As well as writing here on the blog, and at a local Queenstown magazine, The Flyer, I also share my family’s day to day life: the good, the bad and most certainly the ugly, over on Instagram. Openly. To anyone that chooses to watch.
This can be a bit of a minefield, you ask yourself whether or not you are doing the right thing. Are you saying too much? Sharing stories that perhaps aren’t yours to share? I tell my story, but I also tell the story of my children, and I had to really consider that before I began. There are times, too, when I wonder if my overwhelmingly normal life is really enthralling enough to share.
And there are The Opinions to deal with too. You open your life and your decisions up to be criticised by strangers and by those you know personally. It can be rough.
But when this happens I step back for a minute and look at why I started this public, modern day “friendship book”/photo album/diary.
When my daughter (my second child)was ten days old she was put into a harness 24 hours a day for 4 months to correct her Hip Dysplasia. As you can imagine (and imagining is just the tip of the iceberg) this had its challenges. I found support online from those going through similar experiences. As babies around me reached their physical milestones before my daughter, it was the online groups which gave me hope that she would soon join them. When my son was a year old and still waking every hour (and I was rapidly losing my mind) I found support on social media. Slowly, I started building relationships in this funny tech-world. I discovered an amazing community located at the touch of a button. Encouraged by these connections, I started sharing more. Yes, I shared challenges, but I also told stories of first steps, first smiles and first birthday parties. I showed my (albeit sometimes amateur) crafting, and what we were cooking, and eating. My community seemed to like it.
Just last month we had some pretty hard to swallow news. I debated sharing it online, but I took the plunge and recorded a teary story to my Instagram whanau. I was blown away, and I still get tears in my eyes thinking about it now. I received over 100 messages of kindness and help. These people reached out and shared their stories, or just offered me comfort. When I looked back over all the messages a few days later, I realised how much I had learnt from these short interactions. I didn’t feel bewildered or scared or overwhelmed, because as much as I had provided information to others for the past year and half, it was now coming back to me.
I am sure that everyone has a negative story to tell about the scary old internet, but I would like to think the good outweighs the bad. In my case it most certainly does.
So until that changes, I’ll be over at @the_macpherson_diaries making prawn dumplings, creating mud kitchens & chewing the fat. My husband recently said, “It’s a bit like watching TV with a friend isnt it?” and that feels pretty good to me.