We've all seen them. You know, the 140 character miniature tirades about how at least they "keep it real" and therefore shouldn't be labeled as inappropriate or unkind for having just been inappropriate and unkind. Or the bio that warns readers that what they'll see might be offensive or cruel or pessimistic. But hey, at least they "keep it real", right?
When did "real" start meaning "bad"? Or angry? Or disrespectful? Or rude? "Real" never seems to mean hopeful or gracious. It doesn't conjure up images of a person enjoying their life, celebrating their gifts, and sharing their talents. No. What "I keep it real" means, generally, is this: "I live in the richest nation on earth and was born with no physical or mental handicaps. I am wealthy and educated enough to have access to and use social media. There is no imminent threat to my life or well-being. So therefore, I am miserable and generally disappointed with my lot and you, dear sir or madam, are not only going to hear about it, you're going to like it."
It's true that I've been accused of being too enthusiastic. Too happy. Too friendly. Yes, she told me I was too friendly and I giggled, because surely she was joking, but then the look on her face told me she was not. Because apparently if I am nice, then people might like me too much and there are other people that they are supposed to be liking more. And so it will be my fault if the people that they are supposed to be liking more are sad because instead of paying more attention to them they are being friends with me because I am too friendly. So I should be less friendly so that more of the friendliness can be spread around to those who are less friendly. Or something like that. I still don't get it. Perhaps I'm just too enthusiastic and the whole explanation fell out of my brain, what with my constant bouncing around in sheer joy and all.
But let me tell you, faithful readers, that I am just as "real" as any pessimistic fool you stumble across on the internet. I was born in the wealthiest, most beautiful country on earth to smart, beautiful parents in a time and in a place where women can vote and slavery has been abolished. I am healthy and strong and capable. I've lived a million adventures and been to more places than most people could dream of. I chase my able-bodied children through a home that is warm and lie down to sleep next to a kind man who tolerates my idiosyncrasies and makes a mean sourdough. He knows what kind of wine I like and covers my pizza in veggies.
Oh sure, I have my days. My moments of frustration and sadness. But why, when there is so much good and wonder all around me, should those be the times I cultivate? Pouring my heart out here is hard work and I refuse to work hard at glorifying disappointments. If it serves a greater good, puts something into perspective, or puts a smile on your face, then I'm willing to paint a "real" picture that is something other than jubilant, but I refuse to participate in a culture that labels only that which is harsh and depressing as "real".
My good fortune is real. My luck, my incredible life, is real. So I'm gonna "keep it real" when I tell you that I am a lucky, happy woman. I am a daughter to a most generous heavenly Father and a sister in Christ to the kindest, most caring people that a girl could ever hope to meet. And I once ran eight whole miles without stopping.
An amazing world of happiness and optimism is right here friends, and I'll tell you what- it is absolutely real. All you have to do is take it.