Live Out Loud

I’m sure you’ve done the same…

Strolled through Facebook and/or Instagram and wondered how they accomplished what you did not…

The fabulous marriage
The fantastic kids
The wealth, health, kitchen skills, decorating expertise
That figure, that fitness feat, that yoga pose

You leave the site feeling a little less than…

Or maybe, just maybe, you leave feeling a little proud.  Thinking along the lines…sure am glad that’s not my lot.

I’ve been on both sides.  My thorn is the pictures of wildly successful children…the scholarships, the awards, the seemingly perfect parental relationships.  And truly it causes me angst because I LOVE teenagers and young adults…I WANT EVERY SINGLE ONE of them to grow up and be successful in all that they do.  But mine seem to be late bloomers and looking at yours sometimes pains me.

So why do it? Why are we so attracted to social media? Why do we (especially women) continue to compare ourselves to each other? I’m not smart enough to answer that question…there is a ton of research out there to be read I’m sure but let’s move along shall we…

My good friend Polly sent me a hilarious little blog entry over the holidays about the disconnect between the Online Life and Real Life – you can read it here but be sure to come back to me (lol).  I think deep down we all KNOW that the online social media life is…hmmmm….let’s not say fake but rather enhanced.  It’s so much easier and pleasant to show off our good days, our successes, our wins than to share the darker moments.  Who doesn’t love showing off the mountain you just climbed (guilty) or the man that I love and mostly get along with (guilty) or the damn fine looking jeep that I have the pleasure of owning (guilty) – you get the idea.

And let’s face it…there are seasons of life and some lives are better than others. I have a great marriage but a wayward teen…you might have great kids but that spouse of yours drives you crazy. Rather than focus on what we think our life SHOULD look like, let’s LIVE the life we’ve been given. Let’s rejoice and run the race with joy.

Which leads me to the main point of this entry…finally I know…

The article above has stuck with me…I want to live authentically. This isn’t something new…it’s something I’ve always strived to do because integrity is an important value to me. So does my online and real life match up?

You are who you are when no one is looking.

As a result, I’ve decided that one of my resolutions or better yet recommitments this year is to better match up my real life and social media life – to live out loud – authentically.

What does that mean? What does it look like? For me, it’s in the form of photography and writing.  You’ve heard a picture is worth 1,000 words…pictures tell a story – your story.

Which is why I want to invite you on this journey with me.  Join my new Facebook group – Live Out Loud – Your Life in Pictures  – it’s a place to tell your story with pictures…everyday if you’d like.  It’s a place to make new friends, learn new photography skills, and mostly a place to practice living authentically.  Like the author in the article above – I want to see your real life – the good, the bad and the ugly.  Finally, the group is closed – you’ll journey only with others looking to live authentically.

KISS CameraOh, and very important, KISS – keep it simple sister!  Do not feel obliged to have a fancy camera…or to be an amazing photographer. Or post everyday.  Let go of all your expectations and fears…just take pictures…share your story…keep it simple!

Hope to see you there…if not, no worries…I’ll see ya either in real life and on social media…my hope is that both will align and I’m who I am regardless of who is looking.

xoxox – DM

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Donna Matthews is a blog writer at the DJRanch where she strives to remain authentic while not taking herself too seriously. She is also the creator of Slay The Chaos (, where she writes about productivity and organization. She is a member of The Writers Guild and Write Space in Houston and is currently writing her first book.