In a world where it feels like every thought or action gets posted to Instagram stories, where Christmas cards have gone virtual, where entire museums exist for Facebook selfies, a new trend seems to be rising from this pandemic.
We’ve all been taking pictures but not sharing them.
Amazing vacation? Beach trip? Socially-distanced patio dinner? Matched your mask to your scrunchie? Meeting a friend?
Let’s take a selfie but… not share it.
Maybe it’s everyone being home all of the time, spending way too much time on social media, but it seems like one can’t share a picture, article, or post without getting torn apart in the comments. The stakes feel so high about everything, and nothing quite brings out the judgment like a global pandemic during an election year, where something as simple as a piece of cloth on your face becomes politicized.
Post a picture of a night out with a friend, where you had masks on everywhere but your table, as per local regulations? “Where are your masks?” inquire multiple commenters.
Post a photo of your child wearing a mask? Opposite judgment. “They can’t breathe!”
Not to mention the entire school debate, where there are absolutely no winners.
So, do we post our photos and merely steel ourselves for the judgmental comments? Do we write a lengthy Instagram disclaimer explaining that we all stood far apart with our masks on, waited over an hour for an outdoor table when there was indoor dining available, and only stood together maskless for one picture? “Don’t breathe,” someone joked during the picture, only partially kidding.
If your son sees another child for the first time in over two months and they hug like they’re never letting go, and you cry (but it’s only May 2020), you definitely don’t post that picture. Never mind it wasn’t even for a playdate, but your baby was about to have surgery — and God forbid you need help from someone during 2020.
Do you work from home with a baby and a toddler and need childcare? Don’t you dare share a photo of your childcare swap with your other work-from-home friend. Sorry, figure it out, it’s 2020, you should be able to do both at the same time.
If you socially isolate for two weeks and mask up your whole family, toddlers included, to see an immune-compromised relative, do you post that picture? Or will that bring in angry comments, too?
Now more than ever, we’re all just trying our best to make it through a year where our entire support networks have been cut off, and we’ve been handed even more responsibilities. Should we also have to provide a dissertation on our precautions if we post a picture of the beach?
Will anything ever be good enough? Probably not.
So, we’ll keep snapping but not sharing, posting but carefully cropping out the two other kids in the Quaranteam bubble, too tired to take on the burden of even more emotional strain.
And maybe, if someone posts something that does cause a raised eyebrow, we can all just scroll on past and let it be.