WildOne Forever, Picture is worth a thousand words, self-help, depression, perfection, Danielle Milton

A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words

On any given day, I can be found scrolling through hundreds of other people’s pictures. Sometimes for inspiration. Sometimes just out of curiosity. No matter where I look, whether it is Facebook, Instagram, or random blogs, I always feel drawn to the same types of pics. Pictures that showed mile-wide smiles, big family hugs, and 
laughing, playing people living their best lives in immaculately clean homes…

It plagued me. 

When my kids were smaller, toys, books, and art supplies littered our apartment. Ninety percent of the time, one kid or another ran around half naked, and, of course, they always seemed to be fighting.  

I’d sink deeper into depression often by wishing my life looked like those pictures of properly dressed, smiling children, with backgrounds of spotless floors and countertops. I wanted to be that happy and organized too. 

I especially exhausted myself trying to compete among the very cliquish homeschooling community – that is until something happened that changed my perspective forever.

One day, my mother cleaned out her massive collection of photographs, where she kept hundreds of duplicate pictures of myself alongside pictures of the family from my childhood, and dispersed them between my brother and I.

Shuffling through the huge stack I brought home, I recognized my bright blue eyes, pigtails and huge smile. My perfectly groomed, fully dressed brother and I were pictured hugging, kissing, laughing, and playing in a clean house or out on a flawlessly manicured lawn. The perfect blog-worthy family! 

I grew physically ill.

This was NOT my childhood. 

Sure those pictures contained images of myself or other family members, but they didn’t contain the truth. They failed to picture the emotional, physical, and sexual abuse ritualistically experienced in our daily lives.

They couldn’t show the consequences of finding one thing out of place in our clean house or even in our yard.

While this may not be true for all the beautiful pictures of all the happy people, it certainly changed my outlook.

No matter how oddly it’s helped my present day life on occasion, I am by no means grateful for my past. From this I have learned live in my own truths now despite once struggling to achieve other people’s unknowns. 

If you ever do find yourself caught up in comparing yourself to other people’s lives based off of their pictures know this… perfection is fantasy.

While a picture is worth a thousand words, sometimes those words are lies.

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