and arrangements can be made with someone more efficiently while on the go (or at least with the ones that respond). That’s not the part I dislike. The part that leaves a bitter taste on my tongue is this: the virtual world is not a substitute for honest captions. It is not a substitute for real life exchanges of realness and authenticity. It should merely be a resource to help encourage and better people, and a platform to spark conversations and possibly start connection. Aside from that, all the real life talk… Please deliver that to my door, face-to-face, no cherries, hold the sprinkles, just you—brokenness, mistakes, imperfections, everything.
I’ve had some amazing life dialogue with people via mobile device over the past week. But even sometimes, having a full on conversation about real life things over text is overwhelming because something about it feels unreal. Maybe I’m just a sucker for quality time and real human interaction. Like, I want to see your face and hear the tones in your voice. And, foodings is never a bad idea if it’s involved. Because, I’m the type of girl that would rather sit silently (with optional, but preferred dialogue) over cups of caffeine with cute little latte art in our foam than have you comment and like all my posts on Facebook.
You can’t add a filter to friendship and reality cannot be reframed.
What’s reality is just that. Reality. It can’t be readjusted or colored, and saturation and contrast cannot be corrected. We have to be gracious and understanding because you’d never know if someone’s life was absolute darkness or an utter mess if you just happened to scan their social media accounts. Walking in life with someone is not equivalent to you guys mutually retweeting. We live in a generation where we can’t base what we know about a person through their Instagram photos or the hashtags they use. I hate to break it down like this, but just because you know someone online doesn’t mean you know that person in real life. You can’t read someone’s Facebook status and become their bestie. You aren’t someone’s friend because you send him or her a Snap, or engage with them on Periscope. There will always be a wall between you and them. It’s just doesn’t feel real, and it really isn’t.
Recently in the last month or so, I’ve had the pleasure of meeting some new people and getting to know them better. The other day, I had one long conversation and some good time spent with someone while exercising and doing something active. It was completely unplanned, and I feel like I now know more about that person than I do my other friends who I’ve known for years. I want my friends to be friends I know in real life. I want them to be the kinds of people where, even when we’re out playing tennis, will let me vent about the refined sugars and hydrogenated oils in the platter of cookies sitting on the table and then proceed to ask: So, chocolate chip, oatmeal raisin, or sprinkles? Or the ones who will eat a bowl of mac n cheese with me at some janky hole in the wall diner at 2:30am, knowing that it’s an extremely terrible idea. But they buckle down and stuff their face with carbs alongside you anyway because that’s what is needed in that moment.
I don’t care who you are—everyone wants to be known, and everyone is just yearning to feel authentically connected in some way.
I repeat, EVERYONE.
Technology won’t fill you. A hundred emails and a whole lot of busyness won’t fill you. Social media, especially, won’t fill you. Thousands of hearts and 10k followers doesn’t mean a thing, and they sure don’t measure authentic friendship. I’m still in progress, but I’m learning to show up for people and be better at it. I want to summersault into peoples’ lives so hard and cartwheel with them through the journey. Sometimes, I think I’m superwoman and I want to be everything to everyone. I can’t. I wish I could be, but being all the things makes me bad at being the needed someone.
We all needed that someone. I needed that someone. Sometimes, I still need that someone.
I need that someone to sit me down and look at me straight in the eyes and tell me I am phenomenal and that I can get through and conquer and do it. That I can do amazing things because my heart was made of gold and I just need to throw some confetti into every little space that I walk into.
We all need that someone who is real. No screens attached.