As an avid hip-hop fan and adult born in the '80s, raised in the '90s, songs like "You Ain't Got to Lie to Kick it" and "Ain't no Future in your Fronting" were staples of my childhood.
As I got older the notion of "keeping it real" began to take hold.
That seemed all to have changed when social media became popular.
It used to be that you saw your friends regularly enough or at least spoke with them on the phone enough that you could tell whether or not things were going well.
That's not the case anymore at least not on my Facebook feed. My Facebook feed is full of people who have the most awesome jobs they have ever worked, who eat at the most amazing brunch spots ever to wield spatulas and pour pancake batter and who experience exhilaration and inspiration everyday, either through some random occurrence of incredibleness that touches them as they walk up the street or through their ability to be so astute at what they do that their mere presence inspires others.
It's all faux-inspirational quotes and self-aggrandizement.
No one is struggling. No one is failing to find his or her way. No one is questioning his life decisions, the efficacy of his degree, the impact of the non-profit she works for or the absurdity of the free lunches and gym memberships he receives from that start-up with the app that seems cool but actually serves no purpose.
The kids really are alright -- at least that's what they want you to believe.
If I scroll down my Facebook feed and my Instagram feed, I could be convinced that I am the only one struggling with adulthood. On some days, if I don't catch myself, I can truly fall into the false belief that I am alone in my constant state of bewilderment or dissatisfaction. That despite getting the degrees my parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles wanted me to get, I am the only one still trying to find my place in the post college world full of over-qualification, underpay, mission misalignment, bad benefits packages and exorbitant housing costs.
Or worse, I can be convinced that if I were just a better version of me, that I too would have accidentally stumbled into the perfect job with the perfect pay and the flexibility that allows me to provide for my son and for my wife to be a stay-at-home mom, for us to travel to exotic locations and pay the mortgage, all while being in a euphoric trance of happiness. But that's simply not true.
We know that millennials are struggling to find work, period, let alone meaningful work that pays well enough to live in the cities where work is available.
We also know that Facebook and other social media sites are full of people fronting and that as a result, the people spending the most time on Facebook are more depressed due to the constant comparison of their real lives to other people's highlight reels.
When I really think about it, I know I'm not the only one who struggles. I just wish other people would acknowledge that they do too. What good is having a community if it's all built on lies?
I guess no one wants to look weak or vulnerable. Makes sense -- we also grew up hearing "fake it till you make it." But what happens if you never do? Are you prepared to fake it forever?