Ashley’s kick starting October’s design theme month with a look into in her favorite costume.
Last week I found myself sobbing in stairwell at work. And my coworker, who happened to be coming out of the bathroom, helped put me back together so I could continue the day. As I cried, she kindly said something about being surprised to find me in such a state because I tend to publicly highlight all the good, positive stuff. I laughed as I tried to manage the snot situation after a pretty ugly cry. “No.” I answered, “That’s just Facebook Ashley.”
Facebook Ashley stars in her own sitcom. It’s a place of laugh tracks and corny music. Even when things seem dark and gray, most of the time there’s a silver lined bow and things wrap up in 22 minute segments. Positivity is pretty makeup she uses. I like Facebook Ashley. She’s the better parts of myself thoughtfully edited and filtered. A better representation of the person I want to be.
Don’t get me wrong. She’s not a total sham. I do completely adore my husband. My daughter makes my heart feel like a Lisa Frank binder. And I actually like my job! Better yet, I love my coworkers. I also have a tendency to put myself in situations that lend themselves to great stories. Like taking the 38 bus. That place is full of tales that I have been put on this great earth to share. Plus, I’m still involved in the theater scene. Sure, it’s not what it used to be but at least I’ve been invited to the party and that’s pretty cool.
But there’s so much I don’t say. Partially because I don’t want to admit when I’m having a hard time and I have difficulty asking for help. And, to be terribly truthful, I do need help sometimes. Ah, even more honestly, I need it often but I hardly ever say anything. Instead, I make sure my Facebook costume is falling in all the right places to flatter my figure and try to get through each day without getting it too wrinkled. Who needs a colorful scarf when a well-placed emoticon does the trick, right?
However, at some point, I have to launder my costume. The real you has to take the clothes off and wash them. And last week I pushed my own limits in thinking I could do it all. An annual work conference with twelve hour days? No problem. At the same time as my first show in two years? Sure, I guess that will be fine. While your husband goes out of town and your childcare plans for your daughter fall through? Wait, what’s that now? (Cue breakdown in the stairwell!)
As I mentioned earlier this year, I still want it all! It’s been a couple months since I wrote that piece and there have been some very challenging struggles to attempt the routine along the way. And yet, I still find it so interesting that whenever I run into friendly acquaintances I haven’t seen in a few months or talk to long distance relatives, they always, always bring up what I’ve posted on Facebook followed by how happy I am. It’s never a question. It’s always a statement. An exclamation. And then that’s always the end of the conversation.
Sometimes the key to a great costume is that you forget it’s a costume. (Not always of course, sometimes after a rough show your friend made you see, you gotta be able to compliment something and costumes can be your talking point!) The actor wearing a good costume looks so natural in it that it’s simply just a part of them. Costumes help the audience put together an understanding of the character and how they connect to the rest of the cast. It’s absolutely a key element to the success of a production.
Facebook Ashley is a costume devised of my best wardrobe pieces. She doesn’t like to wear some of those poor fitting pants from the past (why were flares such a hot jean style anyway?) or less attractive turtleneck sweaters, unfit to even be donated. But they’re still there, hiding in the back of a messy closet.
We’ve all got a closet. We all get to pick and chose what we wear and what people see us in. We all get to be the costumer of our own play. But the play is more than what the characters are wearing. More than the surrounding set or time period. So while yes, to everyone I talk to about my many Facebook posts, I am happy. But I’m also so many other feelings, too. And I’d love to talk about them, as well! Until then, I guess I’ll continue to like all your status updates and doing what I do. Sharing feelings one post at a time. Wink face emoticon.