Love/Life: Not For the Likes One writer takes on meme culture with her very real life.

By Stephanie Horvath Smith



Why is it that I so often see friends posting inspirational quotes about embracing change and living life to the fullest, but then continuing to stay in whatever situation is their “nest”?

Let me create a mental meme for you: Think of a nest. We all have our own space where we have created our comfort or it’s been created for us (sort of like our Facebook feeds or Instagrams). We surround ourselves with people like us and we have a routine. We feather our space with bits and pieces of other’s people lives. We’d like to travel where our friends go so we swipe the mental image of their beach vacation.

I was guilty of watching other people’s Facebook feeds and judging them or envying them. I would watch people going through a divorce and pity them, get jealous when they started dating because I missed the newness and then be totally envious of their wedding pictures. I was content to silently judge and enjoy from the comfort of the computer.

Then I become the victim in my own fantasy.

In spring 2014, I found myself separated at the age of 36 with two kids. My nest, my home, my marriage fell apart. It pushed me out of the comfort of the life I had known for nearly 15 years into uncharted territory. I was the first of my close friends to divorce and I didn’t know whether I was going to fly or fall.

I spent time with friends, read books, and yes, probably drank too much on several weekends when I didn’t have the kids. But I also re-learned who I was. I realized I missed live music and horseback riding and having fun. I even went on dates!  I joined Match.com and went out with men who didn’t fit the “list,” but were funny and charming. I found some friends to be judgmental, while others were supportive. I learned that sometimes when your own life falls apart, other people can’t handle it.

I ended up meeting my soulmate not long after. His bright blue eyes, contagious smile and rapier wit led to pretty much love at first sight. We married in October 2016. Suddenly I stopped posting the inspirational quotes and funny images. I didn’t have time for memes.

I realized that there were people now watching ME via the lens of Facebook and they had no idea what had really been going on in life for years. I realized that time is fleeting and life is full of change and I have to care for this new nest of mine.

And even I wrote f if it is a meme to the outside world,  it’s one for myself.

Stephanie Horvath Smith is a 40 year-old wife, mother and stepmother.  She has spent nearly two decades in the education field and is now a district manager with Arbonne International.

 

Do you have a submission about love, life and everything in between? Submit your post for Love/Life to Jessica Gregg, STYLE’s managing editor, at jgregg@midatlanticmedia.com.

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