Memory Making or Just Memory Faking?

 

I’m going to be honest with you. After all, it’s what I do best (for those who are remotely interested!) Social media this month –more than ever-  is making me want to puke. We are talking the rare and proper, heaving kind of chunder (y’know, the cheap white wine kind?)

And I think the place that is riling me the most right now is Instagram. Actually, I’ve stopped looking at altogether to be honest …

Because let me tell you, If I see one more carefully composed flat lay of festive accessories paired with a cheeky seasonal Starbucks (being held by manicured nails and a bangled wrist … yes, yes the stacking rings will be there too. Of course they will), or yet another filtered-to-within-an-inch-of-its-balls shot of blissfully happy children dressed in co-ordinated attire, (matching the co-ordinated home accessories) frolicking with intense glee in front of their perfectly twinkly Norwegian spruce, all the while having their Christmas jumper clad parents gazing on whilst happening on a chance glass of the finest bubbly (pretending not to have created the insanely contrived, unbelievably samey-to-the-point-of-being-stale Instagram shot) then, I think I might just launch a yuletide log at someone.

Annd breath … that was a long sentence!

Actually, truth be told, this cult fashion of documenting fake bliss on social channels bothered me long before December of 2015, it’s just that the festive season seems to have brought the trend out with a real vengeance this year, which makes me think that it’s only going to get worse each Christmas from now on. I think that we, as a race of smartphone slaves, may just be on a one-way journey to full-on Twatville. Stopping off only at Bullshit Town and Denial City for breaks along the way.

Please don’t get me wrong, it’s not that I don’t like a happy scene, or happy children, or beautiful homes, or any of that. Of course I enjoy a happy scene. And I adore good photography too … it’s just I can see right through these very staged shots.

Can we all just stop pretending that we live in an actual glossy magazine? Please?

I think I know why we do it – It’s because we have become a generation of parental ‘Memory Makers’. And we just can’t stop making the darn things and documenting them for all to see. Just like the next parent does. And if we don’t create and document these memories on the internet (because seemingly our personal cerebral cortexes or mantle pieces aren’t enough anymore) then we must just appear to be doing something very wrong to the outside world. So panic sets in, and we all begin to follow the trend. It’s a stupid trend.

I know you’ve whited out your eyeballs to an un-natural level.

I now your family’s teeth aren’t really that white.

(And I also know – along with everyone else – that the chances are, 2 seconds after that moment of perfection captured, your children probably screamed, erupted in to world war 3, and you and your partner-in-bliss probably swiped at each other because everyone is sick, sick, SICK of posing for yet another scene of wonderment. Come on – admit it, creating these ‘memories’ is often just too bloody tense for all concerned and actually, from personal experience of jumping briefly upon the perfection seeking bandwagon, It’s too much like hard word and it can totally swipe the natural joy right out of the moment, right?)

For example, as I type this, I can hear the moans of (in particular) bloggers husbands from up and down the land …

‘NO, darling. You can’t take a photo of my fucking food. I want to just eat it, whilst it’s still hot. Over here, in the messy corner, straight from an ugly plate… the way we used to enjoy our meals 10 years ago. AND NOOOO I don’t want to wear that cashmillion Edinburgh check loungewear, I want to wear my old faithful trackies, those ones we got from the factory outlet shop 15 years ago, with the curry stains and the knee holes in …’

(Maybe that’s just my husband?)

(probably)

And what is it with Christmas this year? Its always been commercial, but this year its gone bonkers, people! Just when I thought elf on a shelf was one new tradition too far, now we all need to buy personalised Christmas eve wooden boxes for our children – a brand new present opening ritual to add to the other present opening ritual?? seriously? don’t do it. The brandy and mince pie/carrot left out on the side thing wasn’t broken, it didn’t need fixing!!

Ok. I digress…

Christmas perfection aside, If we look at society’s history as a whole, then it’s really no wonder this questionable mentality has gradually set in.

Generally, if we are the creators of a youngish family today, then the chances are our parents were part of the baby boomer generation. And those guys were crazy! A post-war generation of indulgent dreamers who made stuff happen; being raised themselves often within war affected, sometimes entirely broken family unit, our parents lived the life they wanted god-damn it, adhering entirely to their own rules. They were, by definition a generation of selfish celebrators of life who knew how to live in the now, and they really did!

Fast forward those boomers into 2004, and the UK baby boomers held 80% of the UK’s wealth and bought 80% of all top of the range cars, 80% of cruises and 50% of skincare products – So this means that today, in 2015, we are a generation living up to some seriously hefty, previously held consumerist standards, coupled with an unhealthily yet healthy lust for introspective reflection on why we are the way we are, and a savage parental blame culture feeding entirely off of nostalgia. Even, nostalgia itself has now become a fashion in its own right.

We are determined not to make the mistakes which have gone before us; we know better; we will do a better job; our families/children will lead perfect existences, and we will document every wonderful moment of success for all to see. Then everyone can stand back and marvel at our brilliance at nailing this life.

Add to all of this the fact that smartphone use itself has reached more people in a 5 year span than the humble television managed to reach within a 64 year period, and there we have it: a fairly – and in my mind- toxic culture of over-sharing an ever-so-slightly sinister kind of perfection …

Only now, (this year more than ever) oversharing seems to be prevailing as the younger, more innocent sister of the fresh new trend on the block : blatant overlying. Overlying our faces off. Every day, on social media.

So can we just stop that, please?

Go on, leave your eyeballs slightly bloodshot in your Christmas Instagram shots. I dare you! 🙂

 

 

Ok, rant over. I feel better for that! …. Please tell me I’m not the only one to think all this? Perhaps I’m being too harsh, I probably am …  as always I’d love to hear from you. All thoughts are always welcome.

Thank you for reading,

Anna x

 

3 comments on Memory Making or Just Memory Faking?

  • Ems

    Oh Anna, this post is BRILLIANT! Nail on head. I’ve been using Instagram for about a year now & I love it but I totally agree with you, I’m already getting annoyed with a lot of the pics I see (mainly those horrid Elves ones) and I am DREADING these next few weeks because exactly like you say, I know its going to be vomit inducing, espec Xmas Day itself. I’m all for bloodshot eyes, real parenting shots, be truthful! xx
    Ems recently posted…The Weekend CookMy Profile

  • rachel

    I have never enjoyed instagram, because I just don’t get it. My favourite family photos are the ones of people I know, preferably doing natural yet kind of goofy things. If that sounds like I’m a grinch or part of a clique I apologise; but I won’t/can’t change. Vive la réalité! So, needless to say, I enjoyed this post immensely. Thank you.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

CommentLuv badge